Wilden finishes 8th at Long Beach

Long Beach, Ca.; Oakville Ontario driver Kenny Wilden brought the Banner Engineering Corvette home in 8th position today in the second round of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. Leighton Reese's team and driver Wilden had traction ...

Long Beach, Ca.; Oakville Ontario driver Kenny Wilden brought the Banner Engineering Corvette home in 8th position today in the second round of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. Leighton Reese's team and driver Wilden had traction problems all weekend which were worsened when an entire practice session was lost when a rear axle broke. The handling problems weren't helped when a front tire started loosing air during the race.

"There was only 8 pounds of air pressure in the front tire," commented Banner Racing crew chief Joe Kantarik. "Kenny (driver Kenny Wilden) probably picked up some of the pieces falling off of Boris Said's wrecked car. We were following him during a caution period and parts were dropping every where. Kenny couldn't get the car right after that and we lost a couple of positions at the end of the race."

Texas Corvette driver Lou Gigliotti drove steadily to win the race, his second career Trans-Am victory. Johnny Miller and Mike Lewis finished 2nd and third driving Jaguars. Several drivers, including polesitter Paul Gentilozzi, 2000 champion Brian Simo and Sebring race winner Boris Said crashed during the race.

The Leighton Reese's Banner Racing team was fighting the cool weather all weekend, as were many teams, and coupled with a slick track traction was at a mininmum. Finding the proper setup for the race was also hampered when the rear axle and differential broke on the first lap of this mornings practice session.

"We had made significant changes for that session," Joe Kantarik said. "We didn't learn much and had to start over for the race. Kenny Wilden was fighting a push all race, the car had significant oversteer and no rearend grip in the practice and qualification sessions, but Kenny kept the car in one piece."

Early in the season Kenny Wilden is tied for third, with Tommy Archer, in the points championship with 44. John Miller leads in the drivers points chase with 54 with Long Beach race winner in second spot with 52 points.

Leighton Reese and the Banner Engineering Corvette move on to Mosport Canada on May 20th for the next race, which surprisingly should be warmer than Long Beach in April. Who would have thought that a team from Minnesota could go to southern California and be cold.

-Banner Engineering

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Brian Simo , Tommy Archer , Leighton Reese , Johnny Miller , Lou Gigliotti