FT. WORTH, Tex. (August 29, 2000) â€” Brian Simo, in the ...
FT. WORTH, Tex. (August 29, 2000) — Brian Simo, in the #88 Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta, has led the season points for most of the year, thanks to wins in three of the first four races in this year's BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series. Since then, though, he's failed to crack the winner's circle, and last week slipped to second in the points for the first time this year. It's not that he hasn't been as competitive as before; he's been on the podium twice, and set the fastest race lap in the last five races in a row. But a mechanical problem at Road America, combined with recent strong runs by chief rival and defending Trans-Am champ Paul Gentilozzi, have kept Brian from the top of the podium. Now, he's looking to regain those early season results as the Trans-Am heads to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for the Grand Prix of Texas, September 1-3 at Texas Motor Speedway.
One thing in Brian's favor is that Simo has the best record of any current Trans-Am driver on combined infield/oval 'roval' courses. The new Texas Motor Speedway infield road course is just such a track. Simo won the only other roval this year, at Charlotte. He also won at last season's lone roval, Pikes Peak, and picked up his first Trans-Am win the year before at the same track. He was also second at Homestead in 1998, and Phoenix in 1997.
The race at Texas Motor Speedway will begin a new chapter in the history of the Trans-Am, as the cars have never raced here before. But the Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports team brings a lot of history with them. The association between the Qvale and Huffaker families is a long and distinguished one, dating back to the 1950s. That association began when Kjell Qvale, father of Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports President Bruce Qvale and a man who had been instrumental in establishing the West Coast Sports Car Club of America, joined forces with the father of Huffaker/Qvale vice president and technical director, Joe Huffaker. In 1960, the elder Huffaker and Qvale established the BMC Competition Department, which designed and developed competition engines and racecars like the Huffaker Genie. BMC Competition's success was highlighted by entries in the Indianapolis 500 in 1963-1965, with the MG Liquid Suspension Offenhauser Special.
Huffaker and Qvale reunited in 1998 to contest the Trans-Am series, with Bruce Qvale achieving the runner-up spot in rookie of the year honors. Last year, Tommy Bahama signed on as sponsor. Sunday's one hour, 15-minute sprint around the new 2.83-mile TMS road course will take the green flag at 2:30 pm CDT. The telecast will be live on the Speedvision Network, with coverage beginning at 3:30 EDT on September 3, and the rebroadcast on Friday, 8 at noon, Eastern time.