Mosport: Qualifying report

Leitzinger sets Mosport Track record, earns first career pole for Ontario More To Discover Trans-Am BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 18, 2002) -- Butch Leitzinger of Tom Gloy Racing claimed the first pole position of his Trans-Am...

Leitzinger sets Mosport Track record, earns first career pole for Ontario More To Discover Trans-Am

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 18, 2002) -- Butch Leitzinger of Tom Gloy Racing claimed the first pole position of his Trans-Am career Saturday when he took the top spot in record fashion during qualifying for Sunday's Ontario More To Discover Victoria Day Trans-Am at Mosport International Raceway.

Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama Chevrolet Camaro) put together a sizzling lap of 113.866 miles per hour (1 minute, 17.744 seconds) on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course to claim the pole for Sunday's 41-lap second round of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship (1 p.m. ET, live, SPEED Channel).

Leitzinger's performance bettered the Mosport qualifying record of 113.184 mph (1:18.212) established by Canadian Ron Fellows in 1995. The pole came in only Leitzinger's third career Trans-Am start, and earned him the Jaguar Pole Award and two championship points in addition to the right to lead 21 fellow competitors to the green flag on Sunday afternoon.

Shortly after Leitzinger's pole-winning lap, he went hard into the Turn 9 tire wall. He was uninjured in the accident, which came with just over seven minutes remaining in the scheduled 20-minute session. Cleanup from the incident brought a premature checkered flag to the session, leaving Leitzinger securely at the top of the starting grid, and no opportunity for a challenge for his fellow competitors.

"Crashing was a big key," Leitzinger joked in the post-qualifying press conference. "I'd done [one minute] 17.7 [seconds] and my guys came on the radio and told me that Boris [Said, the outside pole sitter] was getting ready to go back out.

"Well, I didn't want to give up the pole, and I didn't want to go any faster, so I put it in the tires," Leitzinger added facetiously. "Everything worked according to plan.

"Normally, you want to select third gear going into that corner, but for some reason, I selected first," Leitzinger said, explaining the accident. "I got out of it quickly, but it was too late to save the car. It was completely my fault, but the damage [to the car] isn't that bad. It shouldn't be any problem at all."

Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) qualified second at 113.391 mph (1:18.070), continuing an outstanding weekend performance that saw him dominate both of Friday's practice sessions.

"Second is a good place to start," noted Said, who stands second in the championship with 30 points entering Sunday's event. "The car has really been strong all weekend. It would have been nice to get the full 20 minutes [of qualifying] in, but we're happy and we've got a good car for tomorrow."

Johnny Miller (#64 Automation Direct/Eaton/Cutler Hammer Jaguar XKR) qualified third at 112.699 mph (1:18.549). His start is a career-best in six appearances at Mosport.

"Boy, I sure wanted those last few minutes," said Miller, who stands third in the championship with 26 points. "But the car was just fantastic. We've been consistently picking up more each time out and sneaking up on it a bit at a time. That [qualifying lap] wasn't even a 'white knuckle' lap; it was really just a race lap.

"I know we still left something on the table. There's always more, but we'll have to wait and show it during the race."

Defending race and series champion Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls Jaguar XKR) qualified fifth at 112.107 mph (1:18.964). Gentilozzi takes 34 points and a four-point advantage over Said into Sunday's second round of the championship.

-scca pro racing-

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Ron Fellows , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller