San Jose: Race notes

SAID WINS CYTOMAX SPORT DRINK 100 TRANS-AM RACE IN SAN JOSE SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 30, 2005) -- Boris Said proved to the 50,962 fans here that he is always a threat by dominating Saturday's Cytomax Sport Drink 100 Trans-Am Series...


SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 30, 2005) -- Boris Said proved to the 50,962 fans here that he is always a threat by dominating Saturday's Cytomax Sport Drink 100 Trans-Am Series race at the inaugural Grand Prix of San Jose. Said, driving the No. 33 ACS Express Ford Mustang, took the lead on lap nine of the 57-lap event and then held off a charging Greg Pickett to record the victory, his first this season in just his second start.

Pickett, the 1978 Trans-Am champion, finished second, just .147 of a second back, driving the No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR. Rookie Klaus Graf drove from last on the Trans-Am grid to finish third in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Championship leader Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) was fourth, and holds the championship lead going into the next race in two weeks at Denver. Hima Maher (No. 78 Centennial Motorsports of Calgary Chevrolet Corvette) was fifth.

Joey Scarallo led the event from the start in the No. 06 Group A Wheels/Auto Trend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette), but lost the point to Pickett in the hairpin on the tight 1.448-mile street course on lap eight. Said passed Pickett in turn four one lap later.

Pickett charged into the final turn and, as the checkered flag waved, he nearly took the lead from Said as the two former Trans-Am champions crossed the stripe side by side.

"I wanted to slow down, but Greg was pushing me really hard," said Said, the 2002 Trans-Am titleholder. "I had a great time here. Greg is a great guy and he ran me really hard and the finish was really close. It was a lot of fun.

"I knew he was going to be there in that last turn," added Said. "I was expecting it. I was just waiting for him to slow down; for his tires to go away or something, but he really ran me down at the finish. We put on a really good show. It was a riot racing here."

Pickett held on to second, despite being involved in an incident with a GTA competitor late in the event. Pickett, from Alamo, Calif., debuted his new fuel-injected engine package this weekend, developed by longtime Toyota Atlantic Championship engine builder Hasselgren. Pickett also set the race's fastest race lap, a 1:05.382-minute effort. The runner-up effort marked his third such finish this year, and his fourth 2005 podium. Pickett won Round 5 at Edmonton, but missed the Cleveland round due to previous business engagements.

"I have to compliment my crew," said Pickett, who moved up to third in points, just 16 markers away from Ruhlman. "This was a very, very difficult track on the equipment. The transmission, the suspension--everything took a beating this weekend. We wanted to finish the race. That's what we set out to do. Any time you can run like that with a guy like Boris Said, you have to be happy. Boris is a fierce competitor. I guess I might feel just a tiny bit better, but we're happy.

"Corporately, we're very pleased about our sponsorship of the race," added Pickett of his company's backing of the event through its Cytomax Sport Drink brand. "It was a big success for us. San Jose did a wonderful job getting this event together.

Graf started last on the grid after changing tires on his Jaguar prior to the race, which disallowed his qualifying time. The third-place finish marked the German rookie's third podium this season. Graf was involved in several incidents on track and received a black-flag penalty late in the event for contact with Ruhlman.

"I think I went through the pit lane five times today," laughed Graf, who sits second in points, just 13 markers back. "We got into it with a GTA car and that flattened a tire, so we had to came into the pits. Then, I got into the back of Randy and had to go through the pits again. At the end I had a really great car. Rocketsports Racing really worked hard this weekend. We ended up third, which is OK for where I started. We're in the thick of the points with three races coming up, which is good."

Moneca Kolvyn (No. 08 West Coast Hot Rods Chevrolet Monte Carlo) finished first in the GT-1 Class and earned her first Class victory. Kolvyn continues to lead the GT-1 standings.

"This has been a little bit of a tortoise and the hare story this year," said Kolvyn. "I really wanted this win. This was an absolutely wonderful event. I feel great."

Rudy Revak earned his second GTA victory this season in the No. 99 Symmetry Nutritional Ford Taurus. Revak is currently second in GTA points to Tim Barber (No. 97 Riverside Motorsports Park Pontiac Grand Prix).

"We had a great day," said Revak. "We had a lot of trouble with brakes all weekend. My crew worked until the very last minute to get the brakes right. Dave Brown and Steve Kelso were right there all race and we had a great battle. This is just terrific. Being from San Jose, we had a lot of support here. We had a lot of family and friends cheering us on, which makes this even more special."

The inaugural race ran in one hour, 15 minutes and 42.420 seconds at an average speed of 65.412 miles per hour. The race was slowed four times by the caution flag for 19 laps. The race will air on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. on SPEED.

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Klaus Graf , Randy Ruhlman , Greg Pickett , Tim Barber , Moneca Kolvyn , Steve Kelso , Hima Maher