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NTB Trans-Am: Gentilozzi Tops Field at Watkins Glen

9 August 1998

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Paul Gentilozzi, driving the No. 3 AutoLink Chevrolet Corvette, scored his seventh NTB Trans-Am Series victory of the season after leading flag-to-flag at the Bosch Trans-Am Classic at Watkins Glen International, topping runner-up Brian Simo by 1.935-second while Stu Hayner finished third.

Gentilozzi, of Lansing, Mich., started the 42-lap, 101.9-mile race first after posting his seventh pole of the season, heading a modern-era record 43-car field, the second-largest field in series' history and the largest since 1983.

"We came in here in an aggressive mood," said Gentilozzi. "We're in front of a lot of people this weekend and we wanted to do real well."

For the duration of the 1:14:00.319 race Gentilozzi was hotly pursued by second-place starter Simo, in the No. 2 Valvoline Ford Mustang Cobra, and several time Simo looked to make a bid for the lead in traffic, but Gentilozzi was able to hold off each challenge to record his 10th career win.

The race was slowed by two full-course cautions with no resulting injuries, but the field ran 12 laps behind the pace car, twice bunching the field and allowing Simo an opportunity for the lead.

"You've got a rhythm going and I had a bit of an advantage going into both cautions," added Gentilozzi. "I really wanted to get back to green racing."

"We tried to take advantage of the traffic but if usually hurt us as much as helped us -- I think it was basically a wash," said Simo.

To score the final podium position Hayner, who qualified fourth in the No. 58 Westward Ho Casino Camaro, had to make his way through the massive field from his 42nd-place start, a result of failing to present his car on time for the pre-race technical inspection.

"It's always great to come back to Watkins Glen," said Hayner. "We've turned a lot of laps here and have almost always done well."

Hayner's drive to his third career top-three finish in 11 career starts also earned the Yorba Linda, Calif., driver the DynoMax Turn On The Power Award for turning in the best drive of the race. Hayner also turned in the fastest lap of the race, posting a 1:13.337 on the final lap to break Gentilozzi's nine-race string of fastest race laps.

"We had an awfully good car today," added Hayner. "Going into this race we had a lot of concern after having had to start at the back. At the end I was just wishing we could go a couple of extra green laps because my car was just perfect."

Finishing fourth behind Hayner was Chris Neville, followed by John Miller IV, and Bill Saunders, who started 41 after missing all practice and qualifying sessions due to business conflicts.

After 10 races, Gentilozzi leads the Drivers' Championship point standings with 285, followed by Saunders, 215; top rookie Neville, 213; Miller IV, 205; Simo, 204; Bruce Qvale, 188; Ross Thompson, 171; Leighton Reese, 152; Randy Ruhlman, 137; and Michael Lewis, 135.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Results from Saturday's 42-lap, 102.9-mile NTB Trans-Am race at Watkins Glen International, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out.

  1. (1), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Chevrolet Corvette, 42.
  2. (2), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., , Ford Mustang Cobra, 42.
  3. (42), Stu Hayner, Yorba Linda, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 42.
  4. (3), Chris Neville, Scottsdale, Ariz., Chevrolet Camaro, 42.
  5. (4), John W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 42.
  6. (41), Bill Saunders, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 42.
  7. (11), Leighton Reese, Minnetonka, Minn., Pontiac Grand Prix, 42.
  8. (10), Ross Thompson, Phoenix, Ariz., Ford Mustang Cobra, 42.
  9. (9), Peter Shea, Newport Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 42.
 10. (16), Brian DeVries, East Grand Rapids, Mich., Chevrolet Camaro, 42.
 11. (14), Bob Ruman, Munroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 42.
 12. (5), Randy Ruhlman, Greensboro, N.C., Ford Mustang Cobra, 41.
 13. (17), Craig Shafer, Somerset, Pa., Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
 14. (7), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 41.
 15. (24), Jon Leavy, Miami, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
 16. (43), Mark Pielsticker, Oakland, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
 17. (26), Bruce Barkelew, Columbia, Mo., Ford Mustang Cobra, 41.
 18. (13), Bruce Qvale, San Francisco, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 41.
 19. (35), Jerry Simmons, Ancaster Ontario, Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
  20. (30), Frank Cioppettini, Morristown, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
 21. (28), Dick Greer, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 41.
 22. (27), Ned Yeaton, Delray Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
 23. (31), James Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 41.
 24. (23), Simon Gregg, Jacksonville, Fla., Ford Mustang Cobra, 41.
 25. (19), John Halbing, Dallas, Pa., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 40, Crash.
 26. (15), Don Meluzio, York, Pa., Chevrolet Camaro, 40.
 27. (38), Chet Williams, Chittenango, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 40.
 28. (34), Frank Sanchez, Feltin, Del., Chevrolet Camaro, 40.
 29. (39), Wayne Pluta, Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 40.
 30. (21), C. David Seuss, Charleston, Mass., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 39, Crash.
 31. (32), Michael Cohen, Hollywood, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 38.
 32. (36), Vinny Musicaro, Wantagh, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 34, Mech.
 33. (25), Claude Poirier, Peterborough, Canada, Chevrolet Camaro, 32, Crash.
 34. (37), Greg Harrison, Greensboro, N.C., Ford Mustang Cobra, 31, Mech.
 35. (20), Lou Gigliotti, Garland, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 31, Crash.
 36. (8), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 21, Crash.
 37. (29), Jim Todd, Montreal Quebec, Chevrolet Camaro, 19, Crash.
 38. (12), Paul Alderman, New Castle, Del., Ford Mustang Cobra, 17, Mech.
 39. (6), Don Sak, West Bloomfield, Mich., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 17.
 40. (40), Ted Sullivan, Hampton, Conn., Chevrolet Camaro, 14, Mech.
 41. (22), Alessandro Zampedri, Brescia, Italy, Chevrolet Camaro, 11, Mech.
 42. (33), Dan Furey, Columbus, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 8, Mech.
 43. (18), Bruce Nesbitt, Chicago, Ill., Ford Mustang Cobra, 2, Engine.

