GREG PICKETT TAKES SECOND IN THE TRANS-AM SEASON FINALE IN MONTREAL; FINISHES THIRD IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TALLY
MONTREAL, Quebec (Aug. 27, 2005) -- Road racing veteran Greg Pickett, driver of the No. 6 Cytomax/Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR, took second place in today's 2005 Trans-Am season finale at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, scoring his sixth consecutive podium finish this season. The 1978 Drivers' Champion also posted the fastest race lap, his second this season.
Pickett, whose win last month in Edmonton makes him the only driver in Trans-Am history to have won a race in each of four decades of competition, also finished third in the Drivers' Championship, despite missing the Cleveland race due to a previous commitment. This marks Pickett's best finish in the final standings since his fifth-place ranking in 1992. In eight starts, the 30-year Trans-Am legend has collected four second-place finishes and a pair of thirds in addition to his history-making win, finishing off the podium just once with fourth-place points in Portland.
The race start was waved off and the first lap was completed under yellow. Pickett, who qualified third but started last in 14th place due to a post-qualifying technical infraction, began to carve his way through the field, picking up eight positions by the time the next caution flag flew on Lap 3. Managing his car and his tires, Pickett moved up to fourth when the next caution flag was displayed on Lap 16. Green flag racing resumed on Lap 18 and by Lap 21, Pickett was eyeing another podium finish.
Maintaining his third place position for the next several laps, Pickett was the beneficiary of former Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi's mechanical misfortune on Lap 26, and he assumed the second place post. Keeping eventual race winner Klaus Graf well within his sights during the final laps, Pickett continued to best his own lap times and ultimately turned in the fastest race lap with a time 1:40:120 minutes on Lap 33 of the 37-lap event, en route to his second-place finish.
"What a great way to end our season with another podium," said Pickett. "We came here to give Klaus and Randy (Ruhlman) a good, strong run to the last lap of the season, and that's just what we did.
"The car and engine performed flawlessly today; I got everything I asked for and then some," explained Pickett, who again showcased the integrity of his new 5.1-liter, 310 c.i. Hasselgren electronic fuel-injected pushrod Ford V-8. "It's a true testament to the total package to be able to turn the fastest race lap so late in the race. I'm very proud of my team for giving me a great car at every race this season; that's why we're on the podium again today and third in the championship hunt."
"Congratulations to Klaus on his championship -- he's proven himself very worthy of that honor. It's been a true pleasure to race with Randy and him throughout the season," continued Pickett. "They're fast, fun, and fair. They keep me honest."
"As long as I can still perform at a high level with good reaction times, and I'm fast enough to maintain the respect of my competitors, I'll stick around...see you next season," concluded Pickett.