THE NTB TRANS-AM SERIES CHARGES UP FOR PIKES PEAK RETURN

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (Sept. 15, 1998) -- The mighty V8 thunder of the NTB Trans-Am Series -- North America's longest-running road racing series -- returns to Pikes Peak International Raceway for the Children's Hospital Grand Prix of Colorado, Sept. 27.

The 73-lap, 97.82-mile NTB Trans-Am Series race will feature television coverage on two television networks, with Speedvision broadcasting the race live beginning at 3:00 p.m. (EDT). Fox Sports Net's tape-delayed coverage will air Sunday, October 11 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).

The NTB Trans-Am Series features the hottest road racing action on the planet. Competitors and spectators alike are flocking to the venues across the country to witness the pulse-pounding action of the finest in performance car racing in record numbers.

The NTB Trans-Am has already surpassed the 1997 season attendance mark (924,417) with two 1998 events remaining, and resurgent driver entry numbers have also returned the NTB Trans-Am fields to near-record numbers. Through 11 races, the 33 entrant-per-event average is the highest since 1994. The 43-car field at Watkins Glen last month was the second largest in series history, bettered only by the 54-car mark established at Road America in 1983.With 30 drivers scheduled to race at PPIR, there is sure to be another heart-stopping, fender-to-fender shoot-out.

Paul Gentilozzi looks to clinch his first NTB Trans-Am Series Drivers Championship this weekend at PPIR with a ninth place or better finish. Gentilozzi, in the No. 3 AutoLink Chevrolet Corvette, currently holds a 51-point lead over teammate Bill Saunders, 294 to 243, on the strength of seven wins, eight poles, and nine fastest race laps.

The Rookie of the Year race is also coming down to the wire with Chris Neville, in the No. 40 ARCO Chevrolet Camaro, holding a 50-point lead over Ross Thompson and Bruce Qvale (238 to 188). Neville, who has 10 top-10 finishes in 11 starts including three podium efforts, can clinch top rookie honors with an eighth place or better finish at PPIR.

"We are not going to take any unnecessary risks, but our goal is always to be on the podium," said Neville. "We've shown that the ARCO Camaro can run with the leaders. With the banking on the oval and an abrasive racing surface, this is going to be a tire management race -- I want to let the race play out in the first half, and hopefully have a strong car at the end."