Portland: Rocketsports Racing preview

LANSING, Mich. (June 15, 2005) The Rocketsports trio of Klaus Graf, Tomy Drissi and Paul Gentilozzi heads west to the scenic Portland Raceway to participate in the Trans-Am portion of the G.I. Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix weekend. In ...

LANSING, Mich. (June 15, 2005) The Rocketsports trio of Klaus Graf, Tomy Drissi and Paul Gentilozzi heads west to the scenic Portland Raceway to participate in the Trans-Am portion of the G.I. Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix weekend. In 2004, Gentilozzi and Drissi finished first and second respectively in a Jaguar sweep of the podium for the Albertsons 100.

After fighting for the win in the closing laps of the Cytomax Challenge, Drissi left Long Beach with a top-10 and sitting sixth in points. Driving the No. 5 Fantastic Four the Movie Jaguar XKR, the Rockin' Moroccan will make his 70th Trans-Am series start in Portland. Last year he earned his first career pole and finished second on the 1.969 mile Portland road course.

"The fans in Portland are some of the most knowledgeable," said the 2004 pole sitter. "The track is well designed and very challenging."

Looking to return to victory lane in the No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR and break the tie for Most Career Wins with the late Mark Donohue, Gentilozzi aims for his 30th win during his 199th career start. Gentilozzi tied the three-time champion's record last year in Denver. The series' career starts leader heads to Portland powered by the Rocketsports developed Jaguar production based AJ-V8 engine.

"As a racer and a competitor, breaking a record is a good thing," said the four-time series champion. "But, to compare what I have done to what Mark (Donohue) did is ridiculous. His wins came in a lot fewer races."

With ALMS experience on the scenic Portland track, the German native, Graf, looks to deny Gentilozzi of his record breaking win by taking the checkered flag for his first Trans-Am series victory in his second outing in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Graf believes the track will lend itself to the performance of the AJ-V8 four-valve engine and he enjoys competing on the track.

"It's a fairly short, but fast racetrack," described Graf. "The chicane is a lot of fun. Besides I like the city and the mountain area around Portland, so it is always a nice trip."

Jaguar holds a bit of Trans-Am history at the scenic track. Former Jaguar driver and Trans-Am participant, Bob Tulius was victorious in 1981 taking the checkered flag in his Jaguar XJS just 3/10th of a second over Eppie Wietzes. Jaguar has a total of 42 series victories and 47 poles.

The Trans-Am event is schedule for Saturday June 18th at 1:00pm Eastern and will be aired on SPEED TV June 26th at 12:30pm Eastern time.

-rsr-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Klaus Graf , Paul Gentilozzi , Mark Donohue