BRASELTON, Ga. (July 25) – Chris Neville, of Scottsdale, Ariz., scored his first career BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series win at the Automationdirect.com Trans-Am 100, the feature race during the Southern Dash weekend at Road Atlanta. Johnny Miller IV, of Johnson City, Tenn., finished second, 9.205 seconds behind Neville, and Michael Lewis, of San Diego, Calif., finished third. “We’ve been working really hard to make our car work better, and we finally hit the sweet spot today,” said Neville. “It was a great race for us – the car has never been better. We’ve had a tough time finding sponsorship, so hopefully we’ re on to something here with our new backing from Tommy Bahama.” Neville, driving the No. 88 Tommy Bahama Ford Mustang Cobra for Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports, started the 40-lap, 100.0-mile race second, behind the No. 2 Valvoline Mustang Cobra of pole sitter Brian Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., and trailed Simo for the first 10 laps of the 1:11:30.225 race. On lap 11 Neville passed Simo as the duo swept through Turn 11 on the 12-turn, 2.5-mile circuit. Two laps later Simo parked his car off course, the victim of a broken gearbox, and as Neville added to his lead, Paul Gentilozzi, in the No. 1 Johnson Controls/HomeLink Mustang Cobra, was charging hard on second-place Lewis, in the No. 12 AmeriSuites Mustang Cobra. A lap-14 yellow bunched the field, and as the race resumed on lap 18, Gentilozzi made his move for second, passing Lewis in Turn One and setting his sights on race-leader Neville. It took Gentilozzi just one more lap to capture the lead, passing Neville at Turn 11, but once out front he had to hold off repeated challenges in a nose-to-tail battle with Neville. On lap 31 Gentilozzi’ s day came to a premature end, however, as he too suffered gearbox troubles and retired, ending his day in 22nd-place, and elevating Neville back to the front position. Once back in the lead Neville was there for good, scoring his first win in 21st starts. “My whole game plan today was to be fast enough to stay with the leader and keep ahead of everyone else,” added Neville. “I kept a good pace and made sure I had a good car at end, and that’s what paid off.” Behind the action at the front, a ferocious race-long battle raged between Miller IV, in the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Camaro, and Randy Ruhlman, in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Mustang Cobra. With the order at five laps remaining Neville, Lewis, Ruhlman and Miller IV, a late-race full-course caution set up a final-lap dash, and Miller IV made the most of his restart, moving past Ruhlman for third at Turn One, and passing Lewis in a spectacular move at the final turn to score his third career runner-up finish and post the best effort for Chevrolet since Miller IV’s second-place finish at the 1999 Long Beach season-opener. “We had a lot of people here this weekend, and I had to put on a show,” said Miller IV. “This was my sponsor’s race, and I consider Road Atlanta my home track, so I just did what I had to do at the end. I knew could get by Randy (Ruhlman), but Michael (Lewis) was a gift.” After six races, Lewis leads the Drivers’ Championship point standings with 146, followed by Neville, 141; Miller IV, 129; Gentilozzi, 118; and Simo, 111.
BRASELTON, Ga. – Results from Sunday’s 40-lap, 100.0-mile Automationdirect.com Trans-Am 100 race, part of the Southern Dash weekend at Road Atlanta, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out.
1. (2), Chris Neville, Scottsdale, Ariz., Ford Mustang Cobra, 40. 2. (7), Johnny W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 40. 3. (4), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 40. 4. (3), Randy Ruhlman, Greensboro, N.C., Ford Mustang Cobra, 40. 5. (9), Leighton Reese, Minnetonka, Minn., Pontiac Grand Prix, 40. 6. (8), Simon Gregg, Jacksonville, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 40. 7. (15), G.J. Mennen, Austin, Texas, Ford Mustang Cobra, 40. 8. (20), Gary Johnson, Knoxville, Tenn., Ford Mustang Cobra, 40. 9. (21), Kerry Alexander, Indianapolis, Ind., Chevrolet Camaro, 40. 10. (13), Don Sak, West Bloomfield, Mich., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 40. 11. (17), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 40. 12. (10), Steve Pelke, Lansing, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 40. 13. (12), Bob Ruman, Munroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 39. 14. (32), Paul Alderman, Newark, Del., Mustang Cobra Cobra, 39. 15. (23), James Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 39. 16. (34), Jon Leavy, Miami, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 39. 17. (25), C. David Seuss, Charlestown, Mass., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 39. 18. (27), Michael Cohen, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 38. 19. (22), Dick Greer, Columbus, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 37. 20. (16), Mike Gagliardo, Chicago, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 35, Crash. 21. (36), Chet Williams, Chittenango, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 35. 22. (30), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Ford Mustang Cobra, 33, Mech. 23. (6), Lou Gigliotti, Garland, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 31, Mech. 24. (28), Joe Freda, Auburn, Ala., Chevrolet Camaro, 31. 25. (31), Dan Furey, Columbus, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 30. 26. (11), Tom Coleman, Asheville, N.C., Chevrolet Camaro, 28, Mech. 27. (29), Gary Smith, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 24, Mech. 28. (26), Frank Cioppettini, Far Hills, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 23, Mech. 29. (19), Jerry Kinn, Anchorage, Alaska, Chevrolet Camaro, 20, Mech. 30. (35), Henry Gaudens, Tampa, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 19, Mech. 31. (14), Claudio Burtin, Atlanta, Ford Mustang Cobra, 19, Mech. 32. (24), Richard Grant, Germantown, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 17, Mech. 33. (1), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 11, Mech. 34. (33), Rick Dittman, Prairie View, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 10, Mech. 35. (5), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 2, Mech. 36. (18), Kenny Bupp, Ft. Laudersdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 2, Mech.
