GREG PICKETT FINISHES FOURTH IN TRANS-AM SERIES ROSE CITY 100 PORTLAND, Ore. (June 18, 2005) -- Greg Pickett, driver of the ...
GREG PICKETT FINISHES FOURTH IN TRANS-AM SERIES ROSE CITY 100
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 18, 2005) -- Greg Pickett, driver of the #6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR, finished fourth after qualifying third in today's Rose City 100 Trans-Am race, part of the G.I. Joes's presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend at Portland International Raceway. Pickett, who finished second in the season opener at Long Beach, unofficially maintains second place in the Drivers' Championship standings with 51 points, just nine points out of the lead.
The race start was waved off and the field took the green flag on Lap 2. As the field traversed the Festival Curves, there was contact among several competitors and Pickett lost two positions in the tussle, dropping back to fifth. But Pickett quickly regained ground, passing Randy Ruhlman for third on Lap 12, and by Lap 16 was running second.
Following a caution period for debris on the track, Pickett maintained second place until Lap 43 when Ruhlman passed him back for position. A late race pass on Lap 49 of the 51-lap race by Joey Scarallo relegated Pickett to settle for fourth place points.
"It was a bit interesting there after the start in the Festival Curves," explained Pickett, who has a win, three podium and seven top-five finishes here. "What were some of the guys thinking? That kind of contact really is not necessary in Turn 1 of Lap 1. No one is going to win the race on the first lap, but you sure could lose it on Lap 1.
"But we worked our way back to the front with the Jaguars," continued Pickett. "Then Paul (Gentilozzi) went away and it was Klaus (Graf) and I. The pace at that point was so easy. The car wasn't pushy at all. I played with the sway bars a bit and we were in good shape with 20 laps to go. I really thought we'd have something there for him at the end.
"After the restart, I locked up the tires a couple of times. It seemed to be a brake rather than a balance problem," explained Pickett, who has started on the pole here five times, including a track record four consecutive times (1981-1984). "We wanted to make sure we kept the rear tires under us for a run at the end. But we went with a different brake package here and I'm puzzled by how it performed. By the end, we hurt our right front tire; it was down to the cords.
"We had a great engine today -- a real good power package," said Pickett, the 1978 Trans-Am Drivers' Champion. "We got by Randy and were able to drive away, but not at too tough a pace.
"Klaus did a good job today. The car really suited him. His drive just appeared effortless. My congratulations to him on his first Trans-Am win," concluded Pickett, whose career statistics include 15 wins, 19 poles, 48 top-three, 79 top-five, and 116 top-ten finishes in 167 starts.