Lime Rock report

GIGLIOTTI SCORES FIRST NTB TRANS-AM WIN WITH STRATEGY AND SKILL IN WET-DRY LIME ROCK PARK CONTEST LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 25, 1998) – Lou Gigliotti, of Garland, Texas, earned his first NTB Trans-Am Series victory with a skilled and ...


LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 25, 1998) – Lou Gigliotti, of Garland, Texas, earned his first NTB Trans-Am Series victory with a skilled and cagey drive, topping Mike Lewis by 0.634-second at Lime Rock Park. Gigliotti, driving the No. 28 G2 Performance Parts Ford Mustang Cobra, started the 66-lap, 100.98-mile race seventh as the 30-car field circuited the seven-turn, 1.53-mile road course under caution during an early-race downpour. The race went green on lap three and outside-pole qualifier John Miller IV wasted no time jumping into the lead past pole-starter Brian Simo. Racing in a heavy rain, Miller IV, Simo and third-quick qualifier Paul Gentilozzi alternately contested for the lead position, with Simo moving to the point on lap five only to lose the spot following a lap nine off-course excursion, bringing out the second of six full course cautions that totaled 22 laps, none resulting in injuries. As the race resumed on lap 16, Gigliotti, who had moved up to fourth, developed a race-contact-caused slow flat and went to the pits to change from rain tires to four dry tires, gambling that the now-slacking rain would abate. "We didn't have a spare rain tire, and the right front was going low," said Gigliotti. "We were fortunate to get a caution so the right tires were changed and we were able to catch up to the back of the field. Then we came in again on the next lap for the left tires." While Gigliotti charged through the field after he re-joined the race, Simo was out of contention with body damage to his No. 2 Valvoline Mustang Cobra, and the battle at the front was between Gentilozzi, in the No. 3 AutoLink Chevrolet Corvette, Chris Neville, in the No. 40 Derhaag Motorsports Camaro, Bill Saunders, in the No. 8 AutoLink Corvette, Miller IV, in the No. 64 PLC Direct Camaro and Max Lagod, in the No. 83 HyperMax Camaro. A lap 28 incident brought out a five-lap caution and as the race resumed, Gentilozzi, Saunders (now running second), Miller IV and Neville jumped the green flag, passing the pace car to each draw a stop-and-go penalty. As each driver answered the black flag (including Gentilozzi, who was already in the pits to switch to dry tires), Gigliotti inherited the lead, followed by Ross Thompson, in the No. 92 i-Dream Software Mustang Cobra, Lewis, in the No. 12 Red Line Oil Mustang Cobra, John Halbing and Don Sak. On a dry circuit, Gigliotti ran comfortably in front as Lewis improved to second when his teammate Thompson dropped off course at turn one, re-joining the race in third, a position he would hold to the end of the 1:28:07.71 race. "It's great to be on the podium," said Lewis. "I have never seen a rain tire perform like the BFGoodgrich Tires g-Force T/As did on a dry track. I made the decision with 30 laps remaining that I was going to stay on them, and started conserving them at that point. But they handled beautifully, and with five laps to go I still felt like I was on rails." Gigliotti averaged 68.74 mph in the process of scoring his first win, and also picked up the DynoMax Turn On The Power Award for providing the race's best drive. "We've had a lot of success in World Challenge, and moving up to Trans-Am was a big step for us," said Gigliotti. "My son has been going to races with me since he was four years old, and has seen me win a lot of times, but this one is definitely the sweetest. This is the first-ever win for what has been dubbed the ‘concept car' in the NTB Trans-Am Series. This car is not the most technologically advanced car out there, but it is still high tech, and it is fast. It took some circumstances to win today, but this car is fast, and we are going to be even faster." Finishing fourth behind Thompson was Sak, in the No. 10 Don Sak Racing Oldsmobile Cutlass, followed by John Halbing, in the No. 86 Grotto Pizza Cutlass, Miller IV, Gentilozzi, Leighton Reese, Saunders and Bruce Qvale. After three of 13 races, Gentilozzi leads the Drivers' Championship point standings with 90 points, followed by Miller IV, 74; Neville, 61; Thompson, 56; Saunders, 54; Simo, 52; Qvale, 50; Randy Ruhlman, 49; Lewis, 48; and Lagod, 42.

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Brian Simo , Paul Gentilozzi , Leighton Reese , Randy Ruhlman , Don Sak , Lou Gigliotti , Max Lagod , Ross Thompson