GENTILOZZI FINDS A WAY TO WIN AT THE JOHNSON CONTROLS 100 BFGOODRICH TIRES TRANS-AM SERIES SEASON-OPENER LONG BEACH, Calif. â€“ Paul Gentilozzi, of Lansing Mich., had fortune in his corner in the 33-lap, 60.192-mile BFGoodrich Tires ...
GENTILOZZI FINDS A WAY TO WIN AT THE JOHNSON CONTROLS 100 BFGOODRICH TIRES TRANS-AM SERIES SEASON-OPENER
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Paul Gentilozzi, of Lansing Mich., had fortune in his corner in the 33-lap, 60.192-mile BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series season-opener at Long Beach to score his third career Trans-Am victory on the streets of Long Beach in the Johnson Controls 100, the first leg of the Johnson Controls Triple Challenge. Johnny Miller, in the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Camaro finished second, 2.707-seconds behind Gentilozzi. "The car was a lot better today than it was in qualifying," said Gentilozzi. "We were able to run at maximum speed, but John also ran a great race. Sometimes traffic depends upon the breaks that you can get. I was able to gain an advantage in some places, but John would get it right back. It exciting out there." From the start of the 1:00:26.199 contest the race looked to be a survival of the fittest on the 13-turn, 1.824-mile circuit. As the field took the green flag, pole-sitter Chris Neville (No. 84 ARCO Ford Mustang Cobra) spun going into turn one, collecting several cars including the No. 85 Trenton Forging/Westward Ho Casio Chevrolet Camaro of Stu Hayner. "I didn't feel comfortable on the start, and I didn't turn into the corner right away," said Miller IV. "That turned out to be the best decision I made all day, because everyone was piled up there in the first turn. After three laps the car really hooked up. Paul was tough, but we'll get him next time." Brian Simo (No. 2 Valvoline Mustang Cobra) led the field on the on the restart, but was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for jumping the green flag, dropping him out of contention for the race win. Gentilozzi took full advantage of the opportunity, however, inheriting a lead he would never relinquish. Michael Lewis (No. 12 AmeriSuites Mustang Cobra) was also able to avoid the on-track trouble to finish third, his career-best Long Beach finish. With the win, Gentilozzi becomes the only driver in Trans-Am history to win the Long Beach race three times, and in three different marques. Gentilozzi won his first Long Beach Trans-Am in 1988 driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass, as well as back-to-back wins in 1998 and 1998, first in a Chevrolet Corvette, and this year in a Ford Mustang Cobra. Gentilozzi is now the only Trans-Am driver who has a chance to win the Johnson Controls Triple Challenge, and its $50,000 bonus. The Johnson Controls Triple Challenge is an award presented to a Trans-Am driver who records wins at all three legs of the Johnson Controls Triple Challenge: Long Beach, Detroit (Aug. 8), and Grand Rapids (Aug. 29). "Well, you don't get the big money unless you win all three," said Gentilozzi, "but a company like Johnson Controls brings recognition and credibility to the award and to the series. I am going to do my best to win it." Randy Ruhlman, in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Mustang Cobra, finished fourth, followed by Max Lagod, in the No. 83 Hypermax Engineering Camaro.
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Results from Sunday's 33-lap, 60.192-mile Johnson Controls 100 BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out.
1. (3), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Ford Mustang Cobra, 33. 2. (5), John W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 33. 3. (4), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 33. 4. (6), Randy Ruhlman, Greenboro, N.C., Ford Mustang Cobra, 33. 5. (7), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 33. 6. (8), Leighton Reese, Minnetonka, Minn., Pontiac Grand Prix, 33. 7. (13), Peter Shea, Irvine, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 33. 8. (15), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 33. 9. (19), Simon Gregg, Jacksonville, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 33. 10. (16), Bob Ruman, Munroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 33. 11. (18), Steve Pelke, Lansing, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 33. 12. (17), Bruce Barkelew, Columbia, Mo., Ford Mustang Cobra, 32. 13. (22), C. David Seuss, Charlestown, Mass., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 32. 14. (20), Tom Coleman, Asheville, N.C., Chevrolet Camaro, 32. 15. (26), Claudio Burtin, Cartersville, Ga., Ford Mustang Cobra, 32. 16. (21), Frank Cioppettini, Far Hills, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 30. 17. (24), James Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 26. 18. (9), Lou Gigliotti, Garland, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 25, n.a.. 19. (23), Mike Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 20, n.a.. 20. (11), G.J. Mennen, Austin, Texas, Ford Mustang Cobra, 18, Gear Box. 21. (12), Craig T. Nelson, Spokane, Wash., Chevrolet Corvette, 9, Crash. 22. (14), Brad Smith, Riverside, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 9, Crash. 23. (2), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 9, Crash. 24. (1), Chris Neville, Scottsdale, Ariz., Ford Mustang Cobra, 1, Crash. 25. (10), Stu Hayner, Yorba Linda, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 1, Crash.
Time of race: 1 hour, 26.199 seconds. Average speed: 59.757 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 2.7069 seconds Fastest race lap: Paul Gentilozzi, 1:15.352 (87.143 mph) Lap leaders: laps 1-5, No. 2 Simo; laps 6-33, No. 1 Gentilozzi
Source: SCCA/SCCA Pro Racing/USRRC