AUSTIN, Texas – Boris Said collected his second consecutive Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli pole position on Saturday, leading qualifying for Sunday’s race at Circuit of The Americas.
Said ran a fast lap of 2:08.747 seconds in the No. 2 Dodge Challenger prepared by Pancho Weaver. In his only prior 2020 start, Said captured the pole and finished second in the opening round of the VIR doubleheader. He has 12 career poles in the series.
“Pancho Weaver builds an unbelievable car,” said the 2002 TA champion. “It’s just a blast driving these Trans-Am cars. They’re so much fun with all the horsepower, without the ABS and other nonsense that the other cars run. These are old-school cars with a lot of horsepower – regular gated shifting like a NASCAR and 180 mph on the back straight. Circuit of The Americas is a Formula One-grade circuit and it’s an unbelievable place to race. I pitted a lap early today. I had a little bit left, but I decided to save the tires.”
Defending series champion Ernie Francis Jr. was second, .195-seconds back with a lap of 2:08.082-seconds in the No. 98 ZF Custom Concepts Ford Mustang, with his session cut five minutes short when he pulled off course due to a cut right-rear tire.
Chris Dyson will start from the inside of the second row, 2:08.161-seconds in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang, joined by Tomi Drissi, 2:11.995-seconds in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro. Drissi was not happy with the car’s handling, feeling like the bodywork was flapping throughout his run.
Amy Ruman was fifth, with a best time of 2:11.995-seconds in the No. 23 McNichols Corvette, followed by Greg Pickett, who earned the Trans-Am West Coast Championship pole with a lap of 1:084-seconds in the No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang. Pickett is the lone driver entered in both the National and West series this weekend. It was the 28th pole of a career that dates back to 1975.
TA2 presented by AEM championship leader Mike Skeen captured his fourth pole position of the season, the fifth of his career, running a lap of 2:12.926-seconds in the No. 77 Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Ford Mustang.
“There is a lot of strategy in qualifying,” said Skeen. “Obviously, we have to use our tires for the whole distance. There is a little bit of tire degradation with these cars if we’re abusing them for the whole time. You try to get it done in as few laps as possible in qualifying. Rafa (Matos) had a problem. He has had a lot of pace all weekend, but he pulled off after his out lap. I know he will have a lot of pace in the race. This puts us in a good spot to get a good start. Hopefully, we can keep in clean and get through Turn 1, and then go out and collect some points. But we’re always out there to win races. We want to collect as many trophies as we can. But at the same time, we’ve got to be careful and keep the car clean to get to the finish and get some points.”
Cameron Lawrence was second (2:13.586-seconds) in the No. 8 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang. He was followed by Matos, who pitted after his out lap for an adjustment in the pits. Matos returned in the closing minutes and turned the third fastest-lap, 2:14.238-seconds, despite facing throttle issues in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Camaro.
Champ Car legend Paul Tracy turned in the fourth-best lap, 2:14.589-seconds in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Mustang. He will be making his third Trans-Am start, having raced twice with the series in 2018.
Texas native C.J. Cramm will start on pole for the TA2 West Coast Championship in the No. 04 CedarCreekBrewery/EurekaEnergy Chevrolet Camaro.
Making his XGT debut, Dan Knox won the pole with a lap of 2:09.224-seconds in the No. 80 Lone Star Racing ACS Manufacturing Mercedes AMG GT3. He was followed by Jason Daskalos, 2:09.426-seconds in the No. 7 Vintage 423 Audi R8 Ultra, and Justin Oakes, 2:10.951-seconds in the No. 11 G-Speed Corvette. Point leader Ken Thwaits, a three-time pole winner in 2020, will line up fourth in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi Ro GT3 Ultra.
Coming off his first victory in SGT, Adrian Wlostowski led qualifying for the first time, capturing the pole with a lap of 2:17.249-seconds in the No. 96 F.A.S.T Auto Racing Ford Mustang.
Texan Lou Gigliotti ran 2:18.778-seconds on his final lap in the No. 28 G2 Performance Corvette, followed by Aaron Pierce, 2:20.247-seconds in the No. 26 Logical Systems/Sam Piece Chevy Corvette. Class point leader Lee Saunders had a part failure and will start seventh.
Natalie Decker scored her first career SGT West pole of the season, 2:25.857-seconds in the No. 04 N29 Technologies Audi R8 GT4.
In GT, Billy Griffin captured his first pole on his final lap, running 2:22.069-seconds in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang. Austin’s Sean Young was second and earned the Trans-Am West pole, running 2:23.052-seconds in the No. 74 Corsair Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Tim Horrell, a five-time GT pole winner this season, was third in the No. 45 Breathless Racing Porsche GT4 Clubsport.