Laguna Seca qualifying report

MONTEREY, Calif. -- Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., captured his second Motor City True Performance Pole Position of the season, and will lead the field to the green flag in Saturday's SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series 125, Round 10 of 11 in...

MONTEREY, Calif. -- Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., captured his second Motor City True Performance Pole Position of the season, and will lead the field to the green flag in Saturday's SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series 125, Round 10 of 11 in the chase for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Scott Pruett, of Auburn, Calif., and Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., completed the top three.

Driving the No. 36 Control Concepts Dodge Viper, Archer turned a fastest lap of 1:27.471 (92.108 mph) around the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit to earn his third career pole--his first since Portland International Raceway in early August.

"Every race, the car becomes more and more comfortable to drive," said Archer, who presently sits fourth in the Championship. "I just love racing this circuit and the West coast in general."

Racing in the Trans-Am Series for the first time since winning the 1994 Championship is former CART race winner and reigning GTS class Le Mans winner Scott Pruett, who will line up second in the No. 5 Johnson Controls/Homelink Jaguar XKR. In a cameo appearance, Pruett turned a fast lap of 1:27.843 (91.718 mph) for his 44th-career Fast Five appearance in 48 races.

"The series has changed, but mainly stayed the same," said Pruett, who has also raced in NASCAR Winston Cup since his 1994 title. "We're not quite happy with the balance of the car, but we're working on it. This is a lot better than sitting at home and watching Trans-Am on television."

After winning the first race of the season in a Ford Mustang, Said hopes to put the Panoz Esperante into victory lane for the first time after qualifying third in the No. 33 Applied Computer Solutions entry with a time of 1:28.023 (91.531 mph). Lou Gigliotti, who took the second race of the season in the No. 28 LG Motorsports/G2 Performance Chevrolet Corvette, will start fourth after running a lap of 1:28.085 (91.466 mph).

Driving the No. 3 Johnson Controls/Homelink Jaguar XKR, Paul Gentilozzi's lap of 1:28.288 (91.256 mph) was good for fifth quick and one critical qualifying point. With that point, the 1998 and 1999 Trans-Am Champion extended his Championship lead over teammate Johnny Miller to 34, meaning he need only finish in front of Miller to clinch his third title in four years.

Even with the title well in sight, Gentilozzi's mind is focused on racing for a win first and foremost this weekend.

"We learned last year that we can't coast to the Championship," said Gentilozzi, who has four wins this season. "We're going to go out and race tomorrow. We made some setup changes from this morning's practice session, and they probably weren't the best changes. I had something strange happen during the session. I thought we had a plug wire off, and then thought that the motor had blown. Then it fired right back up, so I guess it was just a fuel pickup glitch."

Defending series Champion Brian Simo will line up sixth, followed by Rookie of the Year Justin Bell, Michael Lewis, Ross Thompson and Miller.

[Simo and Miller were later moved to the back of the grid after failing post qualifying inspection.]

-SCCA/SCCA ProRacing-

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About this article
Series SCCA , Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Brian Simo , Tommy Archer , Justin Bell , Lou Gigliotti , Michael Lewis , Ross Thompson
Teams LG Motorsports