Houston, TX - The 2001 BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am season will come to a dramatic and exciting conclusion on Saturday during the Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. When the race is over, the BF Goodrich Tires Cup will belong to one of two ...
Houston, TX - The 2001 BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am season will come to a dramatic and exciting conclusion on Saturday during the Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. When the race is over, the BF Goodrich Tires Cup will belong to one of two drivers: Paul Gentilozzi or Johnny Miller. They may be teammates, but there will be no team orders.
Two-time Trans-Am Champion Paul Gentilozzi is looking to add to that title list and shake some bad memories. He won the Houston race in 1999, but in 2000, his hopes for a repeat win and a third championship were dashed when a dramatic last-to-first victory was thrown out due to a pit lane violation. Brian Simo took the points lead and later took the title.
"That's just history now," said Gentilozzi. "If anything, that deal just motivates me more. My race strategy will depend on how we qualify, but I won't put myself in jeopardy."
Johnny Miller, on the other hand, has his work cut out for him. He needs to finish first and for Paul to finish 20th to grab the championship. It will be no small task for the driver of the unique #64 AutomationDirect/Cutler-Hamner Jaguar.
"We absolutely need to win," revealed Miller. "I've played out 100 different scenarios. I'll think hard about who is behind me and about passing well. I need to go like heck and not hit anything."
There will be a distinctive look about many of the cars for the Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Several teams initiated plans to show their patriotic spirit immediately after the attack on September 11th. This is their first race since the tragedy and the teams are eager to show their pride.
Special patriotic themes wil be on the #3 Johnson Controls/Homelink Jaguar, #10 Don Sak Motorsports Camaro, #35 Wicks Lumber Panoz, #45 Kay Manufacturing Mustang, and the #77 Classic Tube Mustang. The #12 Team Amerisuites Jaguar will not only have a patriotic theme, but Amerisuites has also announced they will donate $100 for every lap completed by Michael Lewis. The donation will go to the United Way's September 11th Fund.
Trans-Am drivers will be very busy in Houston participating in other events. A go-kart shootout at Davy Jones KartZone pits Paul Gentilozzi, Johnny Miller, Justin Bell, Tony Ave, Kerry Alexander, Randy Ruhlman, Paul Fix and Don Sak against CART and Toyota Atlantic Drivers. Then it's off to the US Navy's F-18 flight simulator to engage in a dogfight. Brian Simo, Justin Bell, Johnny Miller, Paul Gentillozi, Dan Miller and Tommy Drissi will fly the virtual skies in F-18 simulator with the coaching of US Navy pilots. Randy Ruhlman is expected to have an edge since he holds a pilot's license.
The drivers will conclude their weekend at the annual Trans-Am Awards Banquet. In addition to the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, other awards will include the Amerisuites Rookie of the Year Award, already clinched by Justin Bell, and the BBS Most Improved Driver. In addition, the High Tech Trailers Owners' Championship, the Manufacturers Championship and the Crew of the Year will be announced.
The Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston Trans-Am race begins at 3:15 on Saturday, Oct. 6 and will be broadcast on Speedvision, Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2:00 PM EST.