ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 16, 2000) — In the first six races of the 2000 BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series, Brian Simo took his Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta to three wins, two other podiums, and a commanding points lead. When the second half of the season kicks off at Road America, part of the Motorola 220 CART weekend on August 18-19, Simo hopes a similar performance will lead the Mangusta and himself to their first Trans-Am championships. "When you have this many people pulling for you, and working as hard as the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports group does, it's a great feeling," says Simo.
In addition, the Huffaker/Qvale team will be fielding a second Qvale Mangusta at Elkhart Lake, the third time they have done that this season. As at Detroit and Cleveland, the second car will be driven by Huffaker/Qvale president, Bruce Qvale. Qvale, runner-up in the 1998 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year standings, ran a strong race at the last event in Cleveland, and very nearly put two Mangustas in the top five by the end.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel again," said Qvale. "Even though the demands of launching the Qvale Mangusta street car have kept me busy in Italy most of this year, I was really encouraged by my race at Cleveland. Hopefully, we'll do even a little better here."
"We're looking to keep Brian and the Tommy Bahama Mangusta at the front, and extend our championship lead," said Joe Huffaker, vice president and technical director of Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports. "But we also expect that Bruce will do well here. It was a rough return to the series for him at Detroit, but he did a great job at Cleveland. Now, at another wide-open track, I think he'll have a great run."
The association between the Qvale and Huffaker families is also a long and distinguished one, dating back to the 1950s. That association began when Bruce's father, Kjell Qvale, who had also been instrumental in establishing the West Coast Sports Car Club of America, joined forces with the father of Joe Huffaker. In 1960, the elder Huffaker and Qvale established the BMC Competition Department, which designed and developed competition engines and racecars like the Huffaker Genie. BMC Competition's success was highlighted by entries in the Indianapolis 500 in 1963-1965, with the MG Liquid Suspension Offenhauser Special. The pinnacle of the team's achievements was the qualifying of three cars for the famed Memorial Day race in 1964, with drivers Bob Veith, Walt Hansgen, and Pedro Rodriguez.
The scheduled 25-lap, 101.2-mile sprint around the 4.048-mile, 14-Turn Road America circuit is scheduled to start at 3:15 pm (CDT) on Saturday, August 19. Television coverage will be tape-delayed, on the Speedvision Network, with the telecast set to begin at 9:00 pm (EDT) on Saturday, August 26. The encore telecast will begin at 12:00 pm (EDT) on Friday, September first.