PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tommy Archer ( ...
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tommy Archer (#36 Motor City True Performance Dodge Viper) earned his first pole of the 2001 Trans-Am season at the Tommy Bahama 125 qualifying this afternoon at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore. Archer led the field with a time of 1:13.905 (94.695 mph) on the 12-turn, 1.944-mile road course. He has four top-five finishes so far this season and will be looking for his first win.
Back in the cockpit after missing the last race due to injuries from testing, Archer said he is still feeling sore, but is excited to be here. "It is the first time in the car since my injury, so it really feels good to come back and get the first pole for the team in the Viper. The track conditions were pretty good -- I was able to get the power down," he said.
"I need every point for the rest of the season to make up for missing the Sears Point race," said Archer. "The Cinjo (Racing) guys have put in a lot of work into the car this year, so it is great to get the pole." Archer is currently is sixth place in the Drivers' Championship points standings. He has previously finished second at Portland on two separate occasions -- in 1992 and 1993.
Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/HomeLink-Jaguar XKR), the current points leader and previous Portland Trans-Am winner (1992), will start in second place. "We messed up a bit. We got our fast lap early and instead of coming in or slowing down, we ran three or four more hard laps," he said. "But then the track got better, and we didn't. We just went too fast two soon. We also had too much push, too much wing. We didn't have a balanced car yet."
Boris Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) qualified third. "We're happy to be up near the front again," he said. "This is still a new car to us and it keeps getting better and better."
Brian Simo, pole winner and race winner at Sears Point on July 21, will start fourth. "We're happy with how things went in practice and qualifying today," he said. "Every car in the top five is capable of winning this race, so it will be very competitive tomorrow. There's one more session yet today to make things even better for us."
Michael Lewis (#12 AmeriSuites Jaguar XKR) rounds out the top five starters. "I feel like we're finally getting our feet underneath us with this car," he said. "We're going to go back and look at the data and then take another shot at it."
The Tommy Bahama 125 is part of the Grand Prix of Portland and will take place on Saturday, August 4 at 4 p.m. Eastern time. It will be broadcast live on Speedvision from 4-5:30 p.m. (ET).