Contact: Greg Rubenstein, SCCA Pro Racing (303) 694-7223 firstname.lastname@example.org
FELLOWS TAKES TRANS-AM FINALE ON STREETS OF RENO; KENDALL DRIVERS' CHAMPION
RENO, Nev. (September 22, 1996) -- Driving the #3 Sunoco/AER Manufacturing Chevrolet Camaro, Ron Fellows scored the 1996 Trans-Am Championship season finale win on the streets of Reno, recording his fourth win of the year at the Reno Grand Prix at the Reno Hilton, Presented by IGT Megabucks.
Fellows' teammate Jamie Galles, in the #2 ICI/Glidden Camaro, finished second and Tom Gloy, making his first Trans-Am start since 1991, finished third in the #4 Gloy Racing Ford Mustang Cobra.
"Horsepower means nothing when the track is slippery," said Fellows. "We (AER Racing) have a real handle street set-ups--I owe this win to all of my crew for the outstanding work they've put in here and all year."
Finishing fourth was Tom Kendall, who earned his third Trans-Am Drivers' Championship crown to become the second driver to win three Trans-Am Drives' titles, tying Mark Donohue.
Kendall spent most of the race in 11th after being stopped on course on lap 26, trapped behind the cars of Gloy and Greg Pickett, who came together in turn seven. Kendall came on strong in the race's final laps, charging from eighth to fourth in the final seven laps.
"I don't know if it's because this is my most recent championship that makes it the sweetest or having had to overcome the adversity of the first couple of races this year," said Kendall. "I would have liked to partake in the great action of this race, but I was looking for the championship."
Finishing second in the championship was Dorsey Schroeder, who saw his title hopes fade as he suffered an engine failure while trailing leader Fellows on lap 68 of the 75-lap, 95.25-mile race. Schroeder, driving the #12 Raybestos Ford Mustang Cobra, ended his day in 16th, good enough to earn 12 points for the weekend and win a $7,500 bonus for the Harrah's Road to Reno Triple Crown.
Boris Said, driving the #14 Lion's Pride Mustang Cobra, qualified fifth to start first and then led the first 16 laps before being spun by Brian Simo, in the #22 Valvoline Mustang Cobra. Simo then led the next 12 laps before being penalized, putting him behind Said in sixth while the field was under the third of five full-course cautions, none of which resulted in serious injury.
Simo's penalty put Schroeder in first, a lead he held until Fellows made it by on lap 36. Schroeder remained nose-to-tail in second behind Fellows for the next 31 laps until he coasted to a stop between turns six and seven on the 1.27-mile, 11-turn circuit.
Finishing a career-best fifth was Dino Crescentini, in the #93 Autospecialty Camaro. Crescentini was later disqualified in post-race technical inspection and as a result fifth went to Leighton Reese, in the #06 Phillips 66 Pontiac Grand Prix, who earned both the Raybestos Rising Star of the Race Award and the DynoMax Turn On The Power Award for his effort. R.J. Valentine, in the #7 Pennzoil Camaro, finished 11th from his 26th-place start to earn the OPTIMA Batteries Quick Charger Award for improving 14 positions.
Fellows, of Toronto, Ontario, Can., finished the season with 284 points to secure third-place in the Drivers' Championship, followed by Galles, 274; Scott Sharp, 263; Boris Said, 245; Brian Simo, 243; Greg Pickett, 240; Bill Saunders, 230; and Jon Gooding, 213.
In the Trans-Am Manufacturers' Championship, Ford finishes the season with 108, five points ahead of Chevrolet.
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