Brian Simo born: Oct. 1, 1959 in Beloit, Wis. residence: Carlsbad, Calif. family: wife Celeste, daughters Savannah and Sawyer pronunciation: SIM o, not SEEM o racing Brian raced motocross from 1971 to 1984, then started SCCA...
born: Oct. 1, 1959 in Beloit, Wis.
residence: Carlsbad, Calif.
family: wife Celeste, daughters Savannah and Sawyer
pronunciation: SIM o, not SEEM o
Brian raced motocross from 1971 to 1984, then started SCCA showroom-stock racing in 1990. He and his twin Mark won the 1992 Firestone Firehawk championship as team owners and Brian won the 1993 Willow Springs Sportsman Series championship.
Brian drove his first BF Goodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race in 1994, in a Racewerks car. In 1995, with Tom Gloy Racing, he was the only driver to post top-10 finishes in all 11 races and the only driver to complete every lap. He finished second in the 1997 driver championship with seven top-five finishes, including five of the last seven races. In 1998, he finished second with two wins in the final two events of the season and six podium finishes. In 1999, he moved to Racewerks and collected his third runner-up title with six victories, eight poles and nine podium finishes. He was the only driver to start every 1999 race in the top five.
Brian joined the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Trans-Am team this year, driving the #88 Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta. He opened the 2000 season with a dramatic victory at Sebring International Raceway, and followed with a pole at Long Beach and wins at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte and Mosport International Raceway.
Brian competed in NASCAR Busch Series races at Watkins Glen International in 1997 and 1998. Both times, he was leading the race when his engine let go. He drove in his first NASCAR Winston Cup race, at Sears Point Raceway, this year. He qualified 34th and finished 36th, despite a long pit stop to replace a broken gear.
He has also driven in several sports-car races, and has two GT2 wins to his credit.
In addition to racing, Brian has participated in barefoot water skiing, surfing, scuba diving, alpine skiing, snowboarding, bobsled, luge, tennis, golf, skydiving and bungee jumping.
"Physical fitness is imperative to anything. It's imperative for a sharp mind. It helps anything you do - it helps business, it helps life, it helps all the fun things. I don't think that you can truly excel at something mentally unless you're physically balanced.
"I've gone from lifting weights to the extreme where it got counter-productive to just doing things that incorporate body weight. Now it's a balance of staying active. I do cardiovascular workouts on my lunch hour and I run on weekends. I've done a couple of eco-challenges, things that are physically and mentally challenging. I think one place I could really excel is in stretching and yoga, but I haven't dedicated myself to that yet. That would probably be the best thing for anybody, if you think about the ultimate workout."
Brian is dyslexic and has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), but neither affects his attitude, his confidence or his performance.
"These are just things that you're blessed with and you learn to deal with. I struggled with numbers, I struggled with letters and things like that, but it had no bearing on my ability to understand or to learn. I just had to take a little different approach.
"Everybody's got challenges, nobody has all the right ingredients. I think all these little challenges just enrich us in other places. You get to use what is a handicap in some respects and an asset in others, because it forces you to do things better in different areas. I'm extremely competitive, but it's a good way for me to learn some things that maybe I wouldn't learn in a traditional way.
"I think the way people are educated needs to be looked at more than the people who need the help. You can't assume that everyone's going to learn and assimilate things the same way. If the people who surround them understand that there are still huge opportunities to learn things, but maybe just differently, they'll be okay. It's only a hindrance for the people who don't understand that people can learn things in a different way.
"I think people will find their own way. It's important to let them know that for any of these things they're having difficulty with, there are ways to learn, to get around it."
"In a lot of ways, Mark and I are a lot alike and in a lot of ways, we're not. When trees grow next to each other, they grow at the same rate, but they grow differently. What you find is you get good at different things, simply because you have somebody else and you don't compete for the same mindshare. You develop a strength because you have a counter-balance that has the talents that you don't have to develop to the same degree."
Brian and Mark both developed racing skills. Mark drives a prototype sports-car in the American Le Mans Series, which often shares race weekends with the Trans-Am series.
"You continue to pursue your dreams and you continue to try to motivate and inspire people by doing what you do and doing it well. I think an important part of any great athlete is they realize that what they do is part of a bigger picture, where they actually truly inspire people. I think that's important not to leave out of your pursuits. If there's a way to inspire somebody or motivate somebody or offer hope in any real capacity, it's important."