Sebring pole is first for Johnny Miller

SEBRING, Fla. (March 16) - Johnny Miller, driving the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Corvette, earned his first career pole, setting a new course record in the process to front a 34-car field for the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series...

SEBRING, Fla. (March 16) - Johnny Miller, driving the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Corvette, earned his first career pole, setting a new course record in the process to front a 34-car field for the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series season opening race at Sebring International Raceway. Including Miller’s pole-winning Corvette, the Fast Five qualifiers were all in different car models, with seven of the top-eight spots claimed by different models. The all-time series record for race-winning model diversity is seven (Road Atlanta, 1987, positions one through seven). Miller, of Johnson City, Tenn., posted a top time of 2:03.999 (107.420 mph), shaving more than a second off the previous qualifying record of 2:05.445, set by Paul Gentilozzi in 1999. “This is just fantastic, this is the best,” said Miller. “A lot of details went into this pole, and we worked very hard to be ready for this race, putting in 900 miles of testing in the off season. We had a setback early in the week in testing (losing a motor), but we regrouped and here we are.” In 55 previous career starts, Miller has 14 Fast Five qualifying efforts, posting eight top-three finishes. “This race will be won at the last turn of the last lap, and we plan to be right there,” added Miller. Qualifying second at 2:04.127 (107.309 mph) was Boris Said, driving the No. 12 AmeriSuites Ford Mustang Cobra. Said, who will compete in the 48th Annual Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring, subbed in practice and qualifying for series regular Michael Lewis, who is expected to start the 27-lap, 99.9-mile race (from the back of the grid) but missed the early sessions due to the death of his father. Defending Sebring race winner and two-time Drivers’ Champion Gentilozzi, driving the No. 1 Johnson Controls/HomeLink Jaguar KXR in its series debut, was third fastest, posting a time of 2:04.322 (107.141 mph), followed by Brian Simo, in the No. 88 Tommy Bahama Mangusta, and Leighton Reese, in the No. 66 Banner Engineering/Phillips 66 Pontiac Grand Prix. “I messed up my fast lap - my tires weren’t yet up to temperature, I ran too hard, and the car pushed,” said Gentilozzi. “But I’m not making an excuse - with Johnny’s time, we probably wouldn’t have had the pole today anyway. We just finished the cars last Sunday night, and we’re still off. It’s going to take a while to get up to speed, so if there’s ever a chance for our competitors to get a leg up, this is it.” Chris Neville was sixth fastest, driving the No. 84 Soenen Motorsports Mustang Cobra, followed by Randy Ruhlman, in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Oldsmobile Aurora, and G.J. Mennen, in the No. 40 American Health Products Chevrolet Camaro, the seventh different car in the top-eight qualifying positions.

-SCCA/SCCA Pro Racing-

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Brian Simo , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Michael Lewis , G.J. Mennen