San Jose: Round six preview

RUHLMAN PREPARES TO DEFEND POINTS LEAD AS TRANS-AM SERIES HITS THE STREETS OF SAN JOSE FOR THE CYTOMAX SPORT DRINK 100 SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 26, 2005) -- One of the tightest points battles in Trans-Am history will be up for grabs as the V-8...

RUHLMAN PREPARES TO DEFEND POINTS LEAD AS TRANS-AM SERIES HITS THE STREETS OF SAN JOSE FOR THE CYTOMAX SPORT DRINK 100

SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 26, 2005) -- One of the tightest points battles in Trans-Am history will be up for grabs as the V-8 racing engines of the Trans-Am Series are ready to rumble through the streets of San Jose. The Cytomax Sport Drink 100, part of the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose weekend, Round 6 of the nine-race Trans-Am Series title chase, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 29-30 at the 1.6-mile, 11-turn temporary street course.

The race is being sponsored by Cytomax Sport Drink. Cytomax, a brand of ChampBev, Inc., is also sponsoring Round 7 at Denver and also backed this year's season opener at Long Beach. The Benicia, Calif.-based company is owned by 1978 Trans-Am Drivers' Champion Greg Pickett, who is scheduled to compete here in the No. 6 Cytomax/Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR.

With just 24 points separating the top five in the championship standings and Jaguar and Chevrolet tied in points for the manufacturers' title, the entire season could easily be decided here.

This season has been one of the most competitive on record. Four drivers have won the five races, and each race had historic implications.

Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) started the season with his first Trans-Am victory, at Long Beach, and has added one more victory--from the back of the grid at Cleveland--as well as a podium finish to his 2005 statistics. Ruhlman has led the points since Long Beach and holds a 16-point lead in the standings.

Yet, the possible spoiler here has no championship aspirations. That driver is Carlsbad, Calif. resident Boris Said, who will make his first Trans-Am start since the Long Beach season opener in April, driving the No. 33 ACS Express Racing Ford Mustang. Said, who has been running a part-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Schedule this year with Team Centrix, won the 2002 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship and has competed in selected Trans-Am events every year since. Though he is effectively out of the points battle, his Trans-Am statistics--13 wins, 38 top fives, 52 top tens and seven poles in 66 starts--prove he will definitely be a force here.

Rookie driver Klaus Graf has showcased this year the experience he gained from competing in Germany's Porsche Michelin Supercup Series and the ALMS. Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR), who sits second in points, became the first German national to win a Trans-Am race since Rally World Champion Walter Rohrl in 1988 with his victory in Round 2 at Portland. Dubbed "the wheelman" by his fellow competitors, Graf drove from last on the grid at Edmonton to finish third.

Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette) has also come on strong in 2005, his third year of Trans-Am competition. Scarallo joined a new team this year led by former Trans-Am driver and short-track legend Tony Ave. That move has paid big dividends as Scarallo has finished on the podium twice this year, and finished fifth last weekend at Edmonton after leading the first 11 laps of the event. Scarallo sits third in points, just 19 markers out of first place.

Though Tomy Drissi had a slow start to the season, his runner-up finish at Edmonton last weekend has energized the Hollywood, Calif. native. Drissi, No. 5 Four Brothers -- The Movie Jaguar XKR, led 32 of the 51 laps, set the fastest race lap in the Edmonton race and is currently fourth in the championship, 21 points away from Ruhlman.

The veterans, though, have been the stars of this year's schedule.

Greg Pickett, a nearly 30-year veteran of Trans-Am competition, made history with his victory at Edmonton. With the win, Pickett, who made his first Trans-Am start in 1975, is the first driver in Trans-Am history to win a race in each of four decades of competition. Though the Alamo, Calif. resident missed the Cleveland round due to a prior business engagement, Pickett now sits fifth in the standings, 24 points away from Ruhlman.

Paul Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR), who made his first Trans-Am start in 1987, also further secured his name in Trans-Am history in Round 4 at Toronto, breaking a record many thought would never fall. With his 31st victory, the four-time Trans-Am champion moved out of a tie for first with the legendary Mark Donohue on the all-time Trans-Am win list. Gentilozzi is also a master of street course competition, with 18 street or temporary course victories, a Trans-Am record.

Other drivers in the field to watch include: Huntington Beach, Calif.'s Mike Davis (No. 10 ACS Express Ford Mustang), who will team with Said here, as well as rookie Hima Maher (No. 78 Centennial Motorsports of Calgary), who is Ruhlman's Derhaag Motorsports teammate.

The GT-1 Driver Development Program will continue its battle for its own championship as Moneca Kolvyn (No. 06 West Coast Hot Rods Chevrolet Monte Carlo) leads Paul Fix (No. 77 Stop Flex/Jongloed Wheels/Drive Magazine Ford Mustang) by 21 points. Tom Sherrill will make his Trans-Am debut here in the GT-1 Class, driving the No. 80 A&A Auto Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The GT-1 Driver Development Program features Trans-Am-specification cars, but is reserved for up-and-coming teams from SCCA Club Racing's GT-1 division. The GT-1 Class winner is honored at each race this season, and features its own championship.

The GT America Class will also be well represented here, as Hollywood stuntman Steve Kelso returns to Trans-Am, looking for his second GTA victory this season, while San Francisco's Tim Barber is still savoring his GTA win at Edmonton and his 32-point lead in the GTA championship. Rudy Revak, from San Jose, is also seeking a second victory after winning at Portland They will be joined by fellow Californians: Rahul Pinto (San Jose), Dave Brown (San Jose), Dr. Art Muncheryan (San Francisco), Guy Dreier (Indian Wells), Dale Hartman (Santa Rosa), John Condren (Atwater), Stephen Schmalz (San Carlos), Brad Jones (Redwood City), John Klusendorf (Morgan Hills), Steve Toth (Dublin), Gary Blos (Redwood City), James Rogers (Saratoga), Tim Spurgeon (Danville), and Rob Rodriguez (Danville). Gary Hagstrom from Portland Ore. and Alberta's Roy Isley round out the GTA field here.

The GTA Class features V8-powered, tube-framed sedans. Eligible makes and models include Pontiac Grand Prix, Dodge Intrepid, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Ford Thunderbird and Taurus and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The Class will be recognized with its own championship, as well as recognition in each race this season.

The Cytomax Sport Drink 100, Round 6 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the inaugural Taylor Woodrow San Jose Grand Prix weekend, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 29-30, 2005. Saturday's race will air Sunday, Aug. 7 on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. EDT.

Cytomax Sport Drink is the world's most scientifically advanced complex carbohydrate, electrolyte performance sport drink. It ensures proper hydration, steady energy and reduced fatigue during exercise for both the professional and casual athlete. Previously available only in a powder format at specialized retail locations, Cytomax Ready to Drink formula was launched nationwide in May, 2005 and can now be purchased at numerous retail outlets including 7-Eleven, Albertson's, and King Soopers.

The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 40th continuous year of competition in 2005.

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Klaus Graf , Paul Fix , Tony Ave , Tomy Drissi , Paul Gentilozzi , Randy Ruhlman , Walter Rohrl , Greg Pickett , Brad Jones , Tim Barber , Tim Spurgeon , Mike Davis , Moneca Kolvyn , Dale Hartman , Steve Kelso , Hima Maher , Roy Isley , Rahul Pinto , Guy Dreier , Mark Donohue