Long Beach: Saturday qualifying notes

BORIS SAID WINS FIRST LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX POLE LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 9, 2005) -- Boris Said won the pole Saturday for Sunday's Cytomax Challenge Trans-Am race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Said, in the No. 33...

BORIS SAID WINS FIRST LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX POLE

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 9, 2005) -- Boris Said won the pole Saturday for Sunday's Cytomax Challenge Trans-Am race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Said, in the No. 33 Applied Computer Systems Ford Mustang, recorded a 1:22.406-minute lap (85.974 mph) to earn the pole. Said earned three bonus championship points and unofficially takes the lead in the Trans-Am Championship.

Tomy Drissi qualified second in the No. 5 Sahara The Movie Jaguar XKR and earned one bonus point, ahead of teammate Paul Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR). Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) and Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) completed the top five.

Said will start fifth tomorrow due to the Fast Five Qualifying® format, which inverts the top-five qualifiers.

"We only ran four laps," said Said. "The grip just wasn't there today. The inversion this year adds a new twist. We talked about sandbagging a little bit, but that's just not the way I race. I go as fast as I can go no matter what. Every Trans-Am race at Long Beach has been the most exciting race of the weekend. This should be another exciting race.

"It feels good to be back in Trans-Am," added Said. "These cars are a lot of fun to drive. The next five weeks are a dream for me. I'm going to try to qualify for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race next weekend at Texas. Then I go to the Nurburgring the following week to run a four-hour race with BMW. Then I go back to Nextel Cup at Talladega. Finally, the following week I run the 24 Hours of Nurburgring."

Gentilozzi said he was trying to use the Fast Five inversion to his advantage.

"We hung back a little bit, trying for fifth," said the five-time Long Beach Trans-Am winner. "We thought we had the right time, but then Boris went out and set a really fast time for the amount of grip out there. We're happy with our starting position, behind Randy (Ruhlman) and Greg (Pickett). The race should go our way."

Gentilozzi said Long Beach has a special place in his heart. He won his first Trans-Am race here in 1988, and remains the only multiple-time Long Beach winner.

"It's been a long time since 1988," said Gentilozzi referring to the victory. "I have a very special relationship with this track. Long Beach is very special to me. I want to make sure to win this year."

The pole also moves Ford's Mustang out of tie with Jaguar's XKR for the most poles here, five. The top-qualifying GT America class driver was John Young (No. 44 PecTec Ford Taurus) with a lap time of 1:29.039 (79.570 mph).

Comprehensive results can be found at www.trans-amseries.com.

Final practice is scheduled for today 4 p.m. The Cytomax Challenge, Round 1 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, is scheduled for Sunday, April 10 at 3:45 p.m., immediately following the Champ Car World Series event. Sunday's race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, April 17 on SPEED Channel at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Tomy Drissi , Paul Gentilozzi , Randy Ruhlman , John Young , Greg Pickett