Scott Pruett championship review

2003 Motorock Trans-Am Tour Champion Scott Pruett begins his march into history. LANSING, Mich. -- When Scott Pruett clinched his third Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup Drivers' Championship last weekend at Miami, he joined...

2003 Motorock Trans-Am Tour Champion Scott Pruett begins his march into history.

LANSING, Mich. -- When Scott Pruett clinched his third Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup Drivers' Championship last weekend at Miami, he joined the late Mark Donohue, Tommy Kendall and team owner Paul Gentilozzi as the only drivers to win three or more Trans-Am titles. That fact is significant in itself, but more significant is how quickly Pruett nailed down his third crown.

In fact, Pruett, driver of the No. 7 Motorock/Jaguar R Performance XKR, was just two starts ahead of Donohue with 57 when he earned the title. Pruett will make his 58th start on Sunday Oct. 26 in the season finale Puerto Rico Grand Prix. To put that in perspective, Gentilozzi holds the record for the most starts on the Tour with 190, ahead of Kendall, who has 83 career starts.

"My approach this season was different," said Pruett, whose third driving title came on the heels of earning Rocketsports Racing this year's Team Owners' Championship, and playing a key role to help Jaguar to clinch its third manufacturers' title. "In the past, the Trans-Am Tour was a stepping stone to something else. Now, I'm here because I want to be. It's a whole different mindset this time. It's been a dream season. It's been a lot of fun. Paul (Gentilozzi), my guys, Jaguar--and now Motorock--they've all been great.

"This whole season has just been fantastic," added Pruett, who returned to the Trans-Am Tour this year after an eight-year break during which he competed in the Champ Car World Series and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "This team really began to jell during (Round 5) at Infineon Raceway. The only thing that failed was the driver. We've had no mechanical failures this year; not one. I messed up at Lime Rock, where I parked it in the mud. I overdrove the car a little bit and finished third at Long Beach. It's been a terrific year, but this is really a team effort. The driver is the focal point, but I would never get to the checkered flag without the hard work and dedication of all of the Rocketsports team, Jaguar guys, and all of the blood sweat and tears they put into this effort."

Some other significant statistics in Pruett's Trans-Am career: n Pruett has 22 career Trans-Am victories in 57 starts. That equates to a winning percentage of 39%. To put that into perspective, Gentilozzi's win percentage is 13%, Kendall's is 31%, while Donohue's is 53%.

Pruett's career win record eclipsed that of fellow Jaguar pilot Bob Tullius for fourth on the all-time Trans-Am win list. Interestingly, Tullius earned Jaguar its first manufacturers' title in 1978, the year he also won the Drivers' Championship in a Jaguar XJS.

Pruett also has a remarkable percentage of podium finishes with 39 in his career, showing that the veteran racer has finished in the top three an impressive 68% of the time. Gentilozzi, who holds the Trans-Am podium-finish record with 59, has a 31% podium percentage, while Kendall has a 64% podium record and Donohue has a top-three finish percentage of 78%.

Pruett has also had an impressive run in qualifying. This year, Pruett's eight poles ties him with Gentilozzi for third on the all-time list with 28. Pruett therefore has been on the pole 49% of the time in his Trans-Am career.

Pruett's pole record this year makes him the odds-on favorite to win a one-year lease on a Jaguar XKR, the British carmaker's premiere grand touring car. Pruett, through the Jaguar R Award--given to the driver who earns the most points toward Jaguar winning the manufacturers' title--already won a one-year lease on an XK8, and will attempt to win the annual Jaguar Pole Award at Puerto Rico. The Jaguar Pole Award is a performance-based initiative that rewards drivers who win the pole at each of the Trans-Am Tour's 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. Pruett won the pole seven times this year (and also started on the pole at Denver after the field was set by practice times), and therefore has received seven keys. Johnny Miller, who won two poles this year, will have two chances. If a driver wins both the Jaguar R Award and the Pole Award, that driver will receive a one-year lease on the XKR. Interestingly, Tomy Drissi, who only received one key during the 2001 season, ended up with the winning key and the XK8.

Pruett also took over third in the all-time fast-race-lap record book this year with 22 in his career, behind Kendall and Gentilozzi. In fact, Pruett set the fast lap in every race this year except Lime Rock Park.

Pruett has also led the most laps in every race this year, except Lime Rock, earning the BFGoodrich Tires Take Control Award nine times. For his efforts, Pruett received 36 free tires from the Trans-Am Tour's spec tire manufacturer. Additionally, through BFGoodrich Tires' contingency program, Pruett won an additional 18 tires. BFGoodrich Tires rewards those drivers finishing first through fifth in each race with two tires, and sixth through tenth, receive one tire each.

Pruett is the only driver who has won the Flowmaster American Thunder Challenge Award this year, with the exception of Lime Rock Park winner Johnny Miller. For his efforts, Pruett cashed checks from the renowned exhaust system manufacturer for $18,000. The Flowmaster American Thunder Challenge Award rewards the driver who wins the pole, leads the most laps, sets the fastest race lap and wins the race with $2,000. If the award isn't won at a particular race, the $2,000 rolls over to the next event. Flowmaster is also the Official Exhaust of the Trans-Am Tour.

The Puerto Rico Grand Prix, the 11th and final round of the 2003 Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship, is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Isla Grande Airport Circuit in San Juan. That race will air LIVE on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. Tickets for that race are on sale now at Ticketpop at www.ticketpop.com or by calling 787-294-0001.

The Trans-Am Tour 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 Tour is America's oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 38th anniversary in 2003.

Motorock is the creation of a popular culture brand that blends the enthusiast markets of cars, stars and guitars. It is a yearly series of destination live events that showcases the excitement of motorsports, music and lifestyle while delivering a unique new form of broadcast entertainment programming.

-rms-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Tomy Drissi , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Bob Tullius , Mark Donohue , Tommy Kendall