Huffaker/Qvale make up ground at Texas

JUSTIN, Tex. (September 4, 2000) — Brian Simo came to the Grand Prix of Texas BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am race at Texas Motor Speedway looking to make up ground on Trans-Am points leader Paul Gentilozzi. Fastest in every practice, fastest in ...

JUSTIN, Tex. (September 4, 2000) — Brian Simo came to the Grand Prix of Texas BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am race at Texas Motor Speedway looking to make up ground on Trans-Am points leader Paul Gentilozzi. Fastest in every practice, fastest in qualifying, and fastest in the race that he led easily from the green flag, Simo took the Tommy Bahama colors around the 2.324-mile infield road course at the front for more race laps than any other car. He also came three points closer to the season points lead despite heat-related mechanical woes putting his Qvale Mangusta on the sidelines before half distance in Round Eight of the 2000 Trans-Am season.

"We wanted to dominate every session, dominate qualifying, and dominate the race, and we pretty much did that," said Carlsbad, California resident Simo. "Unfortunately, we had some issues with picking up some debris that cut a tire and forced a pitstop, then the heat that caused some mechanical problems. We probably won't even know what they were until we get the car back to the shop and take it apart, but the good thing is that Paul dropped out even earlier than we did, so we were still able to make up some ground."

In a brutally hot day that saw trackside temperatures hit 120 degrees and no less than four drivers require medical attention by the end of the race due to problems with heat exhaustion. Four different drivers led the race only to succumb to either mechanical woes or the heat before Leighton Reese came through to take the win. Nonetheless, Simo still led the most laps on the day.

"It's disappointing to not finish," said Huffaker/Qvale vice president and technical director Joe Huffaker, "but on the good side, we've got a car that's still in one piece, and we made up about the same amount in the points as if Brian had won and Paul had finished second, so the championship picture remains about the same."

With four races remaining, Simo and the Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta are now ten points behind Gentilozzi, with the rest of the field, led by Gentilozzi's teammate Jeff Altenburg, far enough back that they are not likely to be a factor in the run for the BFGoodrich Cup. Next up is the Texaco/Havoline Houston Grand Prix, to be contested on Saturday, September 30 in Houston, Texas.

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Brian Simo , Paul Gentilozzi , Leighton Reese , Joe Huffaker , Jeff Altenburg