ROCKETSPORTS RACING TEAM OWNER RECONGIZED FOR HIS ROLE IN MOTORSPORTS BY THE GREATER LANSING, MICHIGAN AREA Paul Gentilozzi ready to race EAST LANSING, Mich. (January 25, 2006) - Rocketsports Racing team owner Paul Gentilozzi has been awarded ...
ROCKETSPORTS RACING TEAM OWNER RECONGIZED FOR HIS ROLE IN MOTORSPORTS BY THE GREATER LANSING, MICHIGAN AREA
Paul Gentilozzi ready to race EAST LANSING, Mich. (January 25, 2006) - Rocketsports Racing team owner Paul Gentilozzi has been awarded many honors throughout his 37 years of involvement in the auto racing industry, both on-track and off-track. Most recently, Gentilozzi was named as one of the fourteen inductees into the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 2006 class.
The award is given to individuals that graduated in the Greater Lansing Area High School and are being honored for their exemplary service and Championship status. From the driver's seat to the timing stand, firesuit to business suit, the Everett High School and Michigan State University grad has mastered many roles in the auto-racing industry. With each new undertaking, he has landed on his feet, ready for the next challenge. Whether it's a test of his driving skills, the execution of a strategic sponsorship plan or the creation of innovative concept cars, Gentilozzi demands and delivers high standards of quality and performance in all of his endeavors.
“Motorsports is a different category for us, one that we have never acknowledged one of our own locals for,” said Bob Every, Chairman of the Selection Committee Members and Administration of the Physical Fitness and Wellness Department of Lansing Community College. “Paul Gentilozzi has done so many things in motorsports, which I believe i s one of the biggest spectator sports in the world. From drag racing to his most recent involvement in open-wheel racing, he has revolutionized the sport in the Mid-West.
Gentilozzi began his racing career in 1969 driving an A-modified production 427 Camaro to kick off his thirteen-year NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) career. In 1982, the Lansing, Michigan resident expanded his career with a move from drag-racing to road-racing. What started as an engine-design idea, turned into a car-building project and resulted in a 24-year driving career, with races from Tranz-Am in New Zealand to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
Taking the Trans-Am Road Racing Series by storm in 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2004, Gentilozzi's racing pedigree lead to four Championship Titles in the series. On July 9, 2005, Gentilozzi, at the age of 55, achieved the highest accomplishment possible in the series by breaking a 36-year standing record of 29 wins (held by Mark Donohue) when he took the checkered flag for his 30th Trans-Am victory on the streets of downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“His career, both on-track and off, needs to be recognized,” continued Every on Gentilozzi's induction. “It is something that is very unique to our area; he has been popular in his sporting arena, and achieved many great accomplished in his sport. He is a true champion.”
In the midst of Gentilozzi's racing career, he formed East Lansing-based Rocketsports Racing in 1985. Leaders in engine and chassis design and construction, Rocketsports is one of the most diverse and accomplished companies of its kind in North America. Gentilozzi has kept the focus of Rocketsports on building fast cars and racing to win in both the Trans-Am Series and the Champ Car World Series. To this end, Rocketsports has claimed 65 professional victories as a team and thirteen championship titles, including Manufacture's Championships for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Ford and Jaguar.
In addition to his role of team owner, Gentilozzi owns and manages one of the largest commercial real estate portfolios in Mid-Michigan. The culmination of his experiences in and around race cars, circuits and successful businesses led Gentilozzi to the forefront of the Champ Car World Series. With Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) partners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, Gentilozzi played an instrumental role in securing the Champ Car World Series and preserving open-wheel racing in America and worldwide.
“It is definitely an honor to be recognized by the area that I call home,” stated Gentilozzi on his recent induction. “There are a lot of great people that should be recognized in the Greater Lansing Area, and I do not want to outshine any of them. What I do, is completely different then what most people would do in this area, in terms of the racing. It has always been a passion of mine and I have been lucky enough to find the support from family, friends, and sponsors to get me through all the good and bad times.”
A ceremony to honor the new class of inductees will be held on June 22 at the Lansing Community College campus.
Inaugurated on July 4, 1976, The Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame, which is founded by the Sports and Recreation Committee of the Lansing Bicentennial Commission, stands as a tribute to the nation's legacy of athletic achievement in the Mid-Michigan Area. The first induction ceremonies took place on the campus of Lansing Community College. Ten individuals and three teams were inducted in the bicentennial year with the purpose of giving lasting recognition.