Leitzinger secures second pole of season for Trans-Am Buckeye 100 at Mid-Ohio. LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 28, 2002) -- Butch Leitzinger of Tom Gloy Racing became the first two-time pole winner of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup...
Leitzinger secures second pole of season for Trans-Am Buckeye 100 at Mid-Ohio.
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 28, 2002) -- Butch Leitzinger of Tom Gloy Racing became the first two-time pole winner of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup season Friday when he took the top starting spot for Saturday's Trans-Am Buckeye 100 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama Chevrolet Corvette) put together a lap of 96.324 miles per hour (1 minute, 24.390 seconds) late in his 20-minute qualifying session to earn the right to lead 22 starters to the green flag at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for the fourth of 12 rounds in the 2002 Trans-Am Series championship.
Saturday's race will be televised on a same-day, tape-delayed basis by CBS Sports, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
Leitzinger's pole was his second of the season, the second of his career and his second in the past three races. His first career pole came at Mosport (Ont.) International Raceway last month. He earned the Jaguar Pole Award and collected two championship points, giving him 55 for the season and drawing him within one of Tony Ave (#53 LAC Motorsports Panoz Esperante) for seventh place in the chase for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup.
"I was actually surprised [by the pole-winning lap]," Leitzinger said afterward. "It didn't feel that much faster than the others.
"The track was a bit slick today, and it was tough to put together a good lap. But the race tomorrow should be excellent, with the top 10 [actually nine] drivers being separated by only a second [in qualifying]."
Championship leader Boris Said qualified on the outside pole with a lap of 96.073 mph (1:24.611). Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante), winner of the past two Trans-Am events at Mosport and Lime Rock, earned his fourth consecutive top-three start of the season, matching a season-best established at Long Beach and equaled at Mosport.
The championship point Said earned for the outside front-row start gave him 95 for the season, extending his lead over second-place Johnny Miller (#64 Automation Direct/Eaton/Cutler Hammer Jaguar XKR) to 21. Miller, who qualified ninth Friday, takes 74 points into Saturday's event.
"Everything on the Panoz is working well," Said observed. "We went out and did two warmup laps and two timed laps and parked it. That's been the way it's been for us all year, and we didn't see any reason to change it. As well as things have been going, we certainly didn't want to deviate from what we've been doing."
Michael Lewis (#12 AmeriSuites Jaguar XKR) qualified a season-best third at 1:24.626 (96.056 mph). He credited some recent testing at Putnam Park outside Indianapolis with contributing to the successful effort.
"We did a little bit of work at Putnam Park between downpours earlier this week, and we found some things that really helped us today," Lewis said. "The last two races have been very frustrating for me, to the point where I was having doubts about whether I belonged out here, but this was a big lift for everyone on the [American Spirit Racing] team.
"Tomorrow is what counts, though," Lewis added. "We'll see what happens then."
Rounding out the top five drivers were Justin Bell (#40 Allied Machine and Engineering/XtremeLens Chevrolet Corvette), fourth at 95.853 mph (1:24.805) and Stuart Hayner (#02 Trenton Forging/Tom Bell Chevrolet/Precision Anodizing and Plating Chevrolet Corvette), fifth at 95.795 mph (1:24.856).
Three-time and defending Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/Microchip/Futaba/Matrix One Jaguar XKR) qualified sixth at 95.708 mph (1:24.933). Gentilozzi, third in the championship with 73 points, also owns a three-race winning streak at Mid-Ohio, in 1998, '99 and 2001, having gone on to the drivers' title in each of those seasons.
-scca pro racing-