GENTILOZZI TAKES TROIS-RIVIERES NTB TRANS-AM WIN TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Can. (August 2, 1998) â€“ Paul Gentilozzi, of Lansing, Mich., scored his sixth NTB Trans-Am Series victory of the season with a 30.844-second margin over Bruce Qvale, of...
GENTILOZZI TAKES TROIS-RIVIERES NTB TRANS-AM WIN
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Can. (August 2, 1998) – Paul Gentilozzi, of Lansing, Mich., scored his sixth NTB Trans-Am Series victory of the season with a 30.844-second margin over Bruce Qvale, of San Francisco, Calif., while Chris Neville finish third at the Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Can., street circuit. Gentilozzi, Driving the No. 3 AutoLink Chevrolet Corvette, started on the pole but relinquished the lead on the first lap to the hard-charging No. 2 Valvoline Ford Mustang Cobra of Brian Simo. Once out front, Simo built a five-second margin ahead of Gentilozzi, but a lap seven full course caution for a single-car crash involving Doug Mayr, of Franklin, Wis., bunched the field.
Under caution, Simo pitted for rear tires and Gentilozzi inherited the front position, which he held to the end of the 55-lap, 82.83-mile contest. "It's a 55-lap race and I don't think it's ever been run here without a yellow, so charging out in the first five laps might not be the best strategy," said Gentilozzi. "I was determined to be patient and wait – the long yellow set the precedent that we could run the remainder of the race as hard as we needed to stay out front."
As the field returned to green-flag racing on lap 19 and Gentilozzi cruised out front, a six-car battle raged for the remaining podium positions between Bill Saunders, Randy Ruhlman, Max Lagod, Qvale, Neville and Alessandro Zampedri.
On lap 30 Ruhlman and Saunders were the first to drop out of the hunt, as Ruhlman was hit from behind and spun, and Saunders got tangled in traffic, putting Lagod in second with Qvale in hot pursuit. Five laps later Saunders was in the pits for tires, and on lap 48 Lagod's motor gave out, leaving Qvale, Zampedri and Neville in the chase for second and third.
With five laps to go Zampedri was in the pits with mechanical troubles and Qvale, in the No. 44 Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Mustang Cobra, and Neville, in the No. 40 ARCO Camaro, scored the pair's second-straight 2-3 finish. "I didn't get a good start, and Max (Lagod) got me on the first turn of the first lap," said Qvale. "There wasn't much room and I didn't have enough car to make it back by him, so I was just concentrating on holding my position. I definitely was a difficult race for me."
Finishing fourth after starting 26th was John Miller IV, earning him the DynoMax Turn On The Power Award for the best drive of the race, followed by Michael Lewis in fifth. Following his lap seven crash, Mayr was taken to the Ste. Marie Hospital in Trois-Rivieres for observation and examination. After nine races, Gentilozzi leads the Drivers' Championship point standings with 251, followed by Saunders, 195; Neville, 189; Miller IV, 183; Qvale, 180; Simo, 176; Ross Thompson, 153; Leighton Reese, 133; and Michael Lewis and Randy Ruhlman, 123.