ROCKETSPORTS RACING DOMINATES THUNDER IN THE PARK TRANS-AM SERIES EVENT AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA EAST LANSING, Michigan (September 6, 2006) -- Taking part in the first of two 2006 Trans-Am races promoted by Heartland Park Topeka, Rocketsports ...
ROCKETSPORTS RACING DOMINATES THUNDER IN THE PARK TRANS-AM SERIES EVENT AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA
EAST LANSING, Michigan (September 6, 2006) -- Taking part in the first of two 2006 Trans-Am races promoted by Heartland Park Topeka, Rocketsports drivers Paul Gentilozzi and Tomy Drissi finished the event in a typical Rocketsports Trans-Am fashion -- on the podium, one and two respectively.
After setting the fastest time during Monday morning's qualifying session in the #10 Rocketsports Jaguar XKR with a lap of 1:36.922 (92.858 mph) around the 14-turn, 2.5-mile circuit, Gentilozzi earned the pole position. He started the race in the fifth spot with the Trans-Am inverted Fast Five rule. Drissi set the fourth fastest time during qualifying and started second.
Gentilozzi was pushed to the rear of the field after being hit from behind Edison Lluch Sr. on Lap 2, which caused a flat tire. He had to come into the pits to fix the flat and was 25 seconds behind the leaders on the race restart. Fourteen laps later, the four-time Trans-Am champion took the lead and never looked back, recording the fastest lap of the race and taking the victory.
Gentilozzi officially beat teammate Drissi to the checkered flag by 25.809 seconds, averaging 77.172 mph over the course of the 24-lap, 60-mile race. This victory marks Gentilozzi's record-extending 31st career Trans-Am win. The win also capped the 49th in series history for Jaguar, fourth on the all time list.
"It was a great experience, and to win was the frosting on the cake," said Gentilozzi. "It was exciting to come from the back of the field, and really race again. It was a great feeling and even better to be back behind the wheel of the #10 Rocketsports Jaguar XKR. We'll come do it again for the second scheduled event, and next time we'll be a little better prepared as I learned the track and now have a better sense of what the car needs to be even quicker in the next event here at Heartland Park Topeka."
Drissi was happy with his podium finish and for his teammate, Gentilozzi. "It was fun to get back out there and run to commemorate the great Trans-Am series. Paul is one of the greatest drivers in Trans-Am history ever, so to finish behind him is an honor, along with finishing one and two on the podium for the Rocketsports team."
Sports Car Club of America, Inc., and Heartland Park Topeka reached an agreement earlier this year for the track to promote two Trans-Am races in 2006. This marks the 40th anniversary of the series, which is the longest continuously-running road racing series in North America. The second, and final, Trans-Am race in 2006 will be held Sunday, October 8. Both races run under sanction of SCCA Club Racing.
The Rocketsports team also participated in the Spencer's Dream Last Chance Nationals running in the GT1 Class with Drissi behind the wheel of the #5 Rocketsports Jaguar XKR. Drissi qualified the car on Friday in the third spot after running a time of 1:40.010 (89.991 mph). During the race on Saturday, Drissi posted his fastest time of 1:39.558 (90.400 mph) and finished as the running up to former Trans-Am competitor Jorge Diaz Jr.