Rocketsports Racing leads the Championship but still searches for first win in 2009
EAST LANSING, Michigan (June 10, 2009) - Half-way through the 2009 Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am season, the Rocketsports Racing team would like to ‘stop and smell the roses' this weekend in victory lane at the Fluge Global Adventures Rose Cup Classic in Portland, Oregon.
The 1.967-mile, 12 turn road course at Portland International Raceway has been a popular venue for Trans-Am historically. Rocketsports Racing Trans-Am teams have had considerable success at Portland thru the years and in 2009 they are looking forward to continuing that tradition.
In seven years of competition at PIR, the team has made 24 entries resulting in three poles with a total of five front row starts and seven podium finishes including four victories. The last two visits, back in 2004 and 2005, saw a Rocketsports Racing driver in victory circle.
The team's database from this track should help them capture the elusive top step of the podium for the first time in 2009. The Portland track is similar to Mid-Ohio, but it has more fast corners and fewer overtaking options. The racing there will be very close with the draft playing a more important role for the driver than at Mid-Ohio.
Tomy Drissi comes to Portland leading the Championship standings by eight with two back-to-back second-place finishes. The Hollywood-native hopes to not only earn his first win in 2009 this weekend, but also his first victory at Portland. He has made three Trans-Am starts at Portland; each qualifying effort resulted in a top-ten spot on the grid. He earned the pole in 2004 with Rocketsports Racing, which resulted in his best finish at this venue of second.
Driving the #5 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Jaguar XKR, Drissi is excited to return to Portland. "It is a beautiful area and the fans are great," commented Drissi. "PIR is a very challenging track. It is always a challenge to find grip. There are low speed, high speed, and medium speed sections - so it has a little of everything which makes it a challenge to set up the car. But I am confident that we will do that quickly. In 2004, I was chasing Paul Gentilozzi (Rocketsports Racing team owner) for the win, and we ended up finishing 1 and 2. So I know the team has what it takes to run strong at PIR, we just need to finish one step better to get that victory we are thriving for.
With having such a quick turnaround time for the car from Mid-Ohio to this weekend, I know the team worked very hard. Especially Tony Gentilozzi and the engine department - they really had a lot of work to do. We hurt the motor at the last race after we lost the power steering belt and the belt that runs the water pump during qualifying. So Tony really burnt the mid-night oil, so did the rest of the team to get the #5 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Jaguar XKR ready. Hopefully we found a couple of things in the suspension, in the engine and in the driver to win this race."
Driver of the #8 Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR Daniel Ramoutarsingh heads to Portland sitting third in the Championship standings and is currently the series' top rookie. In what should have been a podium finish for the Trinidadian after starting fourth; instead was a test of his ability to race from the back of the field to finish fourth. With his strong performance at Mid-Ohio, expect to see this rookie on the podium if not challenging his teammate, Drissi, for the win this weekend.
"I am looking forward to Portland," said Ramoutarsingh. "It is a cool place with such energy to it, both the town and the race track. I understand it is an awesome place to race and that it is really enjoyable. I am very happy to be back in the company of my friends and to take part of Trans-Am event this weekend - it is all very positive. We are very motivated to keep doing well. We are going to put our best foot forward with the #8 Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR this weekend. This track doesn't seem to have as much of a three dimensional aspect as the other tracks I have raced on in Trans-Am, so I feel that I will be able to adapt even quicker. Although, I am aware that this track isn't straight forward; every track has its own unique characteristics. But I know that we can do well because of such a positive run at Mid-Ohio. We just want to keep the effort moving forward."
The team and drivers will be participating in two days of testing at PIR on Wednesday and Thursday. The official race weekend kicks off on Friday, but the team will only have 20 minutes of practice that day before qualifying takes place Saturday morning at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Round 5 of the 2009 Trans-Am Series will take place on Sunday, June 14 with the 46-lap race scheduled to take the green flag at 2:55 p.m. PDT