CONCORD, N.C. (March 28, 2000) -- The momentum of winning the first BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race of the season, at Sebring International Raceway, is not the only thing favoring the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta...
CONCORD, N.C. (March 28, 2000) -- The momentum of winning the first BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race of the season, at Sebring International Raceway, is not the only thing favoring the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta and driver Brian Simo this weekend. As the season points-leading combination comes to Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend for the Grand Prix of Charlotte Weekend Trans-Am, they also have a bit of history to go with them.
Simo has the best record of any current Trans-Am driver on combined infield/oval 'roval' courses. He won at last season's lone roval, Pikes Peak, and picked up his first Trans-Am win the year before at the same track. He was also second at Homestead in 1998, and Phoenix in 1997.
At Sebring two weeks ago, Simo had to pit on the first lap and restarted the race in last place. Throughout the event, he moved his way to the front, finally grabbing the lead in the last few corners of the very last lap to win the race. Not bad for a driver who was out of work barely a month ago.
"I'm feeling very fortunate to be a part of all this," commented Simo, who has been runner-up in Trans-Am season points for the past three seasons. "Just a few weeks ago, it looked as though my season was going to be spent on the sidelines, but Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports President Bruce Qvale and Joe Huffaker have given me a tremendous opportunity. I plan to make the most of it." Simo now has nine Trans-Am wins to his credit, and led all drivers last year in laps led and fastest race laps.
"We were very fortunate to be able to sign Brian Simo to drive for us this year," added Huffaker, vice president and technical director of Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports. "I can't wait to see what we can do if we don't have to come from the back!"
The association between the Qvale and Huffaker families is also a long and distinguished one, dating back to the 1950s. That association began when Bruce's father, Kjell Qvale, who had also been instrumental in establishing the West Coast Sports Car Club of America, joined forces with the father of 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. The pinnacle of the team's achievements was the qualifying of three cars for the famed Memorial Day race in 1964, with drivers Bob Veith, Walt Hansgen, and Pedro Rodriguez.
Saturday's 75-minute timed race over the 2.25-mile, 10-turn course will be telecast live on the Speedvision Network, with the broadcast set to begin at 12:00 pm EST on April 1. Rebroadcasts will also be on Speedvision, on Monday, April 3 at 8:30 pm (ET), Tuesday, April 4 at 12:20 am (ET), and again Friday, April 7, at 12:00 pm.