Sonoma, Calif: (July 21st, 2001): "This race was pretty uneventful for me," said Leighton Reese after finishing 7th in the Wine Country 100 Trans-Am Series race at Sears Point Raceway in the scenic wine growing hills of Sonoma California. Reese...
Sonoma, Calif: (July 21st, 2001): "This race was pretty uneventful for me," said Leighton Reese after finishing 7th in the Wine Country 100 Trans-Am Series race at Sears Point Raceway in the scenic wine growing hills of Sonoma California.
Reese kept his Banner Engineering Corvette in the top ten most of the day but was unable to seriously challenge race winner Brian Simo. "The car was so loose through turns one, two and three," Reese commented. "That I really couldn't race. We pretty much just hung in there to get the best finish we could."
Uneventful to a race driver maybe, but Reese had to work early to avoid Justin Bell's Corvette who was sent spinning in front of most of the field early in the first lap. "I had to check up," Reese explained. "I was boxed in with so many cars around and Lou (Corvette driver Gigliotti) got past me in the process." Reese was in 6th place on the last lap, but he got balked behind a lapped car and Mike Lewis went around both cars on the outside of turn 11. "A really good move on Lewis' part," Reese said.
"This was a disappointment," Leighton Reese said of the race. "We never had the set-up to really compete, but at least we finished in the top ten and got some points. We need to do better in the next race (Portland)."
The race was won from the pole position by Californian native Brian Simo who probably benefited from his car owners (Tom Gloy) extensive experience on this twisting 2.5 mile track. Paul Gentilozzi kept his Homelink Jaguar ahead, barely, of the Panoz of Boris Said after a race long duel between the two longtime rivals.
"This is awesome," raved Reese. "This a drivers track that puts a real premium on handling and driver technique. For the most part it is a one line track and passing is difficult since you pretty much have to make every pass off the desired line."
The team is in the process of changing engines for the next race in Portland Oregon (August 4th & 5th) while still at the track here in Sonoma. Crew Chief Joe Kantarik will also spend the week here with the car in an effort to correct the handling problems that have plagued the Banner Corvette of late.