 Time of race: 1 hour, 14 minutes, 00.319 seconds.
 Average speed: 83.426 miles-per-hour
 Margin of victory: 1.935 seconds
 Fastest race lap: Stu Hayner, 1:13.340 (120.261 mph), lap 42.
 Lap leaders: laps 1-42, Gentilozzi.

NTB Trans-Am Series Drivers' Championship Point Standings - 10 Race Total

Position, Driver, Car, Points
1, Paul Gentilozzi, Chevrolet Corvette, 285
2, Bill Saunders, Chevrolet Corvette, 215
3, Chris Neville, Chevrolet Camaro, 213
4, John W. Miller IV, Chevrolet Camaro, 205
5, Brian Simo, Ford Mustang Cobra, 204
6, Bruce Qvale, Ford Mustang Cobra, 188
7, Ross Thompson, Ford Mustang Cobra, 171
8, Leighton Reese, Pontiac Grand Prix, 152
9, Randy Ruhlman, Ford Mustang Cobra, 137
10, Michael Lewis, Ford Mustang Cobra, 135
11, Peter Shea, Ford Mustang Cobra, 124
12, Lou Gigliotti, Chevrolet Corvette, 116
13, Bob Ruman, Chevrolet Camaro, 115
14, Max Lagod, Chevrolet Camaro, 99
15, Bruce Barkelew, Ford Mustang Cobra, 91
16, Brian DeVries, Chevrolet Camaro, 86
17, Frank Cioppettini, Chevrolet Camaro, 72
18, Craig Shafer, Chevrolet Camaro, 70
19, Stu Hayner, Chevrolet Camaro, 63
20, C. David Seuss, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 55
21, Rick Lee, Ford Mustang Cobra, 54
22, Simon Gregg, Ford Mustang Cobra, 53
23, Don Sak, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 51
24, Greg Harrison, Ford Mustang Cobra, 38
25, Jerry Simmons, Chevrolet Camaro, 38
26, Don Meluzio, Chevrolet Camaro, 37
27, Rick Dittman, Chevrolet Camaro, 29
28, James Briody, Chevrolet Camaro, 28
29, Jon Leavy, Chevrolet Camaro, 23
30, Dino Crescentini, Chevrolet Camaro, 22
31, Dick Greer, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 22
32, Claude Poirier, Chevrolet Camaro, 20
33, Mark Pielsticker, Chevrolet Camaro, 19
34, Ray Genick, Chevrolet Camaro, 18
35, Alessandro Zampedri, Chevrolet Camaro, 18
36, Ed Hinchcliff, Ford Mustang Cobra, 17
37, Bill Gray, Chevrolet Camaro, 14
38, Steve Hodge, Chevrolet Camaro, 13
39, Paul Alderman, Ford Mustang Cobra, 11
40, Kerry Alexander, Chevrolet Camaro, 11
41, Eric Boisvert, Chevrolet Camaro, 11
42, Glenn 'Coach' Andrew, Pontiac Grand Prix, 10
43, Kenny Bupp, Chevrolet Camaro, 10
44, Ted Sullivan, Chevrolet Camaro, 9
45, John Restemeyer, Chevrolet Camaro, 9
46, John Halbing, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 9
47, Doug Mayr, Chevrolet Camaro, 8
48, Ned Yeaton, Chevrolet Camaro, 7
49, Bruce Nesbitt, Ford Mustang Cobra, 5
50, Joseph Freda, Chevrolet Camaro, 4
51, Albert Ruiz, Ford Mustang Cobra, 3
52, Kerry Alexander, Chevrolet Camaro, 3
53, Jim Todd, Chevrolet Camaro, 3
54, Frank Sanchez, Chevrolet Camaro, 2