Reese pre-race Long Beach report

Johnson Controls 100 presented by Simple Green at Long Beach, California Round Two, Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup Long Beach, Ca.; Oakville Ontario driver Kenny Wilden will be driving the Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette for ...

Johnson Controls 100 presented by Simple Green at Long Beach, California
Round Two, Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup

Long Beach, Ca.; Oakville Ontario driver Kenny Wilden will be driving the Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette for injured owner/driver Leighton Reese for round two of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. Sunday's Johnson Controls 100 presented by Simple Green will be the curtain closing event on the street circuit here at Long Beach Calif.

The Leighton Reese and his team are looking for Canadian Wilden to get in a second straight podium finish in the Banner Engineering Corvette. The team had a strong run in the season opener at Sebring Florida and feel that they can be a factor in this race as well.

Wilden does have significant experience on the Long Beach street circuit, which runs in the shadows of the Queen Mary, but not in a car with fenders. He has lapped this track many times, with success, in the open wheeled Formula Atlantic cars. Kenny has also had success in Trans-Am cars being the first winner of the Simple Green Clean Sweep Award when he won the race at Laguna Seca after starting from the pole, setting the fastest race lap and leading the most laps. He picked up the largest payday in Trans-Am Series history with the victory.

Reese and his team did a lot of experimentation during Friday's practice session and expect to make several more changes before qualifying on Saturday. "We tried six or seven different setups," Reese commented. "And, we got better as the session went on."

While Reese and Wilden was satisfied with the car, there is plenty of room for improvement. "We has too much wheel spin," Reese said. "And the cool temperatures surprised us. It feels more like Mosport than California. It's probably warmer in Minnesota right now!"

Last years race at Long Beach ended with several major collisions and controversy. Kenny Wilden is hoping to avoid those problems and finish strong. Street circuits with their concrete barriers and limited passing areas are known for car to car contact and if the first race of this season is an indicator, contention for position will be more hotly contested this year. With the addition of several new teams and drivers there are twice as many good cars capable of finishing on the podium in this years race.

The competitiveness of the Trans-Am Series is best illustrated by the fact that the last six races have produced five different winners. And, with the 2000 Series champion Brian Simo and 1998 and 99 series champion Paul Gentilozzi being winless during that period will creat some serious competition for all 54 laps around the tight Long Beach track.

-Leighton Reese Racin

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Brian Simo , Leighton Reese