Time of race: 1 hour, 11 minutes, 30.225 seconds. Average speed: 83.911 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 9.205 seconds Fastest race lap: Brian Simo, 1:25.265 (105.553 mph) Lap leaders: laps 1-10, No. 2 Simo; laps 11-18,No. 88 Neville, laps 19-30, No. 1 Gentilozzi; laps 31-40, No. 88 Neville. Cautions: three for 10 laps
Drivers' Championship Point Standing - Six Race Total
Pos., driver, car, points 1, Michael Lewis, Ford Mustang Cobra, 146 2, Chris Neville, Ford Mustang Cobra, 141 3, Johnny W. Miller IV, Chevrolet Camaro, 129 4, Paul Gentilozzi, Ford Mustang Cobra, 118 5, Brian Simo, Ford Mustang Cobra, 111 6, Randy Ruhlman, Ford Mustang Cobra, 104 7, Simon Gregg, Chevrolet Camaro, 98 8, Leighton Reese, Pontiac Grand Prix, 92 9, Tomy Drissi, Ford Mustang Cobra, 81 10, Steve Pelke, Chevrolet Camaro, 80 11, Dorsey Schroeder, Ford Mustang Cobra, 70 12, Lou Gigliotti, Chevrolet Corvette, 67 13, Max Lagod, Chevrolet Camaro, 66 14, G.J. Mennen, Ford Mustang Cobra, 66 15, Bob Ruman, Chevrolet Camaro, 66 16, James Briody, Chevrolet Camaro, 50 17, Tom Coleman, Chevrolet Camaro, 47 18, Don Sak, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 45 19, Frank Cioppettini, Chevrolet Camaro, 42 20, Claudio Burtin, Ford Mustang Cobra, 35 21, C. David Seuss, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 33 22, Craig Shafer, Chevrolet Camaro, 27 23, Jerry Simmons, Chevrolet Camaro, 26 24, Stu Hayner, Chevrolet Camaro, 25 25, Peter Shea, Ford Mustang Cobra, 19 26, Bill Gray, Chevrolet Camaro, 19 27, Kerry Alexander, Chevrolet Camaro, 19 28, Don Meluzio, Chevrolet Camaro, 18 29, Dick Greer, Chevrolet Corvette, 18 30, Gary Johnson, Ford Mustang Cobra, 18 31, Kenny Bupp, Chevrolet Camaro, 18 32, Mike Davis, Ford Mustang Cobra, 16 33, Bruce Barkelew, Ford Mustang Cobra, 14 34, Jerry Kinn, Chevrolet Camaro, 13 35, Paul Alderman, Mustang Cobra Cobra, 12 36, Henry Gaudens, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 37, Glenn Andrew, Pontiac Grand Prix, 11 38, Dan Furey, Chevrolet Corvette, 10 39, Mike Gagliardo, Chevrolet Corvette, 10 40, Jon Leavy, Chevrolet Camaro, 10 41, Frank Sanchez, Chevrolet Camaro, 8 42, Michael Cohen, Chevrolet Camaro, 8 43, Ted Sullivan, Chevrolet Camaro, 7 44, Rael, Chevrolet Camaro, 7 45, Chet Williams, Chevrolet Camaro, 5 46, Craig T. Nelson, Chevrolet Corvette, 5 47, Brad Smith, Ford Mustang Cobra, 4 48, Charlie Webster, Chevrolet Camaro, 3 49, Joe Freda, Chevrolet Camaro, 2
Manufacturers' Point Standings - Six Race Total 1, Ford, 54 2, Chevrolet, 26 3, Pontiac, 5 4, Oldsmobile, 0
Source: SCCA/SCCA Pro Racing/USRRC