CLEARWATER, Fla. (August 27, 2001) -- The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup has announced that the penalty assessed against defending series champion Brian Simo in Saturday's 100-mile race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was an error.
The situation started when Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., was reported to have jumped the original race start from his 10th starting position. Simo, driving the Tom Gloy Racing #88 Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta, was brought in for a stop-and-go penalty, which dropped him to the back of the 31-car field.
It was after the penalty had been assessed that the Trans-Am Series officials determined that another yellow car with a similar number had, in fact, illegally improved its position at the start.
"It's a case of mistaken identity and a very unfortunate situation for Brian Simo, Tom Gloy Racing and the Trans-Am Series," said Dick Templeton, Chief Steward. "It was our mistake."
Simo worked his way back into the top-10 with several laps to go, but wound up finishing 12th when his Mangusta suffered damage from side to side contact while racing for position.
"The culture within the Panoz\Sanchez Group, which oversees the series, is one that respects all facets of motor sports and its fans," said PSG President Dennis Huth. "Our goal has been to always strive for perfection. On those occasions where we make a mistake, we will admit it and immediately initiate procedures to assure that the process will minimize the possibility of human error in the future."
"While the mistake has devastating results for our chances to take Brian Simo and our sponsor, Tommy Bahama, to another championship, we remain confident that the Trans-Am series will make the necessary improvements to insure no competitor will suffer a similar fate in the future," said team owner Tom Gloy. "We accept the apology and look forward to trying to win the upcoming event at Laguna Seca."
The next race for Trans-Am will be at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 9, 2001. Round 10 of the 2001 Trans-Am Series/ BFGoodrich Tires Cup will be on the 2.238-mile permanent road course in the hills of Salinas, near Monterey, Calif. The race will air on the Speedvision Television Network.