Trans-Am Drivers Gentilozzi and Kendall Nominated for AARWBA Award
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 29, 2004) -- 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series Drivers' Champion Paul Gentilozzi and Championship runner-up Tommy Kendall are among 44 drivers on the ballot for the 2004 American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association's (AARWBA) 2004 Auto Racing All-America Team. Gentilozzi and Kendall are two of six drivers nominated in the Road Racing category. More than 300 members of the motorsports press will vote for the All-America team, and will also determine the Jerry Titus Award, which honors the team's top driver--the one earning the most votes in the balloting regardless of category.
The battle for the Trans-Am title between Gentilozzi and Kendall came down to the wire--the Rocketsports Racing teammates finishing the season tied in final points, a feat not achieved in the Trans-Am Series since 1966. Gentilozzi clinched the title by virtue of his five wins this year to two victories for Kendall. Gentilozzi's fourth title ties him with Kendall for the most in Trans-Am history. In fact, it was the closest Drivers' Championship finish in Trans-Am's 39-year history (the Drivers' Championship was not officially instituted until the 1971 season). Gentilozzi finished out of the top five just once, at Road America due to two punctured tires, and won after starting last in two races--Portland and Cleveland.
2004 brought added significance for Gentilozzi as he notched his 29th career victory, tying the win record held by the late Mark Donohue. Gentilozzi sat out the Infineon race due to prior business commitments.
Kendall, who won the Jerry Titus Award after earning his fourth Trans-Am title in 1997, returned to Trans-Am competition in 2004 after a six-year hiatus. Leading the development of Jaguar's new production-based, fuel-injected, overhead-cam AJ-V8 engine, Kendall amassed five podium finishes (including his two wins) and recorded six top-five and seven top-ten finishes, as well as four poles.
Kendall and Gentilozzi join fellow nominees in the road racing category: Ron Fellows and the team of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner (ALMS); Ian James (ALMS, Grand-Am); and the team of Max Papis and Scott Pruett (Grand-Am).
AARWBA members will vote from among six drivers named in each category. This year a change in the voting method puts 44 drivers on the ballot instead of 42--in road racing co-drivers who were teammates with virtually identical records are voted as one.
Two from each category will be named to the first team, to be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet Jan. 15 in Pomona, Calif. The winner of the Jerry Titus Award will also be announced at the banquet. The Titus Award honors the team's top driver--the one earning the most votes in the balloting regardless of category.
The balloting will also determine a second team of the drivers placing third and fourth in each category, and honorable mentions to all other drivers receiving at least five percent of the vote. AARWBA members have annually chosen an All-America Auto Racing Team since 1970.
The Motorock Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 40th consecutive year of competition in 2005.