Said wins Road America, Wilden injured

Boris Said, in a Panoz Esperante from ACS Racing, won the 100-mile Trans-Am race today at Road America. The Jaguars of Paul Gentilozzi and teammate Johnny Miller completed the podium with Stu Hayner close behind in his Revolution Motorsports ...

Boris Said, in a Panoz Esperante from ACS Racing, won the 100-mile Trans-Am race today at Road America. The Jaguars of Paul Gentilozzi and teammate Johnny Miller completed the podium with Stu Hayner close behind in his Revolution Motorsports Corvette.

The race was marred by an injury suffered by Kenny Wilden on the second lap. Wilden, driving Jim Derhaag's Corvette after he was named to replace Justin Bell earlier this week, had started from the pole and led at the end of the first lap. As he climbed the hill from Canada Corner - Road America's turn 12 - he put the right two wheels in the grass and spun into the concrete wall on the right side of the track hitting with a hard impact on the driver's side.

Wilden was unconscious when workers arrived at the scene of the crash, but he regained consciousness as the safety team worked to extract him. Dr. Ray Jackson determined that Wilden had suffered a mild concussion, and the driver was transported by ambulance to St. Nicholas Hospital in nearby Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

After a lengthy red flag session to remove Wilden from the car, Said held the lead with Tony Ave hounding him closely in a similar Panoz (from LAC Motorsports). Hayner had made a strong start from sixth on the grid to hold third when the green waved.

On lap 6, Jim Trotnow spun his Camaro into the gravel outside of turn 3, which required a long yellow flag session to drag it out. Most of the leaders took to the pits during the caution period, and Said took the lap ten restart in 6th place.

It took only a lap for Said to get around those cars that had not stopped, although Butch Leitzinger had made amazing progress through the field from 21st on the grid to a spot on Said's rear bumper. When Said got clear of the traffic, he built a lead over Leitzinger while the Rocketsports Jaguars of Gentilozzi and Miller began to pressure Leitzinger for second.

On the 15th lap, Gentilozzi made the pass for second place and pulled away as Leitzinger and Miller began an exciting battle for the third position. Miller passed under braking for turn 5 on the next lap, but Leitzinger was able to take back the position one turn later. The two went side-by-side through turn 12 and up the hill through turn 14 before Leitzinger could get back in front. The battle continued for two more laps with the two cars battling side-by-side several times before Miller could make a pass stick in Canada Corner on lap 18.

While Miller and Leitzinger were fighting for the third position, Hayner caught up to the pair and he started to harass Leitzinger for fourth as soon as Miller got by. The Hayner/Leitzinger fight was a short one though, as Leitzinger locked up his brakes at Canada Corner on the next lap and slid the Tom Gloy Racing Corvette into the gravel. This required another caution period so the safety crews could pull his car out. Leitzinger would continue one lap down in 20th position after a pit stop.

The race restarted on at the start of lap 22 with Said leading Gentilozzi, Miller, and Hayner. The third Rocketsports Jaguar of Tomy Drissi briefly held fifth place but lost that spot to the Corvette of Bob Ruman in turn 1. Drissi would fade in the later laps to finish ninth. Ruman also hit problems on the race's next-to-last lap, spinning into the gravel trap at turn 6.

Ave finished fifth with a late charge back from a poor pit stop, and finished ahead of a fierce joust in the closing laps among Randy Ruhlman (6th in a Corvette), Greg Pickett (7th in his Mustang), and Drissi. Rookie Paul Menard and Paul Fix II rounded out the top ten.

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Paul Fix , Tony Ave , Justin Bell , Tomy Drissi , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Bob Ruman , Greg Pickett , Paul Menard , Jim Trotnow , Tom Gloy , Stu Hayner