Trois-Rivieres: Notes of interest

Fast Facts: What: The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, Round 7 of the Trans-Am Series for the 2003 BFGoodrich Tires Cup Championship When: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2, 2003 Race Day: Saturday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m. Distance: 66 Laps/100.366...

Fast Facts:

What: The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, Round 7 of the Trans-Am Series for the 2003 BFGoodrich Tires Cup Championship
When: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2, 2003
Race Day: Saturday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m.
Distance: 66 Laps/100.366 Miles or 90 minutes time certain, whichever comes first
Where: The race will be run on the 1.52-mile, nine-turn temporary street course

Tire Talk:

Gary Blalock, tire engineer for spec tire supplier BFGoodrich® Tires, is bringing 540 g-Force T/A® tires to Trois-Rivières in two dry compounds--200 (medium) and 75 (hard)--and a one full wet compound. He's recommending the regular street-course hot tire pressures--26 psi front and 24 psi rear.

Blalock said Trois-Rivières poses some unique challenges due to its racing surface.

"The track surface is old, bumpy and abrasive and therefore it accelerates tire wear," said Blalock. "The track isn't used for racing, but once a year. The surface is quite coarse, comprising large stones and large voids between the stones. There are a lot of right-angle turns. You stop and accelerate away, which also increases tire wear. It's bumpy because of the winter freeze and thaw. There is also lots of concrete in the corners due to patching. "We're recommending to watch the rear tires," added Blalock. "They'll have to either conserve them or step up to the next compound."

Blalock added that higher temperatures may also lead to abnormal tire wear.

"We're ready in case people elect to run the harder compound," said Blalock. "That will depend upon the weather. If the ambient temperature is moderate and we see moderate tire temperatures, the 200s will be fine. I've been there when it's hot, and that's when we would start recommending the harder tires. Max Lagod almost won his first race in 1999 when he ran hard rear tires. He was running down the leaders like nobody's business until the engine failed. So there are situations where running the harder compound is advantageous."

Blalock has been reviewing his notes from last year to aid in him making recommendations for this year's event. This year's event will differ from last year's race as the Trans-Am Series is competing prior to the American Le Mans Series event.

"I'll do a walkaround just like I do at every track on which we compete," said Blalock. "I'll then compare my notes to last year's. We had a cloudy race last year. As the track rubbered in last year, the tire temperatures began to drop, so we didn't have any tire problems.

"We were the last to run last year," added Blalock. "This year, we'll be running before the ALMS, so the track will have significantly less rubber on it. Will that hurt us from a tire-wear perspective? Theoretically, it might. However, we are ready if tire temperatures are higher than normal."

Trois-Rivières Review:

* No driver entered in this year's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières has won the event in the past. The winningest active driver this season here is Paul Gentilozzi. Gentilozzi won two consecutive events here in 1998 and 1999. Gentilozzi, who will be busy overseeing his Champ Car World Series team at Road America this weekend, has handed the controls of his No. 3 Jaguar XKR to French Canadian driver Claude Bourbonnais. Bourbonnais is making his career-first Trans-Am start this weekend.

* The first Trans-Am Series race here was held in 1976. The Series returned to Trois-Rivières in 1979 and continued to hold an event each season through 1985. The Series returned in 1990 and held an event on the historic street circuit every year from 1990 through 1999. The series took a two-year hiatus before returning last year.

* The 19 races here (including two races, 1976 and 1979, with Category I competitors) have produced 16 different race winners. Four-time Series champion Tommy Kendall is the all-time leader in Trois-Rivières Trans-Am Series wins with three (1990, 1994, and 1997). He took the 1990 win in a C & C Chevrolet Beretta and the 1994 and 1997 victories in Roush Ford Mustangs. Scott Sharp, winner from the pole in 1991 and 1993; Ron Fellows, the 1995 and 1996 winner; and Gentilozzi are the other drivers with multiple Trans-Am Series victories here.

* A Jaguar has never won at Trois-Rivières, nor has the marque won a pole at Trois-Rivières.

* Dorsey Schroeder finished second in Trans-Am Series races here three straight years (1994-1996), making him the only driver in Trans-Am history to finish second at the same venue in three consecutive events.

* Chevrolet leads the marques in Trois-Rivières wins with 12, including one Category I win. Chevrolet's Camaro leads the models with seven wins, all overall. Chevrolet's Corvette has three overall victories, scored in 1981 by Eppie Wietzes, in 1998 by Gentilozzi, and in 2002 by Butch Leitzinger. Wietzes also set the fastest race lap in 1981, as did Gentilozzi in 1998 and Leitzinger in 2002. Gene Bothello won Category I in the 1979 event here in a Corvette, finishing fifth overall. Bothello was also Category I fast qualifier, and Paul Canary in a Corvette set the Category I Fast Lap.

