Kenny Wilden wins Laguna Seca

Monterey, Calif. -- Kenny Wilden picked up his first career victory, in only his fifth start, this afternoon in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series 100 at the GlobalCenter Sports Car Championships. Wilden, in the ...

Monterey, Calif. -- Kenny Wilden picked up his first career victory, in only his fifth start, this afternoon in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series 100 at the GlobalCenter Sports Car Championships. Wilden, in the #40 YO Ranch Chevrolet Camaro, passed Boris Said midway through lap 38 and fought off all challenges to secure the victory. In addition Wilden picked up the Simple Green Clean Sweep Award, a $40,000 bonus, by leading the most laps, having the fastest lap, securing the pole position and winning the race. The 100 mile race was competed over the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway.

Said, in the brand new #33 Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra, posted his podium finish after taking delivery on the car just this past week. For Said it was his eighth podium finish and 12th top-ten.

BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series Driver's Championship leader Paul Gentilozzi (#1 Johnson Controls HomeLink Jaguar XKR) finished third to extend his points lead over Brian Simo, 247to 218. Gentilozzi and Simo touched midway through lap 19, which caused Simo to to spin into the gravel in turn three. Simo suffered heavy damage to the right side and was not a factor finishing 29th.

"I had to show a lot of patience today," said Wilden. "I am a right-foot breaker and I always use the clutch on downshifts. That's sort of old school for some people. I got caught going up the hill towards the Corkscrew (turn eight) and I got caught off guard and the engine quit. So there I am gliding along and finally I got it turned over. But by that time everyone had gone on by me. I had to adjust to not having a clutch because I am not used to racing without one. But Jim Derhaag was good on the radio. He said to be patient and he knew that we had a good car under us."

"I just had to stay focused on what was ahead of me and not behind of me. That's always tough for some drivers. I really enjoy the racing. I have watched these guys race for a number of years in this series."

"It was a fun afternoon of racing," said Said. "I ran in the ALMS Race and then 20 minutes later I have to jump in one of these cars. I felt a little rusty. I didn't quite know how to save the tires and I burned my car down a little bit. I have raced with Kenny quite a bit in 24-hour races at Mosport and there wasn't much I could do with him, he just had more car."

The unofficial points after this afternoon's race are as follows: Gentilozzi, 247; Simo, 218; Jeff Altenburg, 168; Leighton Reese, 154; and Chris Neville, 151.

Round Ten of the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series will be at the Grand Prix of Las Vegas on October 29. The series will complete its season one week later at the San Diego Grand Prix.

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Brian Simo , Leighton Reese , Jeff Altenburg