DENVER (Aug. 14, 2004) — Legends were re-written Saturday in Denver as Paul Gentilozzi notched his 29th career Trans-Am victory in the Cytomax Sport Drink 100, tying the legendary Mark Donohue’s career Trans-Am win record; a record which had stood since 1971. Gentilozzi led 60 of 61 laps to earn the victory, driving the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR, in his 196th start. The win clinched the manufacturers’ title for Jaguar, its second consecutive and fourth overall.
Johnny Miller finished second in the No. 64 Eaton Chevrolet Corvette in just his second start this season for veteran team Derhaag Motorsports. Tommy Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR) bounced back from an early drive-through penalty to finish third, ahead of Greg Pickett’s No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR. Randy Ruhlman completed the top five in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette.
Though obviously emotional in victory lane for tying the record, Gentilozzi was still reverent to Donohue. With the victory, Gentilozzi extends his lead in the points chase to 11 markers going into the next race, Sept. 10-11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“Mark Donohue was a great race driver,” said Gentilozzi. “He won more races in more different cars than anyone. He won 29 Trans-Am races in 55 starts. This is an amazing record, but it’s almost 30 years later and things have changed in Trans-Am. I have a lot of respect for what Mark accomplished and I’m honored with the record.
“I don’t plan to drive next year and Tommy Kendall will certainly surpass this record,” added Gentilozzi. “So this is really a record for the moment.
“I needed to do what I had to, to ensure Jaguar wins its fourth championship. I plan to have Jaguar’s AJ-V8 engine in my car from the next race at Laguna on,” concluded Gentilozzi, referring to Jaguar’s new production-based, fuel-injected engine which Kendall has spent this season developing. “The next goal is to ensure that the AJ-V8 wins a championship.”
Miller grabbed second on the second lap. He then fought off a charging Kendall, who passed him briefly late in the race, to notch the runner-up finish. Miller is running a part-time schedule this year in hopes of running the entire 2005 tour.
“For me, this is a new deal,” said Miller. “To be back in a Chevrolet is good. I can’t say enough about Jim Derhaag’s crew. We haven’t had a lot of time to put this together. We just jumped in and ran. I had no idea what kind of car I was going to have at the end. I just went as fast as I could go without burning the car down. I wanted to have a car at the end, and I think we had the setup just right.
“I had about 150 excited Eaton employees here watching that battle with Kendall,” said Miller. “I really want to be back full time. Eaton has been really good to me in the past, and I hope we can put something together with them. We’ll see if this turns the corner.”
Kendall was assessed a drive-through penalty for contact with teammate Tomy Drissi (No. 5 TAXI – The Movie Jaguar XKR) on the second lap. He drove from 12th place to earn the final spot on the podium.
“I blew the start, missing a shift,” said Kendall. “He got wide in turn three and I showed my nose without thinking, and we go together. I got into his door and turned him around. It really broke my heart. Tomy is an incredible driver and I felt so bad.
“After I served the penalty, only then was it fun,” explained Kendall.
Paul Fix finished first in the GT-1 Driver Development class with an overall finish of 12th.
“Trans-Am has always been dear to my heart,” said Fix. “We ran a two and a half seasons a couple of years ago. We decided to come back because it is the only Series I love. I’m just glad to be back. WE have some partners that want to come with us. My long-term plan is to run full time next year.”
The caution-free race ran in a record one hour, 14 minutes and 58.631 seconds at 80.866 miles per hour. Kendall set the fastest race lap of 1:12.313 minutes at 82.491 miles per hour.
Highlights from the race will air on Spike TV’s popular “Dangerous Curves” timeslot, Sunday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. (EDT, PDT).
The next race for the Trans-Am Series is scheduled for Sept. 10-11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Sanctioned by SCCA, the Motorock Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America’s oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 39th year of competition in 2004.
Comprehensive results can downloaded in PDF and HTML format at www.trans-amseries.com.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=115