Vancouver Trans-Am Race Report

VANCOUVER, B.C. (September 4) - Brian Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., dominated the 58-lap, 103.298-mile BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race on the streets of Vancouver, B.C., topping runner-up Paul Gentilozzi by 60.422 seconds in scoring...

VANCOUVER, B.C. (September 4) - Brian Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., dominated the 58-lap, 103.298-mile BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race on the streets of Vancouver, B.C., topping runner-up Paul Gentilozzi by 60.422 seconds in scoring his third consecutive flag-to-flag series victory to take over the lead in the Drivers’ Championship point standings with three races remaining in the 1999 championship. Bob Ruman, of Monroe Falls, Ohio, finished third to score his first podium finish in 48 career starts. Simo, driving the No. 2 Valvoline Ford Mustang Cobra, started from the pole and was never challenged throughout the one hour, 18 minutes, 22.221-second contest that was slowed by one full-course caution for five laps. “It was pretty uneventful, and it’s more satisfying to win when you have to do in the heat of battle, but it’s great racing here in Vancouver,” said Simo. “This was really a team effort. Our team has come together and we’re really working well. I think maybe we ran a little too hard in the beginning of the season and gave up too many points that put us so far back in the Championship, but now we’ve worked our way back up front, and it really shows the strength of the entire team.” After a lap-10 caution to clean up debris from Michael Lewis’ No. 12 AmeriSuites Mustang Cobra, which spun into the Turn Five wall after getting a nudge from Chris Neville, Gentilozzi, in the No. 1 Johnson Controls/HomeLink Mustang Cobra, jumped the lap-15 restart and was given a stop-and-go penalty, dropping him from second to 11th as he reported to pit lane on lap 16. “When I knew it wasn’t a race (for me), I decided to save my tires,” said Gentilozzi. “I thought maybe Miller and Simo would race each other, we might get a yellow, and I might have a little more margin (with the tires), but we never got that yellow we needed.” Once back in the race, Gentilozzi steadily improved his position, climbing to third on lap 41, behind the No. 64 Automationdirect.com Chevrolet Corvette of Johnny Miller IV. Gentilozzi continued in third for the next 16 laps and looked to have only a third-place finish when Miller slowed on course, out of fuel on lap 57, advancing Gentilozzi to second and Ruman, in the No. 23 Cenweld Camaro, to third. “I feel bad for John (Miller), but I forgot about that real quick when the checkered flag came out – it feels great to finish on the podium,” said Ruman. “Our finish was a combination of passing a few of the guys in front of me and attrition in the race. The original plan was to be as steady as possible, and just try to stick with the lead pack. That plan went off when I had some difficulty getting around a few people and I lost the leaders, but then attrition played in my favor.” Despite dropping from the race, Miller still finished fourth, followed by Tommy Drissi, in the No. 15 Drissi Advertising Mustang Cobra. For his contact with Lewis, Neville was penalized six Drivers’ Championship points, fined $1,900 and put on probation for the remainder of the season. After 10 races, Simo leads the Drivers’ Championship standings with 242, followed by Gentilozzi, 229; Miller, 219; Lewis and Neville, 214; Randy Ruhlman, 174; Leighton Reese, 155; Simon Gregg, 144; Drissi, 142; and Ruman, 130.

Source: SCCA/SCCA Pro Racing

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Brian Simo , Paul Gentilozzi , Leighton Reese , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Bob Ruman , Michael Lewis , Simon Gregg