Tommy Kendall Nets Pole in First Laguna Trans-Am Start; Tightens Gentilozzi's Points lead to 10

MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 10, 2004) -- Tommy Kendall won the pole for Saturday's Trans-Am 100, the 2004 season finale for the Motorock Trans-Am Series, Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR), turned in a 1:26.800-minute lap (92.820 miles per hour) to win his 45th career pole in his first Trans-Am start here.

Boris Said was second quickest in the No. 33 Applied Computer Solutions/ GE Access Ford Mustang, ahead of Ron Fellows in the No. 40 Derhaag Motorsports/Balijet Chevrolet Corvette. Paul Gentilozzi will start fourth in the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR, ahead of the No. 49 Preformed Line Producs Chevrolet Corvette of Randy Ruhlman.

Kendall earned one bonus point for pole and now sits just 10 points behind championship leader Paul Gentilozzi going into tomorrow's race.

"We need every point available and some help," said Kendall, who earned Jaguar's production-based, overhead-cam, fuel-injected AJ-V8 engine its sixth pole this season. "I need every point available and have Paul finish off of the podium. I'm glad to have these two guys, who aren't my teammates, between myself and Paul.

"I'm racing for the championship, but I can't afford to be careful," added Kendall. "All three of us here want to win the race. For me, the simpler the scenario, the better. I simply need to win this race."

Said starts on the outside pole after making a surprise entry in this weekend's race.

"I wasn't even supposed to be here, but because of the hurricane, it postponed our Grand-Am race in Florida," said Said. "At the last minute the ACS guys decided to let me come up and run their car. The ACS Mustang is always fast. As soon as they drop the green flag tomorrow, I'm going to drive as fast as I can every lap and try to keep it on the road."

Fellows, too, is making a guest appearance this weekend, driving for Derhaag Motorsports. Interestingly, Derhaag's team has won the last two races here--in 2001 with Justin Bell and in 2000 with Kenny Wilden.

"It's never a bad trip, going to Monterey," said Fellows. "This is just like old times. We're struggling just a little bit trying to find grip. This place is notorious for not having a lot of grip, but we have to be better for tomorrow. It's a unique surface and it's always a struggle to find grip."

The 45-lap Trans-Am race is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday. The Trans-Am Series is part of a full weekend of racing, which also includes the featured Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, as well as the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, and Formula BMW USA.

The race will air on same-day, two-hour tape delay on HDNet at 6 p.m. (PDT) and 9 p.m. (EDT). The race will also air on Spike TV's popular "Dangerous Curves" timeslot, Sunday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. (EDT, PDT).

The Motorock 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 celebrates its 39th year of competition in 2004.

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