Mosport: Qualifying report

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario -- Scott Pruett further etched his name into the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup legacy by winning the pole Saturday for Sunday's Victoria Day race at Mosport International Raceway. Pruett recorded a...

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario -- Scott Pruett further etched his name into the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup legacy by winning the pole Saturday for Sunday's Victoria Day race at Mosport International Raceway. Pruett recorded a 1:18.1-minute lap at 113.377 miles per hour to earn his 23rd pole, equaling the record held by the late Mark Donohue. It was also the driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR's third-straight pole this season.

"The pole puts me in a great mindset," said Pruett, who last won the pole here in 1987, and is undefeated at Mosport, having won in each of his three Trans-Am Series Mosport appearances. "We came here on Thursday very focused on the car. We really spent a lot of time working with high-mileage tires, because that's what caught us out at Long Beach.

"It was good to find out we had a good balance when we put new tires on the car," added Pruett. "Everything at my team, Rocketsports Racing, that has been done over the years with the Jaguar and car setup makes it easier for me when I step in.

"I just love Mosport. It's just a great track."

Tomy Drissi will start second, the best starting position of his career. The driver of the No. 5 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Movie Jaguar XKR recorded a 1:18.5-minute lap at 112.752 mph. Interestingly, the effort may bode well for Drissi, as the outside front row starter has won this race the most times in its history--11. "Working with Scott, Paul (Gentilozzi) and Johnny (Miller), you learn so much," said Drissi. "I hooked up with Scott on Thursday, and he showed me a pretty good line. On Thursday (during the promoter's test day) was the first chance I had to really work my craft and make the car work for you here.

"I think the extra seat time we got this weekend really helped me," he added. "It should be a good race."

Johnny Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, was third fastest with a 1:18.6-minute lap at 112.569 mph.

"We were able to get consistently quick laps," said Miller, who finished second in last year's Mosport race. "It was only fast enough for third, but it was consistent, so I think the car is going to be a really good race car. This is something we've been working on from the beginning of the year, and it's beginning to pay off.

Michael Lewis (No. 12 Trans-Am Tools by ProQuest Jaguar XKR) and Paul Gentilozzi, (No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR) completed the top five. Rookie Bobby Sak, Stu Hayner, Jorge Diaz, Jr., Randy Ruhlman and Max Lagod will start in positions sixth through 10th.

Post Qualifying Notebook:

* Jerry Simmons, who is making his final start in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup Sunday, May 18 at Mosport International Raceway, will celebrate his 19-year career in the Series prior to the green flag. Simmons, who qualified 15th, will take the warm-up lap from the pole to celebrate his final start.

"It's been a wonderful career" said Simmons, who will start the warm-up lap in position one, then fall back on the backstretch and start the race from his original starting position. "I never set out to do this as a career. I do it because of the love of the sport. And I've enjoyed every minute. I'm a little sad about leaving, but I'm not finished racing. Though, I plan to be more of weekend racer now. I plan to go back into amateur racing in a number of different series that require less commitment.

"I'd like to thank the rest of the guys for letting me start from the pole," added Simmons. "It's not really the pole, but I'll take a parade lap in front of the field so I can wave goodbye to a lot of good friends."

Simmons is proud to end his career at Mosport.

"It is my home track," said Simmons. "I live about two hours from here. I've raced here in every Trans-Am Series race for the last 18 years. It's significant for me to come here to end my Trans-Am Series career."

Simmons, driver of the No. 76 Too Fast Racing Ford Mustang, will make his 91st Series start Sunday, and has posted a best finish of ninth, at Trois-Rivières in 1992. Simmons made his Series debut in 1984 at Watkins Glen International in New York. Simmons also won the 1999 Canadian GT Championship Series race at Mosport.

* Johnny Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR in the Trans-Am Series, with his sponsor Eaton Cutler-Hammer, lent a helping hand to the Canadian United Way. On Wednesday, May 14, Miller and Eaton Cutler-Hammer held a charity luncheon at Eaton's Milton, Ontario facility.

The luncheon, which was for Eaton Cutler-Hammer employees, customers and friends, raised money for the United Way charity and also allowed Eaton to show off their involvement in Miller's Trans-Am Series race program. Proceeds from the event went to the local Milton office of the Canadian United Way.

"What a great afternoon with my sponsors and the wonderful volunteers from the United Way," said Miller, who has been working with Eaton for six seasons now. "We had a lot of fun here today with the United Way and all of the folks at Eaton, showing Eaton's customers and employees what our racing program is all about."

-scca pro racing/trans am-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Tomy Drissi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Jerry Simmons , Michael Lewis , Bobby Sak , Stu Hayner , Mark Donohue , Jorge Diaz