SIMO WINS CAUTION-FREE PIKES PEAK TRANS-AM
FOUNTAIN, Colo. (October 3) - Brian Simo scored his sixth BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series victory of the season with a 1.698-second flag-to-flag win over Paul Gentilozzi at the Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. Johnny Miller IV claimed the final podium position, followed by Michael Lewis and Chris Neville. Simo, driving the No. 2 Valvoline Ford Mustang Cobra, started from the pole and had command of the 23-car field throughout the 74-lap, 99.16-mile contest, although runner-up Gentilozzi, in the No. 1 Johnson Controls/HomeLink Mustang Cobra, made one bid for the lead early in the race. "We needed a picture-perfect weekend and we got it," said Simo, who made a clean sweep of the event after capturing the pole, leading every lap, setting the fastest race lap and posting the win. "This is what we need to do at Sebring as well." As Simo and Gentilozzi worked their way through traffic on lap 23, Simo was momentarily held up entering turn 11 on the 11-turn, 1.34-mile stadium road course. As the duo worked their way around the banking of the oval portion of the circuit, Gentilozzi capitalized on his better exit from turn 11 and ducked under Simo as the pair entered the infield road course at turn five, momentarily making contact with Simo. After straightening his car, Simo was able to maintain the lead and cruised to his eighth career victory, closing the BFGoodrich Tires Cup Drivers' Championship gap to seven points behind leader Gentilozzi, 298 to 305. "The door was open, and I tried to walk through," said Gentilozzi. "It was racing, and he'd have done the same thing to me. When Brian got out of shape, I backed off and let him back in -- it was really no big deal for either of us. With just the Sebring race left, I can't lose the Championship unless I make myself lose. It's a clean slate heading into the finale -- if Brian wins and gets the bonus points (34 total for a race weekend), I have to qualify in the Fast Five and finish second. That's no short order, but it's the way we ought to end the season -- with a great race to determine the Championship." Behind the lead pair, Miller IV, in the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Corvette, advanced from his fifth-place start by passing the No. 12 AmeriSuites Mustang Cobra of Lewis for fourth on lap 19, and gained the third spot two laps later after dispatching Leighton Reese, in the No. 66 Banner Engineering/Phillips 66 Pontiac Grand Prix, in turn one. The race for fourth was a fierce battle between Lewis and Neville, in the No. 88 Tommy Bahama Mustang Cobra. After running nose-to-tail from lap 21, Neville nudged Lewis on lap 70, advancing to fourth after spinning Lewis at turn five. Neville had to answer a black-flag stop-and-go penalty for his contact, however, dropping him back to his fifth-place finish. The 1:07:50.969 caution-free race was the second yellow-flag-free contest of the season (after Lime Rock Park, May 31). Behind Gentilozzi (305) and Simo (298), Neville is third in the BFGoodrich Tires Cup Drivers' Championship with 259 points, followed by Lewis, 256; Miller IV, 254; Randy Ruhlman, 210; Reese, 203; Simon Gregg and Tomy Drissi, 168; and Bob Ruman, 166.
FOUNTAIN, Colo. - Results from Sunday's 74-lap, 99.16-mile BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out.
1. (1), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 74. 2. (3), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Ford Mustang Cobra, 74. 3. (5), John W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Corvette, 74. 4. (2), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 5. (8), Chris Neville, Scottsdale, Ariz., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 6. (4), Leighton Reese, Minnetonka, Minn., Pontiac Grand Prix, 73. 7. (7), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 73. 8. (9), G.J. Mennen, Austin, Texas, Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 9. (10), Randy Ruhlman, Greensboro, N.C., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 10. (14), Bob Ruman, Munroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 73. 11. (13), Peter Shea, Irvine, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 72. 12. (15), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 72. 13. (18), Jerry Kinn, Anchorage, Alaska, Chevrolet Camaro, 71. 14. (17), Tom Coleman, Asheville, N.C., Chevrolet Camaro, 71. 15. (16), Steve Pelke, Lansing, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 70. 16. (19), Kevin Neilson, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Chevrolet Camaro, 67. 17. (11), Don Sak, West Bloomfield, Mich., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 66. 18. (12), Simon Gregg, Jacksonville, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 66. 19. (23), James Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 65. 20. (21), Jeff Simunaci, Omaha, Neb., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 65. 21. (20), Frank Cioppettini, Far Hills, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 64. 22. (6), Lou Gigliotti, Garland, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 60, mech. 23. (22), Wayne Lee Hartzler, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 4, mech.
Time of race: 1 hours, 7 minutes, 50.969 seconds. Average speed: 87.688 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 1.6979 seconds Lap leader: laps 1-74, No. 2 Simo Fastest race lap: Brian Simo, 0:53.628 (89.953 mph), lap 69 Cautions: none
Provisional Drivers' Championship Point Standings (Top-10) Pos., Driver, Points 1. Paul Gentilozzi, 305 2. Brian Simo, 298 3. Chris Neville, 259 4. Michael Lewis, 256 5. Johnny Miller IV, 254 6. Randy Ruhlman, 210 7. Leighton Reese, 203 8. Simon Gregg, Tomy Drissi, 168 10. Bob Ruman, 166.