SIMO SCORES TRANS-AM WIN AT LIME ROCK PARK
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 31, 1999) - Brian Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., scored his second-straight BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series win with a 1.349-second margin over Chris Neville at the Lime Rock Park Dodge Dealers Grand Prix. Simo, driving the No. 2 Valvoline Ford Mustang Cobra, started the 66-lap, 100.98-mile race from the pole and led all but five laps en route to his fourth career Trans-Am win and second in as many weeks. "It feels great to win two-in-a-row," said Simo. "The RaceWerX team has really got our Valvoline Mustang hooked up and we're having a lot of fun out there." Finishing third behind Neville's No. 84 The Coffee Critic Mustang Cobra was Michael Lewis, in the No. 12 AmeriSuites Mustang Cobra, followed by Johnny Miller IV, in the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Camaro and Randy Ruhlman, in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Mustang Cobra. From eight laps into the 1:00:58.777 race, lapped traffic was the largest factor in the all-green race as the 28-car field circulated the tight 1.53-mile, seven turn circuit. The race's early going belonged to Simo, and by lap 10 he had a lead of nearly two seconds over second-place qualifier Lewis, with Paul Gentilozzi in third, Leighton Reese in fourth and Neville in fifth. "I thought I had a good chance to make a run on Brian (Simo), considering the car was very good at the end," said Lewis. "I had a couple of chances to get by Brian earlier in the race, but it wasn't worth the risk at the time. I wanted to make a charge in the last 10 laps, but I ran into every conceivable traffic problem which made it very difficult to make up any ground." As the race progressed, Gentilozzi's No. 1 Johnson Controls/HomeLink Mustang Cobra began to suffer from a leaking left-rear axle hub seal, forcing the defending Drivers' Champion into the pits for repairs on lap 35. One lap later Neville made his move for third, passing Reese's No. 66 Phillips 66/Banner Engineering Pontiac Grand Prix and setting his sites on second-place Lewis. Neville again chose turn one as he passed Lewis for second on lap 39, and 14 laps later he dove inside Simo for the lead as the pair began lap 53 after Simo was held up in traffic. "We had a rough weekend and started the race with a new setup on the car," said Neville. "The Coffee Critic Mustang was great today, but I knew Brian was faster than I was. I was able to get a good run on him to get by, and was lucky in a couple of other traffic situations, but when we broke into the open he was able to chase me down." Simo, however, was not to be denied as he made a bold pass to retake the lead between turns six and seven on lap 58. "There was a lot of passing going on in this race, which really kept you on your toes," added Simo. "I wasn't nervous when Chris (Neville) went by. He made a clean pass, and I didn't want to put either of us in jeopardy. As the laps ticked down, I knew I wanted to be in the lead so I wouldn't have to deal with the traffic. Chris bobbled a little coming out of three and gave me the chance to get a nose in and get by a couple of turns later." Once back in the lead, Simo was there to stay, earning his fourth win in five races (including the final two events of 1998) and capturing the Drivers' Championship points lead with 73, followed by Lewis, 71, Miller, 69, Ruhlman, 64, and Gentilozzi, 63.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - Results from Monday's 66-lap, 100.98-mile BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out. 1. (1), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 66. 2. (3), Chris Neville, Scottsdale, Ariz., Ford Mustang Cobra, 66. 3. (2), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 66. 4. (8), Johnny W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 66. 5. (6), Randy Ruhlman, Greensboro, N.C., Ford Mustang Cobra, 66. 6. (13), Dorsey Schroeder, Osage Beach, Mo., Ford Mustang Cobra, 65. 7. (9), G.J. Mennen, Austin, Texas, Ford Mustang Cobra, 65. 8. (10), Don Meluzio, York, Pa., Chevrolet Camaro, 65. 9. (11), Lou Gigliotti, Garland, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 65. 10. (12), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 64. 11. (16), Simon Gregg, Jacksonville, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 64. 12. (19), Steve Pelke, Lansing, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 64. 13. (18), Tom Coleman, Asheville, N.C., Chevrolet Camaro, 63. 14. (26), Henry Gaudens, Tampa, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 60. 15. (22), C. David Seuss, Charlestown, Mass., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 60. 16. (23), Frank Cioppettini, Far Hills, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 59. 17. (17), Bob Ruman, Munroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 56. 18. (25), Frank Sanchez, Felton, Del., Chevrolet Camaro, 54, Mech. 19. (27), Ted Sullivan, Hampton, Conn., Chevrolet Camaro, 54. 20. (20), James Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 53, Mech. 21. (14), Don Sak, West Bloomfield, Mich., Ford Mustang Cobra, 53, Mech. 22. (21), Kenny Bupp, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 51. 23. (4), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Ford Mustang Cobra, 45, Mech.. 24. (24), Jerry Simmons, Ancaster Ontario, Chevrolet Camero, 42. 25. (5), Leighton Reese, Minnetonka, Minn., Pontiac Grand Prix, 39, Mech. 26. (15), Paul Alderman, Newark, Del., Mustang Cobra Cobra, 23, Mech. 27. (7), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 18, Mech. 28. (28), Bob McGrew, Cornelius, N.C., Chevrolet Camaro, 5, Mech.
