HOUSTON, Tex. (September 25, 2000) -- Brian Simo, who has taken the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta to six consecutive fastest race laps in BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series competition this year, hopes the...
HOUSTON, Tex. (September 25, 2000) -- Brian Simo, who has taken the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta to six consecutive fastest race laps in BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series competition this year, hopes the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston will see him add another victory to the three he already has this year. That will go a long way toward boosting him back into the season points lead, as the series heads into the final four events. Along the way, Simo was also fastest in every practice session and had the pole at the most recent event, at Texas Motor Speedway, and is second in the season laps led category.
Simo's three wins came in the first four races of this year, giving him the early season points lead which he has only recently, and just barely, relinquished to Paul Gentilozzi. And interestingly, only Simo (in '98) and Gentilozzi (in '99) have ever won on the streets of Houston in a Trans-Am race. There is even more incentive at Houston than usual, though: Simple Green has a $37,500 bonus up for grabs in the "Simple Green Clean-Up Award." That goes to anyone who can take the fastest spot in qualifying, set fastest race lap, lead the most laps and win the race.
"We've got a lot of pride and energy in our organization," says Joe Huffaker, the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports vice president and technical director. "And Brian has been driving extremely well. We just have had a little stretch of misfortune recently. We're confident that's behind us, though, and we're ready to keep the pressure on for the championship here in Houston...especially with the Simple Green money up for grabs. If we can finish up the season as strongly as we started it, we'll be in good shape."
The race in Houston could well be an historic battle between the two rivals of Simo and Gentilozzi. But the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports team brings a lot of history with them. The association between the Qvale and Huffaker families is a long and distinguished one, dating back to the 1950s. That association began when Kjell Qvale, father of Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports President Bruce Qvale and a man who had been instrumental in establishing the West Coast Sports Car Club of America, joined forces with the father of Huffaker/Qvale vice president and technical director, 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.
Huffaker and Qvale reunited in 1998 to contest the Trans-Am series, with Bruce Qvale achieving the runner-up spot in rookie of the year honors. Last year, Tommy Bahama signed on as sponsor. Saturday's 99.255-mile sprint around the 1.527-mile, 10-Turn Houston street circuit will take the green flag at 4:30 pm CDT on September 30. The telecast will be tape delayed on the Speedvision Network, with coverage beginning at 8:00 pm EDT on October 13, and the rebroadcast four hours later at 12:00 am EDT on Saturday, October 14.