Gentilozzi on top step at Trois-Rivieres

Paul Gentilozzi was the racer on top of the podium, flanked by his two teammates, as Rocketsports Racing swept the podium on the 1.506-mile street circuit in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. Paul Gentilozzi. Photo by Eric Gilbert. "I...

Paul Gentilozzi was the racer on top of the podium, flanked by his two teammates, as Rocketsports Racing swept the podium on the 1.506-mile street circuit in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada.

Paul Gentilozzi.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"I had great luck with circumstances today," said the team owner Gentilozzi, who led all but one lap in today's race. "I had planned to go as hard as I could and then stop for tires. At halfway, I knew I had a lot of car left and just ran my pace."

The three-time Trans-Am Series champion said, "It was a great race." It was the first time the Rocketsports team has finished one-two-three since 1991.

Tomy Drissi was second while teammate Tommy Kendall finished third. Kendall started on the pole by virtue of being the fastest in the four practice session on Friday and Saturday. When qualifying was canceled due to heavy storms, the fastest practice time earned Kendall the spot.

Kendall led Gentilozzi until the second lap when he locked up his brakes going into turn six; it was discovered later that Kendall had a brake problem and overshot the turn for that reason. The former champion was able to move the development Jaguar AJ-V8 back through the filed for the podium finish.

"It's great to get another podium, but when I think what could have been, it's a little disappointing," Kendall commented. "I kind of let the guys down today."

Kendall explained what happened with the brakes, "Due to the rain yesterday, we weren't able to get the brakes bedded in. They grabbed going into that corner, and the tire doesn't like to get rolling again. So, I made the split-second decision to live another day. The car was just tremendous and it was a lot fun coming through the field."

Drissi held Kendall behind him in the closing laps, "Paul (Gentilozzi) keeps telling me that racing is a mental thing. When TK (Kendall) started coming up, I started worrying. Then, I thought about it," Drissi reflected on how he held Kendall back. "I continued to run my own race. My hat is off to Paul."

Randy Ruhlman was again the top non-Jaguar. The Derhaag Motorsports Corvette racer gave it all he could but he nor his one-time special teammate Ron Fellows were a match for the Rocketsports boys. Ruhlman was fourth with Fellows in sixth. Bob Ruman finished fifth.

The next event is at Road America, Saturday, August 7. If Gentilozzi wins, he would tie Mark Donohue's Trans-Am win record at 29 career wins. Of course, the late Donohue only ran 55 events; whereas Gentilozzi has nearly 200 starts. It is more thana likely before the 2004 season ends, that Gentilozzi will not only tie it but have the opportunity to break the record.

"I'm not anxious at all to (break Donohue's record)," said Gentilozzi. "Mark Donohue was really special to Trans-Am and the world of Motorsports. I don't know what I'll do. If I get lucky enough to be in position, I don't know if I want to win 30. I know this sounds silly, but I think it would be disrespectful."

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