Road America: Rocketsports qualifying notes, quotes

Johnny Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, qualified on the pole with a time of 2:08:143 for tomorrow's Trans-Am race...his second pole this season...second pole at Road America...fourth career Trans-Am pole. NOTE 1 --...

Johnny Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, qualified on the pole with a time of 2:08:143 for tomorrow's Trans-Am race...his second pole this season...second pole at Road America...fourth career Trans-Am pole.

NOTE 1 -- ROAD AMERICA STATS...Miller has eight previous starts...In 2002, he qualified fifth and finished third...Best finish - second in 2001 when he qualified fourth, started third and was leading when the race was called early due to torrential rains, but ultimately finished second when Series' rules determined that the previously scored lap would count as the final race lap...Started on the pole here in 2000.

On his qualifying effort today... "We've been playing catch-up to Scott (Pruett) all weekend. We tried everything. We struggled early on, but made a couple of calculated changes yesterday that pushed us over and basically gave us a new car. We just worked on it from there. It was just magic. We gained in big leaps and bounds. We ran out of time yesterday. It's still not there, but it's good...good enough to get the job done in qualifying.

"I knew I had a good lap going when I came through the Carousel really well, you're just flying with a lot of exit speed going into the Kink. I hit the rev limiter in the Kink which I hadn't done all weekend. Those things combined to give me a really good lap.

"We've got 150 Eaton Cutler-Hammer (his sponsor) customers here this weekend, so I'm really glad to be starting up front for them. We're just hoping for a good day tomorrow."

On his tire selection... "We opted for the medium compound all the way around. We looked at our tire wear and think we're in good shape. It (his tire selection) is a really big gamble; it's a borderline thing. It depends a lot on the weather and how the race unfolds. But I need to win this race. I can't afford to slow down, so I can't afford to take chances."

Miller's Crew Chief Bobby Houghton on working to get the No. 64 ready for qualifying... "We were ready to go to Menards to buy a kitchen sink because that's about the only thing we hadn't thrown at the car."

Scott Pruett, driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, qualified second with a time of 2:08:484...has started on the front row every race this season...has started on the front row at Road America in each of his four Trans-Am starts.

NOTE 1 -- ROAD AMERICA STATS...Pruett has three Trans-Am starts here starting on the pole each time...Best finish -- flag-to-flag win in 1988...Finished second after leading laps 1-13 in 1994...Has multiple starts here in other series including IMSA GTS and Champ Car World Series...best Champ Car finish here -- fifth in 1997.

NOTE 2 -- BACKGROUND STATS...Leads in the points standings...In 2003, has five wins (St. Petersburg, Mosport, Infineon Raceway, Cleveland, Trois-Rivieres) in seven starts...Raced in the Winston Cup event at Watkins Glen, scoring a career-best second place...Competed in the Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway finishing 24th due to contact while running sixth...Has two Trans-Am Drivers' Championships (1987, 1994)...In 2002, did not compete in the Trans-Am Series...Competed in Winston Cup Series in 2000... Competed several seasons in CART Champ Car Series, scoring two wins...Has two IMSA GTO Drivers' Championships (1986, 1988).

On his qualifying session ... "We opted to run the hard compound on the left rear tire. It takes a little away from the performance of the car during qualifying, but we're looking for more margin in the race on a long distance run. It was sliding around quite a bit out there.

"We ran some long distance runs and decided to play it conservative in our tire choice. We can run a hard pace from start to finish and run consistently during the entire race.

"We're in more of a position (leading in the points standings) be conservative. We'll make it up in the race; we'll see how it plays out tomorrow."

Paul Menard, driver of the No. 3 Johns Manville/Menards Jaguar XKR, qualified ninth with a time of 2:10:672.

NOTE 1 -- ROAD AMERICA STATS...Menard has only one Trans-Am start here, in 2002 when he finished seventh...Won the 2001 NASCAR RE/MAX Series race here...A Wisconsin native, Menard considers this to be his home track.

NOTE 2 -- BACKGROUND STATS...Has six career Trans-Am starts and has five top-ten finishes...Has one Trans-Am start this season at St. Petersburg, finishing 10th...In 2003, has joined Andy Petree Racing and will compete in an 18-race schedule including NASCAR Truck, Busch, ARCA, and Winston Cup Series...Finished 29th at the Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen...Finished 21st in this week's Truck Series at Bristol Motor Speedway.

On his qualifying session ..."We had a really bad push during qualifying on the new tires. We came in to adjust the tire pressures and then the car was really good. The red flag during the session really hurt us. I just couldn't get a clean lap after that.

"But we've got a good race car. The car will be even better in race trim. I'd rather win the race than start on the pole."

-rsr-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Johnny Miller , Andy Petree , Paul Menard