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Leitzinger Wins Trans-Am Event at Washington Grand Prix - 2002-07-20

The main supporting event for the Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, DC, the Capital Trans-Am, was the featured race Saturday on the track at RFK Stadium.

For those unfamiliar with the Trans-Am series, the name comes from Trans-America and goes back to the 1960s. It began with American "muscle cars," such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

These days, Trans-Am cars are rather like the stock cars of the NASCAR circuit. They begin as production automobiles, but are "stock" in name only. The rules call for tube-frame chassis, V-8 engines and rear-wheel drive. The exterior appearance must resemble the production car on which it's based.

With that as background, Butch Leitzinger drove to victory in a Chevrolet Corvette, after being pressed hard by the series defending champion Paul Gentilozzi in his Jaguar XKR.

Leitzinger, starting from the pole position, led nearly all the way, except when he made a refueling stop. On a tight course lined with concrete walls, he made no costly mistakes.

Gentilozzi started from the sixth position, worked his way to second and closed in on Leitzinger. With five laps remaining, Gentilozzi tried a bold move to pass, nearly lost control and dropped back just enough from the leader to settle for second place at the checkered flag.

Thought he's a veteran road racer, this is Butch Leitzinger's first season in Trans-Am competition. Washington marks his second win in the series.