Victoria Motorsports survives Long Beach

VICTORIA MOTORSPORTS GETS BOTH CARS TO THE FINISH LINE AT LONG BEACH TRANS-AM LONG BEACH, Calif. (Sunday, April 8, 2001) - It wasn't a pretty race, but Victoria Motorsports got things in gear and brought both cars to the finish line in today's...

VICTORIA MOTORSPORTS GETS BOTH CARS TO THE FINISH LINE AT LONG BEACH TRANS-AM

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Sunday, April 8, 2001) - It wasn't a pretty race, but Victoria Motorsports got things in gear and brought both cars to the finish line in today's Johnson Controls 100 Presented by Simple Green race as the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Cup contest Round Two at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The race was won by Lou Gigliotti.

"After scoring no points at Sebring when one car broke and the other crashed, we really needed a point-paying finish for both cars at Long Beach to get our season rolling," said June Cioppettini, co-owner of Victoria Motorsports. "Long Beach is always a tough race to finish, but we did just that, so we're feeling much better about the year now."

"I was a little miffed at the penalty right at the start, " said G. J. Mennen, driver of the #6 Greased Lightning/MotorCheck/Onkyo America Camaro, "but we kept plugging. We really needed a yellow flag in the second half of the race to keep from going a lap down, but we didn't get it. The car was fine, though, and that's racing, so we'll just keep our chin up and head on to the next race at Mosport."

Mennen, who started back in 25th position due to mechanical problems in qualifying, was involved in a lap-two altercation with another driver who had been blocking Mennen's attempts to move up quickly at the start. Mennen was given a black flag and called to the pits for his involvement, which left him at the back of the field. He still managed a great charge to come from last to 18th by the checkered flag in the 29-car field.

"We were just hoping to get the rust out and run the whole race, which we did," said Frank Cioppettini, co-owner of Victoria Motorsports and driver of the #16 Ourhouse.com/Clover Enterprises Camaro. "I would have been happier if a car that was lapping me hadn't felt the need to nudge me into the wall mid-race; I was giving everyone plenty of room. It messed up my steering for the second half, which made it very difficult. But I haven't been in the car for a while, so just making it to the end was a good result. We've got our season rolling now, so it's on to Mosport."

Cioppettini finished 22nd in the race, up from 27th at the start. The next Trans-Am race is slated for Sunday, May 20, at Mosport in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The telecast of the Long Beach race can be seen on the Speedvision Network on Sunday, April 15 at noon EDT.

-VM-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Lou Gigliotti