TRANS-AM RACERS AND ALUMNI RECEIVE AARWBA ALL-AMERICA TEAM HONORS
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 11, 2005) -- 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Champion Klaus Graf and 1978 Trans-Am titleholder Greg Pickett were honored in voting for this year's American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association All-America Team. Both Pickett, who finished third in this year's championship, and Graf received honorable mentions in the Road Racing category.
Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR) entered this season in competitive fashion, though mechanical issues early in the tour nearly doomed the German rookie's championship hopes. That all changed as the season hit the homestretch. After winning Round 2 in Portland, Graf went on to win the last three races of the season, at Denver, Road America and Montreal. In the end, Graf became the first German national to win the Drivers' Championship and the first rookie to do so since Dorsey Schroeder in 1989. He also won the Rookie of the Year title, also a first for a German driver. Graf backed those honors up by contributing the most points toward Jaguar winning the Manufacturers' Championship, marking the British carmaker's third consecutive and fifth overall title.
A veteran of 175 Trans-Am starts, Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax/Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR) was the model of consistency this year, only finishing off the podium once in eight starts (fourth at Portland), and completing every lap of the races he entered (he missed Cleveland due to a previous engagement). But the highlight of Pickett's season was his historic victory at Edmonton. Pickett's 16th career victory made him the first Trans-Am driver to win a race in each of four decades of competition.
Also honored in the Road Racing category was three-time Trans-Am champion Scott Pruett who received First Team honors for his runner-up effort in the 2005 Grand-Am title chase, as well as Trans-Am alumnus and current ALMS GT1 driver Ron Fellows. Pruett last competed in Trans-Am in 2003, and, on the strength of eight wins, he nabbed his third Trans-Am title. Though Fellows never won a Trans-Am championship, his 19 victories during his 11 seasons of Trans-Am racing place him seventh on the all-time Trans-Am win list.
Johnny O'Connell, who finished fifth in his lone Trans-Am start, at Long Beach in 1996, joined Fellows on the second team in the Road Racing category. First-team nods also went to Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Pruett's Grand-Am teammate Luis Diaz. Road Racing honorable mentions also went to ALMS drivers Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro.
The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrated its 40th consecutive year of competition in 2005.