2002 Trans-Am series for BFGoodrich® Tires Cup wraps up with tight victory for Boris Said.
Said delivers 100th Trans-Am Victory to Ford Motor Company
FAST, FAST AND FASTER -- Virginia International Speedway was extremely fast and exciting as the Trans-Am cars battled it out today in a live televised race on the SPEED channel; the final race of the 2002 Tran-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup. In the end, it was Boris Said once again, capturing his eighth victory this season followed by Tony Ave in the No. 53 Trilithic Panoz Esperante. Finishing third was Justin Bell, in the No. 40, Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience/Extreme Lens Chevrolet Corvette.
Said's victory today at VIR marked a milestone for Ford Motor Co., as Said drove a Ford Mustang to victory instead of the Panoz Esperante he drove all year. The victory in the Mustang provided Ford it's 100th victory in Trans-Am and one more record for Said who secured his first Trans-Am Championship and BFGoodrich® Tires Cup two weeks ago at Road Atlanta.
"I like racing, and when I win, it's even better," remarked Said. "BFGoodrich Tires helped me win three races at the run-offs, now a Trans-Am Championship and they have been a part of my racing career since the beginning. They're more then associates, they're my friends."
It was fitting end for Said who finished the season winning eight out of the 12 races and placing in the Top Three 11 out of 12 races. In addition, Said turned the fastest lap of the weekend on lap 27 of the 31-lap race with a 1:49:264.
Tony Ave barely squeaked by with a second place finish as he ran out of gas coming down the front straightaway on the last lap, running out of gas just before crossing the finish line. Ave went the entire race without pitting for fuel, a new element that came into play this year as fuel cells for Trans-Am competitors were reduced, forcing fuel stops. Ave is one of two fuel-injected cars in the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Cup. Said's seven victories in a Panoz Esperante and Ave's second place finish today unofficially clinched the manufacturers title for Panoz this year.
The VIR Speedfest was presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience, which made Justin Bell's third place finish even sweeter. The podium finish was Bell's third this year with a second place finish in Miami and a third place in Mosport.
BFGoodrichâ Tires "Take Control" Award -- BFGoodrich®
Tires gave away 12 sets of BFGoodrichâ g-ForceTM T/Aâ radials this season to drivers who lead the most laps of each race. Take Control award winners this season were: Boris Said (five times), Butch Leitzinger (four times), Paul Gentilozzi (one time), and Tony Ave who took home the tires today at VIR has won the Take Control award twice. In addition, BFGoodrich® Tires provided a contingency award for the top 10 finishers in each race this season, giving away 180 BFGoodrichâ g-ForceTM T/Aâ radials. The top five finishers in each race received two tires and the finishers from sixth through tenth received one tire.
BFGOODRICH® TIRES CUP CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
Boris Said won his first Trans-Am Championship this season and took home the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup for his success. Said finished the season first with 359 points. The battle for second came down to three-time Trans-Am Champion Paul Gentilozzi and Rookie of the Year Butch Leitzinger. Paul Gentilozzi was second in points going into the final race at VIR, but a nasty crash in practice on Thursday banged up Gentilozzi and resulted in two broken ribs. Gentilozzi didn't even get into the car for qualifying and opted to complete eight laps of the 31 laps today before handing over the wheel of the No. 3 Johnson Controls Jaguar XKR to Jack Willes. Gentilozzi's misfortune put him third overall in the standing with 270 points behind Butch Leitzinger who jumped up to finish the season in second place with 288 points. Johnny Miller finished the season in fourth place overall with 258 points and Stu Hayner rounded out the top five with 254 points.