Long Beach: Rocketsports qualifying notes

Tommy Kendall returns to trans-am with the pole LONG BEACH, Calif. (Saturday April 17, 2004) -- California native, Tommy Kendall returned to Trans-Am racing from a six and half year absence by winning the pole position for Sunday's Motorock ...

Tommy Kendall returns to trans-am with the pole

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Saturday April 17, 2004) -- California native, Tommy Kendall returned to Trans-Am racing from a six and half year absence by winning the pole position for Sunday's Motorock Trans-Am Series race at the Toyota Beach Grand Prix of Long Beach. This gives Kendall his 40th career pole position and Jaguar's 23rd. Driving the No.11 Rocketsports Jaguar R Performance XKR in the rain, he lapped the 1.968-mile Long Beach street course in 1:44.657 (67.695 mph). Kendall led teammates Paul Gentilozzi and Tomi Drissi, who both qualified in the top six.

Kendall drove hard to the surprise of the checkered flag. "My radio wasn't working, so I had no idea where I was at and just kept running and running until I saw the checkered flag. Then I saw all the fans waving and cheering and it was amazing. I got a little choked-up because it took me back...it's been six and a half years since I've had a pole or even been in a car. I need to thank the Rocketsports team and Jaguar for stepping up to bat and giving me this hot car.

"The car will be very good in race conditions. The No. 11 Jaguar can run at a harder pace and closer to its optimum, so we'll be quick, but there's some good competition out there. Boris is quick, and Paul is still pretty intense and can get the job done. Paul and Tomy are teammates, but tomorrow I've got to treat them just like anybody else and run hard. It'll be a real crap-shoot tomorrow and a great race."

Gentilozzi turned the fourth fastest lap at 1:47.488 (65.912 mph) in the rainy qualifying session. "The Rocketsports team is making progress, but of course we'd rather be up front and I'll work hard to make it there tomorrow," said Gentilozzi. "It's good to see the Rocketsports 4-Valve Jaguar on the pole again (since Puerto Rico 2003) and we'll challenge it on Sunday."

Drissi, who will start tomorrow's race from sixth position on the grid, qualified with a lap time of 1:51.404 (63.596 mph). "We had a great car. We had a front row car. We could have used the wet windshield and wipers on the car, since we were qualifying in the rain. This would have improved the visibility and drive, but we still have a strong car and we're ready for the race," said Drissi. "It'll be a long one and we're starting in sixth, but all those guys who are happy to be in the top five - I'm taking them down right away."

The Motorock Trans-Am Racing Series kicks off the 2004 season with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Sunday April 18th at 3:45 pm PST.

-rocketsports-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Tommy Kendall