Rain cancels Grand Prix Americas qualifying; grid based on championship points. MIAMI, Fla. (October 5, 2002) -- Saturday's qualifying session for the Grand Prix Americas Trans-Am 100 was washed out by a sudden rainstorm that arose just before...
Rain cancels Grand Prix Americas qualifying; grid based on championship points.
MIAMI, Fla. (October 5, 2002) -- Saturday's qualifying session for the Grand Prix Americas Trans-Am 100 was washed out by a sudden rainstorm that arose just before the green flag. The starting grid will thus be set by championship points when Round 10 of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup begins at 4 p.m. ET Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET, same-day tape delay, SPEED Channel).
That puts championship leader Boris Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) on the pole, sharing the front row with his closest pursuer, three-time and defending Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/Microchip/Matrix One/Futaba Jaguar XKR). Said holds a 264-224 lead over Gentilozzi in the championship standings heading into Sunday's green flag.
"The car's pretty good," Said commented. "We followed Paul around all day yesterday [Gentilozzi was quickest in both Friday practice sessions], so we had to try something different. We made a radical change from yesterday to today, but we didn't get to try it. I guess that'll have to wait until tomorrow.
"I'm looking forward to a fierce battle," added Said, who has started third or better for all 10 Trans-Am events this season. "Paul and Butch [Leitzinger, starting third] are both great competitors. We've had some give-and-take, just like we have all season, and I don't expect tomorrow to be any different."
Gentilozzi was mildly disappointed at the cancellation of qualifying after leading the field through both Friday practices. "Based on our performance in the practice sessions, we expected the pole," he said. "Who knows? We certainly had the opportunity to be there. We missed the chance for [two] bonus points [available to the pole winner], but we can only do what the weather will allow us to do. But we feel good about the car."
Leitzinger, (#88 Tommy Bahama/Tom Gloy Chevrolet Corvette) starts third, the ninth time in 10 starts this season that he has started among the top three drivers. Included are a series-high four poles, at Mosport, Mid-Ohio, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.
"Cancelling qualifying makes it tougher on the engineers and the mechanics than it does on us [the drivers]," Leitzinger said. "They're the ones who have to stay up until the wee hours trying to figure out a setup. We just take the car around, whether it's good or bad.
"This is a fun track to drive, especially on your own," Leitzinger added. "You hear people wishing there were more places to pass, but I think our cars are going to be very closely competitive, and that should make it a good show for the fans."
Rounding out the top five starters are Johnny Miller (#64 Automation Direct/Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR), starting fourth, and Stuart Hayner (#02 Trenton Forging Chevrolet Corvette), starting fifth.
A morning practice session will precede Sunday's green flag, beginning at 10:40 a.m. ET.
-scca pro racing-