* While Chevrolet's Camaro won here in 1980, 1983, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1996, Ford's Mustang had never won at Trois-Rivières prior to Kendall's 1994 win. That victory was Mustang's only Trois-Rivières victory before the 1997 event, also won by Kendall. Gentilozzi gave Mustang its third win here in 1999.

* Ford's only pre-1994 Trois-Rivières wins were achieved by Mercury Capris in 1984 and 1985.

* McCall Racing leads all teams in Trois-Rivières Trans-Am victories with five; the first three (1991-92-93) came consecutively, also a Trois-Rivières Trans-Am Series record. McCall won consecutively in 1995-1996 as well.

* All but one victory margin (John Bauer's 1976 Category I margin of one lap) has been less than one lap. In fact, all but Bauer's victory have been less than one minute. Thirteen of the 21 victory margins have been less than 10 seconds, with nine less than five seconds. Gentilozzi's 0.503-second margin in 1999 is the event record, eclipsing Kendall's 0.765 margin set in 1994.

* 1994's race set the Trois-Rivières Trans-Am Series record for lead-lap finishers, 11, a record tying the record set in 1995. During the 1980-2002 current-format period, during which the Trans-Am Series ran one class of cars, of 16 races has produced an average of 6.76 lead-lap finishers per race.

* Ten overall (52.63%) Trois-Rivières Trans-Am Series victories have come from the pole. The average starting position of the Trois-Rivières Trans-Am race winner is 2.19. Kendall's win from eighth in 1990 and John Paul, Jr.'s win from seventh in 1983 came from the deepest on the grid. Ron Fellows won from third in both 1995 and 1996 and Kendall won from third in 1997 before Gentilozzi won from pole in 1998 and repeated from the pole in 1999. Leitzinger won from second starting position in 2002.

* The 1995, 1996, and 1997 Trois-Rivières Trans-Am Series polesitters finished fifth, third, and sixth. Boris Said, the 2002 polesitter, finished ninth.

* With his 1993 pole, Sharp became the first driver to win three Trois-Rivières poles and three consecutive: 1991, 1992, and 1993. Kendall was the second, taking the 1994, 1995, and 1997 poles. Three drivers have won two poles: John Bauer (1976 Category I, 1981), Willy T. Ribbs (1983 and 1985), and Gentilozzi (1998 and 1999). Schroeder was the fast qualifier in 1996, his first pole at Trois-Rivières. Said took the pole in 2002.

* Ford Mustangs took four consecutive (1994-97) Trois-Rivières Trans-Am poles prior to Gentilozzi's 1998 fast qualifying effort in a Corvette, the first-ever Trois-Rivières "overall" pole for a Corvette. Gentilozzi won the 1999 pole in a Ford Mustang. Chevrolet's Camaro took four consecutive Trois-Rivières poles (1990-1993), all by McCall Racing entries.

* McCall Racing teammates Jack Baldwin (1990) and Sharp (1991, 1992, and 1993) took four consecutive poles to give McCall Racing the Trois-Rivières Trans-Am "team" pole record lead plus the team consecutive pole record here. Roush Racing has four poles here, with Kendall in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and Ribbs in 1985.

* Gloy Racing Ford Mustangs have set the most Trans-Am Series fast laps here. Schroeder set the fastest lap for Gloy in 1994 while Fellows earned the honor in 1997, 1993 and 1992. Boris Said set the fastest lap in 1995 for Gloy. Gloy set four consecutive Trois-Rivières fast race laps (1992-1995) with three different drivers. Kendall ended the streak in 1996 by setting the fast race lap in his Roush Ford Mustang. Ford Mustangs set six consecutive Trans-Am fast race laps here before Gentilozzi broke the streak in his Corvette in 1998. Gentilozzi then set the 1999 fast lap in his Rocketsports Ford Mustang. Leitzinger took the 2002 fast lap for Gloy Racing, in a Chevrolet Corvette. Gentilozzi set the fast lap here in 1999 for Rocketsports while Kendall set the fast lap in 1990 for C & C Racing.

* In 1997, Ron Fellows became the first driver to achieve three Trois-Rivières Trans-Am fast laps, as he was also the 1992 and 1993 fast lapper. Gentilozzi's 1999 fast lap was his third as he joined Fellows in achieving the feat.

* Among the 21 race winners, 13 have gone on to take that season's championship (61.9%) as only Bauer (1976 Category I), Roy Woods (1980), Paul, Jr. (1983), Ribbs (1985), Kendall (1994), Fellows (1995 and 1996), and Leitzinger (2002) have failed to do so.

* The 1999 race set a record for the most cars running at the finish here: 17 of the 21 starters or 80.95%. The previous record was 52% set in 1990.

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Scott Sharp , Ron Fellows , Paul Gentilozzi , Jack Baldwin , Dorsey Schroeder , Max Lagod , Claude Bourbonnais , Tommy Kendall