DETROIT, Mich. (June 14, 2000) â€” Brian Simo has taken the ...
DETROIT, Mich. (June 14, 2000) — Brian Simo has taken the #88 Tommy Bahama Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Qvale Mangusta to three wins in four races so far this year in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series. He's looking to continue that dominant trend this weekend at the Johnson Controls 100 Trans-Am race, part of the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle. And for the first time this year Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports President Bruce Qvale, runner-up in the 1998 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year standings, will also be competing, in a brand new #44 Mangusta.
"When you have this many people pulling for you, and working as hard as the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports group does, it's a great feeling," says Simo, the hottest driver in the Trans-Am series and winner of 11 of the past 19 events. Simo is also the defending race winner at Detroit.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel," said Qvale. "This is such an exciting and competitive series, I've really missed it. But the demands of launching the Qvale Mangusta street car have kept me busy in Italy most of this year. With that project well along, I'm ready to go racing again."
It was just last year at the Detroit race that Qvale, Huffaker, and Tommy Bahama announced their sponsorship association, and that the team would be campaigning the Tommy Bahama Mangusta in Trans-Am competition in the 2000 season. The association between the Qvale and Huffaker families is also a long and distinguished one, dating back to the 1950s. That association began when Bruce's father, Kjell Qvale, who had also been instrumental in establishing the West Coast Sports Car Club of America, joined forces with the father of Joe Huffaker. In 1960, the elder Huffaker and Qvale established the BMC Competition Department, which designed and developed competition engines and racecars like the Huffaker Genie. BMC Competition's success was highlighted by entries in the Indianapolis 500 in 1963-1965, with the MG Liquid Suspension Offenhauser Special. The pinnacle of the team's achievements was the qualifying of three cars for the famed Memorial Day race in 1964, with drivers Bob Veith, Walt Hansgen, and Pedro Rodriguez.
The scheduled 42-lap, 99.162-mile sprint around the 2.361-mile, 14-Turn Belle Isle circuit is scheduled to start at 4:30 pm (PDT) on Saturday, June 17. Television coverage will be tape-delayed, on the Speedvision Network, with the telecast set to begin at 8:00 pm (EDT) on Monday, June 26. The encore telecast will begin four hours later, at 12:00 am (EDT) on Tuesday, June 27.