Trois-Rivieres: Race preview

Said looking for continued success as series returns to Canada for le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. CLEARWATER, Fla. (July 30, 2002) -- As the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup heads north to begin the second half of its 2002 season,...

Said looking for continued success as series returns to Canada for le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (July 30, 2002) -- As the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup heads north to begin the second half of its 2002 season, Boris Said is looking to keep his championship rivals well south of his points lead.

The series travels to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec this weekend for Round 7, Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, live, SPEED Channel), with Said looking to continue the dominance he has displayed throughout the first six rounds of the championship. Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) has won three of the first six races -- at Mosport, Lime Rock and Cleveland -- and has finished on the podium in the other three events to build a series-leading total of 178 points.

In his most recent start, Said finished third in the inaugural Capital Trans-Am 100, July 20 at Washington, D.C. It is a measure of how well Said's season is going that he called it "a bad day" afterward.

"I probably made a mistake on [deciding which] tires [to use]," he said. "Then, I lost my power steering about 10 laps into the race and I was hanging on the whole time.

"For us to have a bad day and still come in third, we've got to be happy with that."

Said's championship lead is 25 points over three-time and defending Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi, who stands second with 153 points. Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/Microchip/ Matrix One/ Futaba Jaguar XKR), who is attempting to join Tom Kendall as the only driver in Trans-Am Series history to win four championships, has finished fifth or better in his past four Trans-Am Series starts. Included are podium performances of second at Mid-Ohio and Washington, D.C.

Were it not for two season-opening finishes outside the top 10, rookie Butch Leitzinger would be an even bigger factor in the championship than his current third-place position. Currently two points behind Gentilozzi with 151, Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama/Tom Gloy Chevrolet Corvette) owns four consecutive podium finishes, including victories at Mid-Ohio and Washington, D.C., to lift him from 12th place after two rounds to his current top-three standing.

Johnny Miller (#64 Automation Direct/Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR) stands a comfortable fourth in the championship, having finished sixth or better in each of his first six starts of the season. His season-best result is second at Mosport, and he also owns a podium finish of third in the season opener at Long Beach.

The fifth- through eighth-place drivers in the championship are separated by only six points. Tony Ave (#53 Trilithic Panoz Esperante) leads the group with 114 points, but he is followed closely by Stuart Hayner (#02 Trenton Forging/Tom Bell Chevrolet Corvette), with 113; Randy Ruhlman (#49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette), with 109 and Michael Lewis (#12 AmeriSuites Jaguar XKR) with 108. Hayner has put together three consecutive top-five performances for the Don Sak-owned Revolution Motorsports team, highlighted by third at Cleveland, to join Said and Leitzinger as the hottest drivers in Trans-Am Series.

Sunday's 66-lap (100.366-mile) test will mark the Trans-Am's first appearance at Trois-Rivieres since 1999. Gentilozzi has won each of the past two events contested on the 1.52-mile street circuit from the pole, in 1998 and '99. He is the only driver in the field with a previous Trans-Am victory at the venue.

For the first time since Round 3 at Lime Rock, Trans-Am cars will appear on track for three days at Trois-Rivieres.

Friday's activity includes two 30-minute practice sessions, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. ET and 4:10 to 4:40 p.m. ET Saturday begins with another half-hour practice, from 8:20 to 8:50 a.m. ET, with qualifying to follow at 1:10 p.m. ET. Green flag for Sunday's seventh round of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. ET.

Following Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, the Trans-Am Series travels to Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine for Round 8 on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Tony Ave , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Don Sak , Stuart Hayner , Tom Kendall , Tom Gloy