Road America: Qualifying report

It's Miller time during Road America trials. ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Johnny Miller kept the championship chase in sight, and won the pole Saturday for Sunday's Trans-Am 100, Round 8 of the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup ...

It's Miller time during Road America trials.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Johnny Miller kept the championship chase in sight, and won the pole Saturday for Sunday's Trans-Am 100, Round 8 of the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship at Road America. Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, turned in a 2:08.143-minute lap around the 4.038-mile road course at an average speed of 113.723 miles per hour. In the process Miller, who sits second in the title chase, earned two bonus championship points.

Miller also won the Jaguar Pole Award, a performance-based initiative that rewards drivers who win the pole at each of the Trans-Am Series' events this season. Polesitters will receive a key--regardless of what type of car they race--which, at the culmination of the season, they will use to attempt to open the door to a 2004 Jaguar XK8, during a formal ceremony. The driver whose key opens the vehicle will win a one-year lease on the car.

Scott Pruett qualified second with a time of 2:08.485 in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR and earned one bonus point for his efforts.

Jorge Diaz, who turned a 2:08.846-minute lap in the No. 8 Don Q Rum Jaguar XKR, timed third, but was disqualified in post-qualifying technical inspection. Diaz's car violated Rule 2.10 in the 2003 Trans-Am Series General Regulations & Technical Specifications: "Ground Clearance." Diaz will therefore forfeit his time and will start 19th, ahead of Glenn Andrew and Dan Furey. Diaz also forfeits one bonus point awarded for qualifying third.

As a result of Diaz's penalty, Stu Hayner (No. 2 GMAC Commercial Finance Chevrolet Corvette) will start third on the grid, ahead of Bobby Sak (No. 10 Chevrolet Corvette) and Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products/COYOTE Closures Chevrolet Corvette).

"We had been playing catch up to Scott Pruett all weekend," said Miller, who earned his second pole this season, and the fourth of his career. "We tried everything. We struggled early on, but made a couple of calculated changes yesterday that pushed us over and basically gave us a new car. We just worked on it from there. It was just magic.

"I knew I had a good lap going when I came through the Carousel really well," added Miller, who previously won the pole at Road America in 2000. "You're just flying with a lot of exit speed going into the Kink. I hit the rev limiter in the Kink, which I hadn't done all weekend. Those things combined to give me a really good lap."

Pruett ran BFGoodrich Tires' 75 (hard) compound g-Force T/A tire on the left rear wheel of his car, and is one of two drivers who will use the harder tires Sunday.

"The harder compound takes a little away from the performance of the car during qualifying, but we're looking for more margin in the race on the long-distance run," said Pruett, who has now qualified on the front row for every race. "We ran some long-distance runs and decided to play it conservative in our tire choice. We can run a hard pace from start to finish and run consistently during the entire race."

The session was stopped twice for cars going off course. The red flag waved the first time when Sak and John Baucom (No. 86 MAP Quality Engineering Jaguar XKR) spun off course in turn eight and later when Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Exercise and Recovery Drink Jaguar XKR) became stranded in the gravel trap in turn three.

The final 40-minute practice session for Sunday's Trans-Am 100 is scheduled to start today at 5:35 p.m. The Trans-Am 100 is scheduled to take the green flag at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday. The race will air on a same-day, tape-delayed basis at 11:30 a.m. CDT on SPEED.

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Dan Furey , John Baucom , Glenn Andrew , Stu Hayner , Jorge Diaz
Teams HART