Time of race: 1 hours, 58.777 seconds. Average speed: 99.357 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 1.3490 seconds Fastest race lap: Brian Simo, 0:53.722 (102.527 mph) Lap leaders: laps 1-52, No. 2 Simo; laps 53-57, No. 84 Neville; laps 58-66, No. 2 Simo
BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series
1999 Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championship Point Standings - After Three of 13 Races
Drivers' Championship Point Standings Pos., driver, car, points 1, Brian Simo, Ford Mustang Cobra, 73 2, Michael Lewis, Ford Mustang Cobra, 71 3, Johnny W. Miller IV, Chevrolet Camaro, 69 4, Randy Ruhlman, Ford Mustang Cobra, 64 5, Paul Gentilozzi, Ford Mustang Cobra, 63 6, Chris Neville, Ford Mustang Cobra, 57 7, Dorsey Schroeder, Ford Mustang Cobra, 48 8, Simon Gregg, Chevrolet Camaro, 48 9, Steve Pelke, Chevrolet Camaro, 44 10, Max Lagod, Chevrolet Camaro, 43 11, Tom Coleman, Chevrolet Camaro, 39 12, Tomy Drissi, Ford Mustang Cobra, 38 13, Leighton Reese, Pontiac Grand Prix, 35 14, Bob Ruman, Chevrolet Camaro, 34 15, Frank Cioppettini, Chevrolet Camaro, 30 16, Lou Gigliotti, Chevrolet Corvette, 27 17, James Briody, Chevrolet Camaro, 27 18, G.J. Mennen, Ford Mustang Cobra, 26 19, C. David Seuss, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 24 20, Peter Shea, Ford Mustang Cobra, 19 21, Don Meluzio, Chevrolet Camaro, 18 22, Craig Shafer, Chevrolet Chevrolet, 17 23, Bruce Barkelew, Ford Mustang Cobra, 14 24, Don Sak, Oldsmobile Cutlass/Ford Mustang Cobra, 25, Henry Gaudens, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 26, Glenn Andrew, Pontiac Grand Prix, 11 27, Claudio Burtin, Ford Mustang Cobra, 11 28, Jerry Simmons, Chevrolet Camero, 8 29, Frank Sanchez, Chevrolet Camaro, 8 30, Mike Davis, Ford Mustang Cobra, 7 31, Ted Sullivan, Chevrolet Camaro, 7 32, Rael, Chevrolet Camaro, 7 33, Stu Hayner, Chevrolet Camaro, 6 34, Craig T. Nelson, Chevrolet Corvette, 5 35, Kenny Bupp, Chevrolet Camaro, 4 36, Brad Smith, Ford Mustang Cobra, 4 37, Charles Webster, Chevrolet Camaro, 3 38, Paul Alderman, Mustang Cobra, 0 39, Bob McGrew, Chevrolet Camaro, 0 40, Tim Skiba, Chevrolet Camaro, 0
Manufacturers' Championship Point Standings Pos., Manufacturer, Points 1, Ford, 27 2, Chevrolet, 14 3, Pontiac, 2 4, Oldsmobile, 0