Mosport: Race report

Said scores Panoz Esperante's first-ever Trans-Am victory in record fashion at Mosport. BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 19, 2002) -- Boris Said of ACS Express Racing put the Panoz Esperante in the motorsports history books Sunday when he drove...

Said scores Panoz Esperante's first-ever Trans-Am victory in record fashion at Mosport.

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 19, 2002) -- Boris Said of ACS Express Racing put the Panoz Esperante in the motorsports history books Sunday when he drove the Esperante to its first-ever Trans-Am series victory in the Ontario More To Discover Victoria Day Trans-Am at Mosport International Raceway.

Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) assumed the lead on the 27th of 41 laps and maintained it for the balance of the event en route to a comfortable 23.501-second victory over Johnny Miller (#64 Automation Direct/Eaton/Cutler Hammer Jaguar XKR). Said averaged a sizzling 109.749 miles per hour for the 100-mile event, obliterating the Trans-Am track record of 104.570 mph established by Darin Brassfield in 1988.

The win, coupled with Said's runner-up effort in the Trans-Am season opener at Long Beach last month, gave him the lead in the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship with 62 points. Miller stands second at 54, followed by defending and three-time series champion Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/Microchip/Matrix One/Futaba Jaguar XKR), who stands third with 50 points following a 10th-place finish that was hindered by a broken spark plug.

"Today, everything went according to plan," Said commented afterward. "It wasn't the most exciting race compared to Long Beach [where Said, Gentilozzi and Justin Bell waged a spellbinding last-lap battle for victory before Gentilozzi emerged with the checkered flag], but the team worked really hard for this.

"I love coming to Mosport," Said continued. "When we see these fans out here in this cold weather [temperatures hovered in the low to mid-40s throughout the weekend] -- if we had this kind of weather back home in San Diego, people would probably be stocking canned goods in their basements -- but these are die-hard racing fans and they give us a lot of support. It's always great to see them."

The victory was the fourth of Said's Trans-Am career and his first since the 2001 season opener at

Sebring. It was also his 22nd top-five finish in 48 career Trans-Am starts.

Miller logged his second podium result of the season, following a third-place finish at Long Beach, and extended his

Trans-Am series leading streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to 14, dating to his victory in the 2000 season finale at San Diego.

"The car was great right out of the box this weekend," Miller said. "The way we strategized the race didn't quite work out the way we had expected, but we're by no means disappointed.

"We wanted to lead a bunch of laps to get the bonus point, and we did that, but we paced ourselves too much and we couldn't run Boris down. But it was a good weekend and now we'll go to Lime Rock [next week] and try again."

Third place went to Bell (#40 XtremeLens Chevrolet Corvette), who claimed his first podium finish since a victory in last year's season-ending event at Houston, but his fifth podium performance in the last seven events, dating to a third-place effort at Portland last season.

"At this point in the season, since we're fighting for the championship, it's important for us to get some points," said Bell, who stands third in the championship with 43 points, "so third place here is good, and now we'll go to Lime Rock and try to get some more."

Rounding out the top five finishers were Lou Gigliotti (#28 LG Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette), whose fourth-place showing was his third in the last four races, dating to third at Laguna Seca last year; and Randy Ruhlman (#49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette), who collected his fourth consecutive top-seven result by finishing fifth. Gigliotti and Ruhlman are tied for fourth place in the championship with 41 points each.

Pole sitter Butch Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama Chevrolet Corvette), who led the first eight laps, went off course after exiting the pits on Lap 9, causing substantial damage to his front bodywork. He completed the event, but finished 18th, three laps down.

The Trans-Am Series continues with Round 3, the Mohegan Sun Presents the Lime Rock Grand Prix, May 23-27 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Justin Bell , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Lou Gigliotti , Darin Brassfield