Virginia (VIR): Paul Gentilozzi preview

Gentilozzi looks to end Trans-Am season with a trip to victory lane. Alton, VA - Three-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi intends to close out the 2002 Trans-Am season the same way he began it - with a trip to Victory Lane when the Trans-Am...

Gentilozzi looks to end Trans-Am season with a trip to victory lane.

Alton, VA - Three-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi intends to close out the 2002 Trans-Am season the same way he began it - with a trip to Victory Lane when the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup makes its first visit since 1966 to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) during the VIR Speed-Fest weekend October 25-27. Gentilozzi, driver of the No.3 Johnson Controls Jaguar XKR, won the season-opener Johnson Controls 100 during Long Beach Grand Prix weekend in April.

In addition to his Long Beach victory, Gentilozzi has collected three second place podium finishes and eight top-five outings in 11 starts. Gentilozzi also drove his Jaguar XKR to Victory Lane in the prestigious Rolex 24 of Daytona - GTS class earlier this season.

Gentilozzi, who has 24 Trans-Am wins to his credit, is currently third in the points standings, just two points behind Butch Leitzinger. Boris Said clinched the Drivers' Championship with his recent Road Atlanta win.

"I've always said it's a lot tougher to defend a championship than it is to win one, and it hasn't been any different this season," said Gentilozzi, who ranks first in all-time Trans-Am top-three (59), top-five (94), and top- ten (124) finishes, "Fast Five" qualifying starts (112), race starts (184), fastest race laps (34), and lead lap finishes (122). "Once you're on top, everything else is losing.

"The first act may be finished, but the curtain hasn't come down yet," quipped Gentilozzi. "There's still a lot more racing left with a lot at stake. There's a fierce battle for second, third, and fourth place in the final points standings. The VIR fans will be treated to a great show in the process."

Most drivers have never driven the VIR circuit before. "It's a great equalizer.for everyone except Justin Bell who has probably run thousands of laps here," laughed Gentilozzi, referring to the fact that Bell runs a driving school at VIR. "It looks to be a very challenging track which makes it a great place for the season finale.

"This track will require it all - big motor, good aero, and great handling - to have a good run here," continued Gentilozzi. "All that, plus good driver concentration, given the length and configuration of the circuit. It's about more than just hooking up the car."

The VIR Trans-Am race will air live on SPEED Channel on October 27th at 1:00 PM Eastern.

-rsr-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Justin Bell , Paul Gentilozzi