Toronto: Qualifying notes

TORONTO, Ontario (July 9, 2004) -- Tommy Kendall proved that he remembered something from his last race at Toronto during Friday's qualifying session for the Trans-Am in T.O. Kendall, who won the last race Trans-Am held at the Molson Indy Toronto,...

TORONTO, Ontario (July 9, 2004) -- Tommy Kendall proved that he remembered something from his last race at Toronto during Friday's qualifying session for the Trans-Am in T.O. Kendall, who won the last race Trans-Am held at the Molson Indy Toronto, earned a record pole for Saturday's race, part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend. Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR) turned the 1.75-mile temporary circuit in one minute, 11.713 seconds (88.101 miles per hour earning his third pole this season.

However, an equally impressive run was turned in by Toronto resident Ron Fellows. Fellows earned outside pole in the No. 40 Molson Indy Chevrolet Corvette in his first start in six years. Fellows, who hadn't even sat in the car prior to this morning's practice session, was just more than a tenth off the pole speed with a 1:11.867-minute lap (87.912 mph). Points leader Paul Gentilozzi was third quickest in the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Jorge Diaz, Jr. (No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR) and Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Canada/COYOTE Closures Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five.

Kendall earned his second consecutive pole this season, driving the only car in the field utilizing Jaguar's new production-based, overhead-cam, fuel-injected AJ-V8 engine.

"I knew after Long Beach that the car would be competitive almost everywhere in the race, but I figured it would be a while before we got a legitimate dry-weather pole," said Kendall. "I feel good about it. If you stroke the tomcat the right way, it really purrs.

"We had a problem with the throttle sticking earlier today," added Kendall. "We got out in the session as soon as we could after fixing the problem."

Fellows credited his Derhaag Motorsports team with the fast time.

"We're still learning," said Fellows. "I am thrilled that we were this close. I want to thank Molson and Derhaag Motorsports. Jim Derhaag has done just a great job. We made some changes after morning practice. This is better than I thought we would be. I really think that Jim Derhaag is underrated. He made the calls on the car, and they were the right ones."

Gentilozzi was still mulling over the possibility of changing tires and starting from the back in tomorrow's race. Two of Gentilozzi's three wins this season came when he started last on the grid.

"I haven't decided what I'm doing yet," said Gentilozzi. "I don't like being third. I like being last. We made a major mistake in qualifying. There was a miscommunication. We started out great, which was surprising. We ran a couple of laps, came in and found out I had 29 pounds of air in the tires and we were supposed to have 25."

The Trans-Am in T.O., part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend, is scheduled for Saturday, July 11. The race will start at 3 p.m., immediately following Champ Car World Series qualifying. The race will be broadcast LIVE on HDNet, with tape-delayed highlights coverage on Spike TV's popular "Dangerous Curves" timeslot, Sunday, July 18 at 1:30 p.m. (EDT, PDT).

The Motorock 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 39th year of competition in 2004.

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Randy Ruhlman , Tommy Kendall , Jorge Diaz