On This Day in Trans Am History: July 16, 2005
July 16, 2020
July 16, 2005
Fast reflexes saved the day for Greg Pickett in the 2005 West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton, a Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli event on the Finning International Speedway temporary layout.
Pickett led only the final two laps in the No. 6 Cytomax Sport Drink Jaguar XKR, but was first to recover when fluid in turn 6 on the concrete track sent all four of the front runners spinning with less than two of the 51 laps remaining.
With the victory, Pickett became the first driver to win in each of four decades of Trans Am racing.
“As soon as I went off, I clutched it and put it in first gear,” Pickett said of the incident. “I let the clutch out and I just kept it running. I didn't want the back tires to get bogged down. I looped around and I came out on the race track. Then, two turns later, I slapped the fence. So, everybody had trouble. It was a tough break for Tomy today.”
Tomy Drissi dominated the race, leading 33 laps, but was caught off guard by the slick track in the Rocketsports No 5 Supercross—The Movie Jaguar XKR. He recovered to finish second, 1.925-seconds back.
“We all spun around there,” Drissi said following the race on the 13-turn, 2.224-mile circuit. “It was a tough race and I learned a lot.”
Rounding out the podium was Rocketsports’ rookie teammate Klaus Graf in the No. 7 Jaguar.
The highest non-Jaguar finisher was Randy Ruhlman in the No. 49 PLP Corvette. Already a winner of two 2005 events and points leader entering the event, Ruhlman took fourth in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products/Derhaag Motorsports Corvette. He lost a podium when he spun in the oil during the late-race melee.
The race had four different leaders. Hima Maher started from the pole with the inverted grid in Jim Derhaag’s No. 78 Centennial Motorsports of Alberta, Canada Corvette. Joey Scarallo jumped to the lead at the green flag and led the opening 11 laps in Tony Ave’s No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend Corvette. Graf ran him down and led lap 12, but tangled with Scarallo, who regained the lead and paced the next five circuits. Drissi then took over on lap 18 and spent the next 32 laps holding off Pickett.
Four-time champion Paul Gentilozzi elected to change to sticker tires and started the race from the back of the grid behind Graf. The pair worked their way through traffic, when Gentilozzi hit a tire barrier while challenging for the lead, damaging the No. 1 Jaguar. He recovered to finish sixth.
Graf went on to win four events – including the final three of nine races, to beat Ruhlman for the championship by 20 points. Pickett finished third, another seven points in arrears.