TORONTO, Ontario, (July 9, 2004) -- Four-time Trans-Am Series Champion, Tommy Kendall, captured the pole for the Trans-Am in T.O. during the Molson Indy Toronto. This is Kendall's 42nd Trans-Am career pole. Kendall turned a lap of 1:11.713 (89.101...
TORONTO, Ontario, (July 9, 2004) -- Four-time Trans-Am Series Champion, Tommy Kendall, captured the pole for the Trans-Am in T.O. during the Molson Indy Toronto. This is Kendall's 42nd Trans-Am career pole. Kendall turned a lap of 1:11.713 (89.101 mph/141.785 km/h) around the temporary street course in the No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Friday's pole marks the fourth for the Jaguar AJ-V8 4-valve engine in just six races. The last time Kendall raced in Toronto he sat on the pole and went on to victory by just .204 seconds over Scott Pruett. Rocketsports owner, Paul Gentilozzi, driving the No. 3 jaguar XKR will start third after recording a lap time of 1:12.560 (87.073 mph/140.130 km/h). The third member of the Rocketsports trio, Tomy Drissi, extended his top-6 qualifying streak to five. Drissi, driving the No. 5 Dodgeball -- The Movie Jaguar XKR set the sixth fastest time of 1:12.967 (86.731 mph/139.539 km/h). Ron Fellows returned to the series and starts second after a lap time of 1:11.867 (87.912 mph/141.481 km/h).
Kendall and Ron Fellows continued to show their rivalry in qualifying. Both are looking forward to racing each other again. "Every story needs a villain," said Kendall. "I think bumping the home town guy off the pole at the last second make me the villain. But I have broad enough shoulders to handle it."
The No. 11 Jaguar crew thrashed to get the 4-valve fuel-injected Jaguar out for qualifying after having a problem with the throttle linkage in morning practice. Kendall continued to praise his crew for their performance. He also praised the Rocketsports engine department for giving him the power of the Jaguar production based engine. "The car is always fast," remarked Kendall. "I figured a good 2-vavle would be quicker over one lap, but I was wrong. Coming into qualifying I felt better about our chances for the race, not the pole and with the power of the tom cat, we won that too."
Kendall's teammate, Paul Gentilozzi, improves his Toronto starting position from eighth set in 1994 to third. The three-time series champion is optimistic of his chances of winning Saturday's race. "I don't like being third. I'd rather be last, it's more interesting," said Gentilozzi. "We have a few more adjustment to make on the car and we'll be good for the race. Remember, this is a 15 year old show car chassis. The guys are still repairing the car that was damaged in Cleveland."
For Drissi, 2004 marks his first visit to the Toronto street course. The Hollywood native turned his first laps at speed during Friday mornings practice. "The car is close, a little pushy but the guys will get that fixed," said Drissi. "I never got the chance to get a fast lap in. Every time I went for it I had traffic hold me up. Qualifying isn't everything, the race is what's important and we'll have the Dodgeball -- The Movie Jaguar ready."
Molson INDY - Toronto Race Facts:
Length: 75 minutes
Start Time: 3:00 pm Eastern