Virginia (VIR): BFGoodrich preview

VIR Speedfest presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience FALL IS HERE AND THE LAST RACE OF THE SEASON IS NEAR-- Fall is definitely here, the air is cooler; there is color in the trees, and Trans-Am racing is ready...

VIR Speedfest presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience

FALL IS HERE AND THE LAST RACE OF THE SEASON IS NEAR-- Fall is definitely here, the air is cooler; there is color in the trees, and Trans-Am racing is ready for the final race of the season this weekend at the VIR Speedfest presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience. Boris Said secured his first BFGoodrich® Tires Cup and Trans-Am championship two weeks ago at Road Atlanta as he finished first for the seventh time this season.

As Boris Said has been virtually unbeatable, several others have come close and are looking to this weekend's race at VIR-- a venue Trans-Am has not raced at since 1966-- as a proving ground for their cars, capabilities and teams. These include:

* Stu Hayner and the Trenton Forging Team, who have put the fastest car on the track through several races this year but have been faced with late race mechanical problems, hampering a first place podium finish.

* Butch Leitzinger, a veteran road-racer, but a rookie to Trans-Am this year, clinched the Rookie of the Year title for the 2002 season and has four first place finishes this year.

* Paul Gentilozzi, two-time BFGoodrich® Tires Cup champion and three-time Trans-Am Champion won the first race of the season for Johnson Controls and the Rocketsports Team but is looking for one more victory to mark his 25th career first place finish in Trans-Am.

* Johnny Miller, fourth place in points this season has been consistent but is looking for a podium finish to wrap-up the season.

* Randy Ruhlman has had two podium finishes this year: a second place in Trois-Riveres and a third place in Miami, a first place finish would be a nice hat trick for the season.

There are many other drivers this year who have raced hard, done well and would like to finish the year with a podium finish, which means this weekend should be some of the best racing fans have seen all season. And, don't expect BFGoodrich® Tires Cup winner Boris Said to let up at VIR, he races to win every time he gets behind the wheel, as he's proven this season.

Said, who started amateur racing in 1987, received support from Herb Johnson and BFGoodrich® Tires through the Team T/A program. The Team T/A program, started in the early 1980s continued through the 1990s and provided amateur race car drivers affiliating with BFGoodrich® Tires-- as their brand of choice -- discounts on a variety of racing tires to meet their on, and off-track needs

"Boris has been extremely strong this year," said Herb Johnson, director of motorsports for BFGoodrich® Tires."He's worked hard for many years, and I'm glad that BFGoodrich® Tires helped Boris get his start in racing and that he won his first major championship racing on BFGoodrich® Tires Slicks."

A Long Road back to VIR-- Trans-Am raced at Virginia International Raceway during its first season in 1966, and hasn't been back there since. Once one of the longest, toughest road courses, VIR closed in 1974. Decades of neglect had saw trees sprouting up through the pavement in some areas, but VIR is back, and better than ever.

The new Virginia International Raceway is a first-class,"Country Club" facility that will provide some excellent racing for drivers and fans alike in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrichâ Tires Cup. The race course is 3.27 miles long, and fast, with a back straight 4,000 feet long and a pit straight that is 3,000 feet long, but only 30 to 36 feet wide. The course also has 150 feet of elevation changes, making it a real roller coaster ride and pure excitement for the thrill seeking Trans-Am drivers.

BFGoodrich® Tires"Take Control" Award-- After each Trans-Am Race, BFGoodrich® Tires presents the driver who led the most laps during the race with the"Take Control" award; the prize is a set of BFGoodrichâ g-Force T/Aâ radials. Thus far this season, four drivers have taken home tires. Boris Said has won the"Take Control" Award five times, Butch Leitzinger has won four times, defending BFGoodrichâ Tires Cup champion Paul Gentilozzi has won once as has Tony Ave.

BFGoodrich® Tires Contingency Award-- BFGoodrich® Tires has established a contingency award for the top 10 finishers in each race this season. The top five finishers will receive two tires and the finishers from sixth through tenth will receive one tire.

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Tony Ave , Justin Bell , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller , Randy Ruhlman , Stu Hayner