Sonoma, Calif. (July 20, 2001) -- Brian Simo ( ...
Sonoma, Calif. (July 20, 2001) -- Brian Simo (#88 Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta) picked up his first pole of the 2001 Trans-Am season at the Wine Country 100 qualifying this afternoon at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Simo lead the field with a time of 1:35.727 (94.770 mph) on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. Simo will be looking for his first win this season in tomorrow's race. The race is the sixth of the 11-race season.
"We had a good run today and we were fortunate," said Simo. "It was nice that Michael Lewis (#12 AmeriSuites Jaguar XKR) gave us some room and allowed me to get my fastest lap. You really wouldn't see that happen in any other race series. That shows real consideration."
Lewis posted the second fastest lap of the qualifying session at 1:36.057 (94.444 mph). "It felt real good to be up near the front. We had some good laps and the track was nice and clear," he said.
Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/Homelink Jaguar XKR), the current Trans-Am Series points leader, qualified third. With four consecutive poles and three consecutive race wins coming into today, Gentilozzi said, "We knew the pole streak would finally come to an end and we knew that both Brian (Simo) and Boris (Said) would be really fast here since they've spent so much time at this track." Gentilozzi posted a time of 1:36.194 (94.309 mph).
Boris Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) qualified fourth today, the highest qualifying position so far this season for the Panoz Esperante racecar. "We didn't have much of a practice earlier today so we picked up a lot of time this afternoon," he said. "I've raced here before but the track conditions are different for every series. The Panoz is a brand new car and we're experiencing the normal problems. But, we keep getting better and better." Said's qualifying time was 1:36.212 (94.292 mph).
Rounding out the Fast Five was Gentilozzi's teammate Johnny Miller in the #64 Automationdirect/Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR with a time of 1:36.448 (94.061 mph). Miller currently ranks second in the Trans-Am points standings. "We've never raced here before and we're in the Fast Five. I consider that a pretty good day," he said. "We'll tweak things a little bit more during this last practice session. We've actually got a pretty good racecar especially for the end of the race, but I'd just like to get a little more speed out of it."
The Wine Country 100 will begin at 11:30 a.m. PDT/2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 21. The race, part of the XFactor Grand Prix of Sonoma, will be broadcast live by CBS Sport