Simo takes San Diego pole

San Diego, Calif. -- Brian Simo ( ...

San Diego, Calif. -- Brian Simo (#88 Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta) roared out of the first qualifying group to take the pole this afternoon with a time 1:08.274 (87.002 mph) at the San Diego Grand Prix. Simo, who trails Paul Gentilozzi (#1 Johnson Controls HomeLink Jaguar XKR) by 15 points in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series Drivers' Championship, picked up his fourth pole of the 2000 season and has appeared in the Fast Five in 11 of 12 rounds this year. Stu Hayner (#98 Trenton Forging Team Victoria Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro), who began a strong final month of the season at Houston with a second place finish, qualified second. For Hayner, one of nine drivers in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series who reside in California, today's effort marked his second consecutive appearance in the Fast Five. Johnny Miller (#64 Automationdirect.com UPS Chevrolet Corvette) qualified third and will start directly behind Simo. Miller will be looking for his first career victory in tomorrow afternoon's race. Gentilozzi qualified fifth and is making his 11th appearance in the Fast Five this season. He will be followed by Boris Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang Cobra), the winner of the Johnson Controls 100 last weekend at the Grand Prix of Las Vegas. "We have everything to gain and nothing to lose in tomorrow's race," said Simo. "I was pushing as hard as I could in qualifying today. It will be very difficult to pass a car, the only way to pass will be if someone makes a mistake." "Our car was awesome today and we have more left in the car," said Hayner. We have been getting more reliable and stronger since Houston, where we finished second. I am looking forward to a good race." "I was rooting for Stu to get the pole and keep that extra bonus point from Brian," said Gentilozzi. "But Brian ran his car hard and that's the position that he's in. That's the way this championship should end. We have to go out and race. Last weekend in Las Vegas, we were too conservative and got caught back in a spot where we wouldn't normally be, and got collected in an accident that virtually ended our day. We are not going to make that same mistake twice. We are here to race and to win, and that's just what we intend to do." The San Diego Grand Prix is Round 12 of the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series and will begin at 12:15 p.m. (PST) tomorrow afternoon. The race, which will be competed over the 1.65-mile temporary road course at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, will be broadcast live on Speedvision. Gentilozzi now holds a narrow 15-point lead over Simo in the Drivers' Championship, 249 - 234.

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Series TRANSAM