CONCORD, NC. (April 1, 2000) â€” Brian Simo, driving the Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta fielded by Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports, drove from his second-place starting position to a convincing win today, as the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series contested...
CONCORD, NC. (April 1, 2000) — Brian Simo, driving the Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta fielded by Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports, drove from his second-place starting position to a convincing win today, as the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series contested the second round of the 2000 season at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. Simo finished the 44-lap, 99-mile race in one hour, eight minutes, 51.973 mph. It was the second straight win for Simo, who pulls out to a convincing lead in the season championship.
"This feels good," said Simo afterward. "I didn't even think about winning until about two turns from the end, because Paul (Gentilozzi, the pole sitter) was right there. He was a little quicker in the infield, but I was pretty comfortable on the banking. Once we got back out on the banking on the last lap, I was pretty sure I could hold him off."
The race, while not as filled with drama for the Tommy Bahama crew as at Sebring, was nonetheless eventful. Simo qualified second, and followed early leader Gentilozzi for the first dozen laps of the 44-lap race. Stu Hayner was able to get around Simo at that point, and then snuck past Gentilozzi later on the same lap. The move caught Gentilozzi by surprise, allowing Simo to get back into second. The race was slowed shortly thereafter with a pair of back-to-back full-course cautions. On the second restart, Simo got back around Hayner and held on for the rest of the event.
This feels great, especially heading into Long Beach," said Joe Huffaker, vice president and technical director of Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports. "The crew is really coming together now, and this is just better than I could have hoped for."
Simo and the Tommy Bahama crew head into Long Beach now with 62 points after two races. Gentilozzi trails in second with 53, while Chris Neville is third with 50 points. The Long Beach event is scheduled for Sunday, April 16.