LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2000) Brian Simo has guided the Tommy Bahama-sponsored Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Qvale Mangusta into the winner's circle at both previous BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series 2000 races, and hopes to continue that ...
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2000) Brian Simo has guided the Tommy Bahama-sponsored Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Qvale Mangusta into the winner's circle at both previous BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series 2000 races, and hopes to continue that momentum at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend when the Johnson Controls 100 Presented by Simple Green Trans-Am race takes the green flag on April 16. Simo, of Carlsbad, CA, also has a score to settle with Long Beach.
"Long Beach, traditionally, hasn't been too good to me," says Simo, who has been the Trans-Am series runner-up in each of the past three seasons. Last year, Simo qualified on the front row and was running away with the race when a controversial call by the officials brought him into the pits for a stop-and-go penalty. While attempting to regain lost ground Simo was later caught up in another competitor's accident, ending his race early. In fact, in three previous Long Beach starts, Simo's best finish was a fourth in 1996.
This is a new year, though, and Simo is with a new team. Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports, the team which fielded the pole-winning car at last year's Long Beach race, and sponsor Tommy Bahama are now backing Simo. They have also introduced the new Qvale Mangusta to the Trans-Am series this year. The combination has won every time out this year, a great start for the racecar and its sister street version, which debuted just last fall. "This feels great, especially heading into Long Beach," says 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."
Sunday's 51-lap, 100.47-mile race around the reconfigured 1.97-mile, 11 turn Long Beach circuit is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:45 pm (PDT) on April 16. Broadcast of the event will be the Speedvision network on tape-delay basis. The first telecast is scheduled for 8:00 pm (EDT) on Friday, April 21. Encore presentations on Speedvision will be on Saturday, April 22 at 12:00 am (EDT) and Friday, April 28 at 2:00 pm (EDT).