SCCA Pro Fax Volume 5, Number 8 October 6, 1998
The NTB Trans-Am Wraps Up Record-breaking Season: With the completion of last weekend's finale at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, the 1998 NTB Trans-Am Series has an impressive statistical summary, including:
* The NTB Trans-Am Series averaged 32 starters per race, up 23 percent over last season's average of 26 starters, and up 33.3 percent over the 1996 average of 24 starters.
* With 17 drivers having contested all 13 events, the NTB Trans-Am set an all-time record for number of drivers to contest the entire season, two higher than the all-time mark set in 1995 (15), and eight more than last year's total of nine.
* There were 27 lead changes in 1998 (two per race average), up 58.8 percent over the 1997 season total of 17 lead changes (1.3 average).
* Attendance for the season topped the one million mark (1,084,740), up more than 17 percent over the season total attendance in 1997 (924,417).
* Seven record narrowest margins of victory were set in 1998, three more than last year's season total of four.
* Four drivers scored first-time wins in 1998 (Lou Gigliotti, Bill Saunders, Stu Hayner and Brian Simo), tying the modern-era (1983-present) mark first set in 1983 (Gene Felton, David Hobbs, John Paul Jr., and Willy T. Ribbs) and equalled in 1986 (Pete Halsmer, Chris Kneifel, Klaus Ludwig, and Scott Pruett) and 1989 (Ron Fellows, Irv Hoerr, Max Jones, and Dorsey Schroeder).
Last year only one driver -- Mike Borkowski -- achieved a breakthrough win; in 1996 there was also just one first-time winner (Jamie Galles), and during the 1995 season two races were won by first-time winners (Price Cobb and Boris Said).
* This season had five sub-one second margins of victory, one short of the all-time season record of six (1993). Three other seasons have had five races with sub-one second margins (1990, 1994 and 1995).
* Seventy-six drivers competed in the 1998 NTB Trans-Am, with 61 drivers scoring points. In 1997 there were 72 drivers who competed in the 13-race season, and there were also 72 drivers who competed in the 14-race 1996 season. In 1995, 55 drivers competed in the eleven-race season and 63 drivers competed in the 13-race 1994 season.
* There were 11 different drivers who scored podium finishes in 1998, including 10 multiple podium finishers: Paul Gentilozzi (seven wins and a third-place finish); Brian Simo (two wins, three seconds, and a third-place finish); Bill Saunders (two wins, three runner-up finishes); Stuart Hayner (one win, one runner-up finish, and a third-place finish); John W. Miller IV (one runner-up and two third-place finishes); Michael Lewis (one runner-up, two third-place finishes); Bruce Qvale (two runner-up finishes, one third), Chris Neville (three third-place finishes); and Leighton Reese and Ross Thompson (each took one runner-up finish and one third-place finish). Lou Gigliotti was the only driver to make it to the podium just once (one win).
* The 11 podium finishers was the highest number of different drivers to score top-three finishes since 12 drivers posted podium finishes in 1992. In 1997, nine drivers finished in the top-three; in 1996 there were 10 drivers who had podium finishes; in 1996, 1995 and 1993 there were 10 drivers who posted top-three finishes, and eight different drivers were podium finishers in 1994.