BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 21, 2000) â€” Driving a heads-up race, Brian Simo took advantage of a slip by race leader Paul Gentilozzi to take his Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta into the lead and win the BFGoodrich...
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 21, 2000) — Driving a heads-up race, Brian Simo took advantage of a slip by race leader Paul Gentilozzi to take his Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta into the lead and win the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race at Mosport International Raceway today. It was his third race win in the four-race old 2000 Trans-Am season championship and gives him a commanding points lead.
"When you have a group of people as committed and focused as the Huffaker/Qvale crew is, things come together," said Simo from victory lane. "When you want the championship, you have to fight for every inch, every race, and every lap. To have everyone pulling in the same direction feels great."
"We are confident we are making the horsepower to get the job done," said Joe Huffaker, vice president and technical director of Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports. "And Brian is certainly delivering the goods, so we are all very proud of where this program is. The goal this weekend was to get the win, and that's just what we've done. We had the handling, the horsepower, the driving, and we got fastest race lap as well as the win, so we are very happy with the results."
Simo had the faster car, but was unable to find a way past Gentilozzi for the first three-quarters of the race. "I was calling the race for Brian, and was urging him to take it easy. We just wanted to keep the pressure on, but wait for an opportunity. This is a tough place to get the job done, even when you have a slightly faster car," added Huffaker. "Our strategy paid off when Paul pinched it just a little too tight while taking a defensive line on the last restart."
From here, Simo and the Tommy Bahama crew move on to Detroit, and the Johnson Controls 100 at the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. They will be a mounting a two-car effort there, joined there by Bruce Qvale, president of the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Group, and runner-up in the 1998 Rookie of the Year battle. Qvale will be driving an all-new Mangusta chassis, developed by Huffaker Engineering of Sonoma, Calif. More chassis are also in the works. The race in Detroit, fifth of a scheduled 11, is slated for Saturday afternoon, June 17.