On This Day in Trans Am History: May 26, 2003
May 26, 2020
May 26, 2003
Johnny Miller made history for Jaguar and took the points lead in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli with a victory in the Mohegan Sun Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
Miller was driving the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, winning a race shortened to 75 minutes due to inclement weather.
The race was the 68th – and final – for two-time winner Paul Newman, driving his own No. 78 (his age) Corvette to a fifth-place finish.
Miller won the pole with a lap of 51.315-seconds around the tight circuit. He also turned the fastest race lap, only 1:08.468-seconds due to the conditions. Scott Pruett qualified second to make it an all-Jaguar front row.
Stu Hayner started third but passed Miller in Turn 1 following the green flag and led the opening 12 laps in the No. 2 Trenton Forging/GMAC Corvette. Miller then took over and led the remaining 47 circuits, taking the checkered flag 1.506-seconds ahead of Bobby Sak in the No. 10 Revolution Motorsports Corvette. Jorge Diaz rounded out the podium in the No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR, followed by Hayner, Newman and Tomy Drissi in the No. 5 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Jaguar XKR.
“We had a great weekend,” Miller recalled. “The car and team was great. I felt comfortable at Lime Rock, and I really enjoyed the event. I won the pole in the dry, and then it was a wet-to-dry race, and it worked out really well for us. It was really, really wet at the start, and I had trouble with the defoggers. I went back a little the first few laps, and then after a few laps I came back towards the front and did really well. I remember Hayner went off in Turn 1, and that put us back in front. I remember everyone was going on and off, it was really wet early in the race.
“I also remember it being Paul Newman’s last race, and he finished fifth.”
The event marked Jaguar’s first pole and first victory at Lime Rock. The pole also paid off for Miller. At the season finale in Puerto Rico, each pole winner was given a key to a new Jaguar. Miller’s key fit, and he won the use of the car for one year.
Photo Caption: Johnny Miller in 2003 Trans Am action / photo by Mark Windecker