Sebring, Florida - Canadian driver Kenny Wilden, Oakville, Ontario, brought the Banner Engineering Corvette to a close third place finish at Sebring after battling with past champion Paul Gentilozzi for much of the race, muscled his way past John...
Sebring, Florida - Canadian driver Kenny Wilden, Oakville, Ontario, brought the Banner Engineering Corvette to a close third place finish at Sebring after battling with past champion Paul Gentilozzi for much of the race, muscled his way past John Miller's Jaguar on Lap 26 and beat Miller to the checkered flag by less than a car length. Boris Said in the Applied Computer Solutions Mustang finished first after starting from the pole, with Gentilozzi holding off a late charge from Kenny Wilden for the remaining two podium positions.
Car owner and usual driver Leighton Reese was extremely happy with Wilden's performance and that of his new team. "We were fast all week," Reese commented. "Wilden had an awesome battle with Gentilozzi all the way. Five weeks ago we didn't even have a car! Kenny did a great job filling in for me."
Wilden was fast all weekend. He qualified the car fourth even though his qualification effort was cut short when the driveshaft literally exploded on the fourth lap of qualifying, leaving the Banner Engineering Corvette stranded on course. The fill-in driver meshed instantly with the new Banner Corvette and Leighton Reese's racing team.
"Everyone is pretty happy with how consistent the car is running," commented driver Kenny Wilden. "Considering we have a new car, new body, new driver, new crew members; things are going really well."
When asked to comment on race strategy Kenny indicated that staying out of trouble and saving the tires and brakes for the end of the race as being important. "There will be a lot of contact and people going off the road," Wilden said. "And, I just have to stay clear of trouble so I can run hard at the end."
Leighton Reese's racing team, based in Eden Prairie, Mn, came to Sebring Florida for the opening round of the 2001 Trans-Am season with many questions and uncertainties. Six weeks ago there was no car and no team and by mid-February there wasn't even a driver after Reese was injured in a skiing accident. Through hard work, experience and talent Leighton Reese racing brought a totally new racing package to Sebring Florida and looked strong right off the truck.
At the start of the week Reese indicated that any finish inside of the top 10 would be good and a podium finish would be like a win. Kenny Wilden and the entire Banner Engineering sponsored Reese Racing Team made it look easy today.
Johnny Miller, automationdirect.com Jaguar, and Tommy Archer, Cinjo Dodge Viper, rounded out the top five positions. Consult the listing below for all the race finishers.