Trois-Rivieres: Series pre-race notes

Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres Trans-Am 100. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. Friday-Sunday, Aug. 2-4 TRANS-AM SERIES FOR THE BFGOODRICH TIRES CUP SCHEDULE (All times EDT) FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 Trans-Am Series practice, 10:30-11 a.m. Trans-Am...

Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres Trans-Am 100.
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada.
Friday-Sunday, Aug. 2-4

TRANS-AM SERIES FOR THE BFGOODRICH TIRES CUP SCHEDULE (All times EDT)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2
Trans-Am Series practice, 10:30-11 a.m.
Trans-Am Series practice, 4:10-4:40 p.m.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3
Trans-Am Series practice, 8:20-8:50 a.m.
Trans-Am Series qualifying, 1:10-1:55 p.m.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 4
Trans-Am 100, 2:40 p.m.

BROADCAST:
SPEED Channel, Sunday, August 4, 2:30 p.m. ET (live).

NOTEWORTHY

* Rookie Butch Leitzinger's victory in the Capital Trans-Am 100 at Washington, D.C. on July 20 brought him his second $51,000 payday in the past three Trans-Am events. Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama/Tom Gloy Chevrolet Corvette) collected $22,000 as the winner's share of the race purse; a $20,000 contingency bonus from Chevrolet; a $5,000 bonus for new-style bodywork and $2,500 for winning from the pole position. In addition, Leitzinger earned $1,000 in product from BFGoodrich for winning the "Take Control" Award, given to the driver who leads the most laps at each Trans-Am event, and an additional $500 as part of a BFGoodrich contingency award. Leitzinger earned the exact same $51,000 payday while claiming his first career Trans-Am Series victory at Mid-Ohio in late June.

* Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship leader Boris Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) has set a blistering pace thus far in 2002, recording podium finishes in each of his first six starts, including a series-high three victories at Mosport, Lime Rock and Cleveland. Said also owns a runner-up finish at Long Beach and third-place efforts at Mid-Ohio and Washington, D.C. His streak of six podiums to start the season is the longest since four-time Trans-Am Series champion Tom Kendall won the first 11 races of the 1997 campaign. Defending Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/ Microchip/MatrixOne/Futaba Jaguar XKR) put together a run of seven consecutive mid-season podium performances on the way to last year's title.

* Butch Leitzinger will be seeking his fourth consecutive pole position when qualifying for Sunday's Trans-Am 100 begins at 1:10 p.m. ET Saturday. Leitzinger has earned a series-high four poles, at Mosport, and consecutively at Mid-Ohio, Cleveland and Washington, D.C. He also qualified third at Long Beach and second at Lime Rock, being edged for the pole on a last-minute run by Stu Hayner (#02 Trenton Forging/Tom Bell Chevrolet Corvette). Leitzinger's average qualifying position of 1.5 is by far the best in the Trans-Am Series, and he comes to Trois-Rivieres with string of four consecutive podium finishes, consisting of victories at Mid-Ohio and Washington, D.C., a runner-up result at Cleveland and a third-place performance at Lime Rock.

* Johnny Miller (#64 Automation Direct/Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR) will be looking for his 19th consecutive top-10 finish at Trois-Rivieres this weekend, extending a streak that began with his first career Trans-Am Series victory in the 2000 season finale at San Diego. Miller finished 10th or better in all 11 events of the 2001 season, and became the only Trans-Am Series driver to complete all 486 laps of competition during the campaign. Miller has finished sixth or better in each of his six 2002 starts, highlighted by podium results of second at Mosport and third at Long Beach. Miller's current run of 18 top-10 finishes is the longest active streak in the Trans-Am Series.

* When Randy Ruhlman (#49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) takes the green flag Sunday at Trois-Rivieres, he will move into a tie for sixth place on the Trans-Am Series career starts list, with 121. Ruhlman, who made his Trans- Am Series debut in 1990, will join R.J. Valentine in sixth place, just one start behind fifth-place Les Lindley (122), and two behind fourth-place Don Sak (123), who remains active. Paul Gentilozzi is the career starts leader in the Trans-Am Series. He is due to make his 180th this weekend.

* For the second consecutive Trans-Am Series race, BFGoodrich® Tires engineers will have their work cut out for them. Since the July 20th Washington, D.C. race was the first appearance of the Trans-Am Series at that track, BFGoodrich® Tires engineers did not have any data to analyze beforehand and thus had to gather as much information as possible on site. Since the Trans-Am Series has not run at Trois-Rivieres in three years, the engineers will have to search their data bases to find the necessary tire information needed for Trans-Am teams. But in three years, the nuances of the Trois-Rivieres track may have changed, resulting in this information being outdated and not useful. For example, the race distance has changed since 1999. This year's event will be 66 laps (100.366 miles). The 1999 Trans-Am race was only 55 laps, totaling 83 miles.

* In the past, the Trois-Rivieres surface was somewhat rough and coarse, which adds to the wear rate of tires. Therefore, lead engineer Gary Blalock will walk the entire circuit on Thursday gathering information and specifics of the track. The difference in pavements will be examined, particularly the concrete patches. Blalock will inspect the concrete patches to determine whether they are predominately polished or rough. Polished concrete tends not to hold rubber while rough concrete increases tire wear. Based on the information Blalock compiles and the ambient temperature forecast, he will make his technical recommendation to the Trans-Am teams.

* The 1.52-mile, 10-turn Trois-Rivieres track is tight and bumpy with lots of hard braking and uneven surfaces. Teams will rely on their BFGoodrich Tires to provide lots of grip at turn-in, especially under braking, and again as they put the power down exiting the corners. The Trois-Rivieres street course has two long straightaways, which are naturally the fastest part of the circuit and will be pivotal in setting a quick lap. In order to take advantage of the straights, drivers must launch their cars off the corners, literally standing on the gas the instant they've made the turn. The result is the transfer of 650 horsepower, through a 2,800-pound car to a tire's contact patch of no more than 13 inches in width on each corner of the car. And the tire has to live through that launch multiple times per lap for 66 laps. Unlike road-course racing, it is hard to maintain momentum on a street course. Getting around Trois-Rivieres is a series of hard-on-the-brakes, hard-on-the-gas movements. When a driver gets on the brakes for one of the circuit's 10 corners, it works the front tires, building up heat and pressure. At virtually the same time, to get through the corner, the driver steps on the gas, transferring the pressure and heat to the back tires. From a tire's perspective, it is the equivalent of a total body workout. And the circuit is extremely hard on brakes; maximum brake cooling is necessary at Trois-Rivieres. To increase grip on the slippery street course, lead BFGoodrich engineer Gary Blalock is recommending a slight decrease in rear tire pressure to help drivers put the power down. Blalock will recommend a hot operating pressure of 24 psi on the rear tires and 26 psi on the front tires. Lower pressure increases the contact patch of the rear tires and, as a result, increases the car's mechanical grip allowing for a more efficient launch off the corners.

* BFGoodrich® Tires sponsors the BFGoodrich® Tires "Take Control" Award, given to the driver who leads the most laps in each Trans-Am race. In the event of a tie, the driver with the highest finishing position will receive the award. For hisefforts, the driver will receive a free set of BFGoodrich* g-Force T/A* radials. BFGoodrich® Tires has also established a contingency award for the top 10 finishers in each Trans-Am event of the season. The top five finishers will receive two tires and the finishers from sixth through tenth will receive one tire.

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Don Sak , Tom Kendall , Tom Gloy , R.J. Valentine , Stu Hayner