Drissi Heats Up Cool Trans-Am Practice at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 13, 2009) -- Tomy Drissi, of Los Angeles, used the cool overcast conditions to his advantage when he turned a practice time of 1:10.696 (100.164 mph) during this morning's Round Five Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am practice, as part of the Fluge Global Adventures Rose Cup Classic at Portland International Raceway. Greg Pickett, of Benicia, Calif., was second quickest in the session.

Drissi, who is the current Trans-Am Championship point leader, turned his fastest time on his eighth and final lap of the 20-minute practice session. In fact, early in the session, Drissi's No. 5 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Jaguar XKR developed an oil leak and was smoking heavily before he brought his machine to pit lane for repairs.

His pit crew quickly fixed the leak and sent Drissi on his way. When he returned to the track, he needed only two laps to set a time that was nearly 2.5 seconds faster than the current Trans-Am qualifying record at PIR. Klaus Graf is the current record holder with a 1:13.189 (96.752 mph), which he set in 2005 driving a Jaguar XKR.

"The reason we were all fired up [for practice] was because at the last minute Trans-Am said, 'While we do qualify in the rain, if it gets really bad, we don't want to wreck a bunch of cars. We will revert back to the practice times from this session,'" Drissi said. "I am really happy right now. We made some huge changes from yesterday. But, had we known that this might have been 'qualifying,' we wouldn't have made them. We'll see if this turned out to be just practice or not. But, if it isn't, we are going to have to back this up this afternoon."

Pickett, who was fastest in yesterday's practice, only turned six laps this morning in his No. 6 Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR. The 1978 series Champion turned a best time of 1:11.701 (98.760 mph). This weekend, Pickett hopes to notch his second victory of the season and, if he does, it will be his second career win at PIR and his 18th overall as a Trans-Am driver.

Rookie Todd Harris, of Portland, Ore., is no rookie to PIR and, to show it, he recorded the third fastest time in his No. 24 Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR with a 1:11.793 (98.633 mph).

Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., was fourth quickest in the No. 10 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Pro Motor Ford Mustang with a 1:11.805 (98.617 mph), while Dan Ramoutarsingh, of LaRomain, Trinidad, was fifth with a 1:12.810 (97.255 mph).

Seventeen cars will take to the track at 3:05 p.m. (PDT) today for qualifying. The Round Five green flag will wave at 2:55 p.m., Sunday, June 14. For the latest Trans-Am news and results, visit www.sccatrans-am.com.

-credit: scca pro racing