DETROIT, Mich. (June 17, 2000) â€” Brian Simo, aboard the ...
DETROIT, Mich. (June 17, 2000) — Brian Simo, aboard the #88 Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta, battled his way to a strong, hard-fought second place at the Johnson Controls 100, part of last weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. Setting fastest race lap along the way, Simo's run was good enough to preserve the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series points lead as the season heads to it's midsummer, midseason round at Cleveland.
"It's really hard to accept second, but sometimes that's the smart thing to do," said Simo after his race-long duel with eventual winner Paul Gentilozzi. "I've got a championship points lead to protect. So, I certainly didn't hold anything back," he remarked, referring to his midrace pass for the lead, which he held for two laps, "but you've got to finish the race, and I didn't want to do anything stupid."
For the first time this year, a second Qvale Mangusta was entered at Detroit. Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports President Bruce Qvale qualified the #44 car in 17th, and took it as high as 10th at one point before mechanical gremlins slowed his charge and dropped him from the race. "It was really great to be back in the Trans-Am again," said Qvale, who was runner-up in the 1998 Rookie of the Year standings. "I even traded some paint with Lou Gigliotti, who is third is season points, so it was good to know I could step back in and run that well after a long layoff. It also shows just how good a car we've got, and the kind of preparation that Joe Huffaker and the crew put into our team. I'm looking forward to running again at Cleveland."
The series now moves to Burke Lakefront Airport and the Simple Green Trans-Am 100, part of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland weekend, June 30-July 1. Simo heads into Round Six (of eleven) with a 21 point-lead over Paul Gentilozzi, 146 to 125.
The Detroit race will be broadcast on the Speedvision Network on Monday, June 26, beginning at 8:00 pm EDT. Replays will be on Speedvision at 12:00 am on June 27, and on Fox Sports Net on Thursday, July 6 at 1:00 pm EDT.