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SCCA Trans-Am Report and Results: Reno Grand Prix

20 October 1997


RENO, Nev. Mike Borkowski, driving the No. 4 Textron Ford Mustang
Cobra, came out on top of a wild Trans-Am season finale on the streets
of Reno, topping first-time podium finishers Max Lagod and Leighton
Reese when race-leaders Brian Simo and Paul Gentilozzi crashed out of
contention on a late-race restart.
With three laps remaining in the 75-lap, 95.25-mile Reno Grand Prix
at the Reno Hilton, leaders Simo and Gentilozzi took the green following
the fourth full-course yellow, and Gentilozzi wasted no time jumping into
the lead, passing Simo's No. 22 Valvoline Mustang Cobra before they reached
turn one. As the duo entered the first turn on the 1.27-mile, 11-turn
temporary circuit, Simo nosed into the rear of Gentilozzi's No. 5 RISO
Chevrolet Camaro, sending him into a spin that caught up both cars.

"I passed him clean going down the front straightaway and was well
ahead of him going into turn one," said Gentilozzi. "It was my
race. We went into the corner and I got hit from behind, then I got
hit again, spun around and got pushed into the outside wall."

"Paul (Gentilozzi) and I were racing real hard--he and I seem to find
each other no matter where we're at," said Simo. "He had a great
re-start and the rest is history. He got me, I got him back. We
tangled up in the back coming off the hairpin and I got into the wall
and tor up the car pretty good."

Third-place Borkowski, followed by Lagod, in the No. 83 HyperMax
Camaro, and Reese, in the No. 66 Fieldworks Pontiac Grand Prix, were
able to slip by the turn one crash, but Jon Gooding wasn't so
fortunate, and his No. 16 Mountain Dew Mustang Cobra was also

By the time Simo and Gentilozzi were able to get their damaged cars
restarted the battle was over, and Borkowski cruised to an easy
1.069-second victory, his second straight and second career Trans-Am

"I'd like to say I was jumping out of my seat when I saw Paul
(Gentilozzi) and Brian (Simo) take each other out, but I don't get too
emotional in the car," said Borkowski. "I can say I was happier being
in the lead, rather than in third. This race really went according to
our plan--we figured Paul and Brian would take each other out, it just
happened later than we thought it would."

Tom Kendall, the 1997 Trans-Am Drivers' Champion, wasn't a factor in
the contest after suffering damaged to his No. 11 All Sport Body
Quencher Mustang Cobra early in the race, as did Dorsey Schroeder, who
was in the pits on lap one after a turn-one incident. Both Kendall and
Schroeder were able to re-enter the contest with Kendall finishing
17th and Schroeder finishing 21st.

Gentilozzi recovered from the spin to finish fourth, followed by Rick
Lee, Mark Pielsticker, R.J. Valentine, Gooding, Simo and Ray Genick.

"We knew there would be a lot of attrition in this race, there always
is on a tight street course," said Reese. "We've been struggling all
weekend and just played the race conservatively, keeping on the lead
lap and in sight of the leaders. With 10 laps or so to go, we decided
to turn up the wick and see what would happen. Finishing on the podium
was one of our goals this season, so we're really happy to be here."

With his victory, Borkowski, the 1997 Rookie of The Year, finished the
season with 275 points, third in the Drivers' Championship behind
Simo, with 277, and Kendall, with 411. Finishing the season fourth is
Jon Gooding, with 272 points, followed by Schroeder, 265; Gentilozzi,
265; Greg Pickett, 228; John Miller IV, 195; Bill Saunders, 168; and
Mike Lewis, 166.

RENO, Nev. -- Results from Sunday's 75-lap, 95.25-mile Reno Grand Prix at
the Reno Hilton SCCA Trans-Am Championship race, with finishing position,
starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason
out (if any).
   1. (7), Mike Borkowski, Middlebury, Conn., Ford Mustang Cobra, 75.
   2. (8), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 75.
   3. (14), Leighton Reese, Eden Prairie, Minn., Pont Grand Prix, 75.
   4. (1), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Chevrolet Camaro, 75.
   5. (17), Rick Lee, Reno, Nev., Ford Mustang Cobra, 75.
   6. (18), Mark Pielsticker, Danville, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 75.
   7. (10), R.J. Valentine, Hingham, Mass., Chevrolet Camaro, 75.
   8. (6), Jon Gooding, Longwood, Fla., Ford Mustang Cobra, 75.
   9. (3), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 72, Crash.
 10. (19), Ray Genick, Waterford, Mich., Chevrolet Camaro, 72.
 11. (22), Larry Newman, Sherwood, Ore., Chevrolet Camaro, 71.
 12. (26), Frank Cioppettini Jr., Morristown, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 71.
 13. (12), Peter Shea, Newport Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 69.
 14. (9), Bill Saunders, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 68.
 15. (28), Dino Crescentini, Torrance, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 67, Cras=
 16. (5), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 67, Crash.
 17. (4), Tom Kendall, Santa Monica, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 65.
 18. (27), Jim Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 64, Crash.
 19. (16), Simon Gregg, Jacksinville, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 62, Mech.
 20. (21), Len Gilmore, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Beretta, 62.
 21. (2), Dorsey Schroeder, Osage Beach, Mo., Ford Mustang Cobra, 60.
 22. (23), C. David Seuss, Charleston, Mass., Oldsmobile, 60.
 23. (25), Jim Maguire, Glendale, Ariz., Chevrolet Camaro, 58.
 24. (24), Don Sak, West Bloomfield, Mich., Olds Cutlass, 45, Crash.
 25. (15), Bob Ruman, Monroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 35, Mech.
 26. (13), John W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 30, =
 27. (11), Greg Pickett, Alamo, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 22, Crash.
 28. (20), Bruce Barkelew, Columbia, Mo., Chevrolet Camaro, 3, Mech.

 Time of race: 1 hour, 33 minutes, 14.100 seconds.
 Winner's average speed: 61.296 mph
 Margin of victory: 1.069 seconds
 Lap leaders: No. 5 Gentilozzi, laps 1-39; No. 22 Simo, laps 40-72; No. 4=
 Borkowski, laps 73-75.
 Fastest race lap: Tom Kendall, 1:00.953 (75.008 mph)