BFGoodrichÂ® Tires at a slance - Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrichÂ® Tires Cup Round 9: Shell Grand Prix of Denver, Sept 1, 2002. A DECADE TO DENVER: When the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrichÂ® Tires Cup takes to the 1.65 mile temporary...
BFGoodrich® Tires at a slance - Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup
Round 9: Shell Grand Prix of Denver, Sept 1, 2002.
A DECADE TO DENVER: When the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup takes to the 1.65 mile temporary street circuit surrounding the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado this weekend, it will be for the first time in 11 years. The Trans-Am Series last raced in Denver in 1991 with Irv Hoerr taking the checkered flag.
"This weekend will be a learning experience for everyone, and with only four races left in the season, teams better learn fast or be left behind," said Herb Johnson, director of motorsports for BFGoodrich® Tires. "This will be the first time that Trans-Am cars take to the streets of Denver with BFGoodrich® g-Force T/A® radials. We know the tires will perform well as they always do, but set-ups and compound use will be a deciding factor in any victory and our engineers will work closely with each team to give the best advice."
The temporary Denver street circuit comprises nine turns and features dozens of prime viewing spots for fans. "Because it's a new circuit we don't have the benefit of data collected over one, two or ten years of racing at the venue. This makes it hard to predict tire wear and grip levels," says Gary Blalock, tire engineer for BFGoodrich® Tires. "When I arrive at a new circuit, I'll typically walk the entire circuit prior to the event and get a feel for it. I did this in Washington DC, I'll do it this weekend and I'll do it in Miami in a few weeks."
Blalock will look at the micro and macro texture of the surface, noting the concrete locations (if any) and general course layout. "Bumps in braking and acceleration zones are noteworthy, as these tend to upset the race vehicles, resulting in the risk of flat-spotting when the cars decelerate into the corners or generating excessive wheel spin upon exit of the corner," Blalock said.
Blalock also will look for other aspects of the track that can cause excessive wear on the BFGoodrich® g-Force T/A® radials. "I'll look at the radius of the turns and how wide the corner is on entrance and exit as well. The Denver circuit has several 90-degree turns and the back straightaway ends into an approximately 180-degree turn. The turns are important, whether it is increasing or decreasing in radius as this typically determines the speed and what gear will be used on exit. How many slow corners per lap and the surface texture will largely determine what my technical recommendation will be on a new street circuit like Denver. Of course temperature is always a factor, and it's been in the 80s lately, but I will look at the forecast to determine how warm it will be and if there is the risk of rain.
BFGoodrich® Tires Cup Championship Close - With only four races left in the season, every point counts; it only takes one mechanical problem, accident or bad finish to put a driver 10 or more points back. After eight rounds of competition in the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup, Boris Said who has won four races this year leads the series with 231 points followed by defending BFGoodrich® Tires Cup champion Paul Gentilozzi with 201 points. Butch Leitzinger, who has won three races this year is in third place with 189 points and still in reach of the championship. Johnny Miller is in fourth place with 177 points and Randy Ruhlman is in fifth place with 157 points.
Rookie of the Year... Leitzinger. With more than 150 points over the other rookie drivers, a hot streak and only four races left this season, it's safe to say that Butch Leitzinger, hired by Tom Gloy Racing this year to drive the No. 88 Tommy Bahama Corvette has things locked up. Leitzinger might be a Trans-Am rookie after only starting one Trans-Am race prior to the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup, but he's no stranger to racing. Leitzinger, 32, is a former champion in Can-Am (1999), World Sports Car (1997-98) and IMSA GTU (1993) competition. He has had three victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in 1994, '97 and '99, as well as a 1990 victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring and a second place finish in the 2000 NASCAR Busch Grand National event at Watkins Glen. Leitzinger is a three-time member of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America team, in 1993, '97 and '98.
BFGoodrich® Tires "Take Control" Award - After each Trans-Am Race, BFGoodrich® Tires presents the driver who led the most laps during the race with the "Take Control" award; the prize is a set of BFGoodrich® g-Force T/A® radials. Thus far this season, four drivers have taken home tires. Boris Said and Butch Leitzinger have each won the "Take Control" Award three times. Defending BFGoodrich® Tires Cup champion Paul Gentilozzi has won once as has Tony Ave.
BFGoodrich® Tires Contingency Award - BFGoodrich® Tires has established a contingency award for the top 10 finishers in each race this season. The top five finishers will receive two tires and the finishers from sixth through tenth will receive one tire.