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TRANS-AM: BFGoodrich Trans-Am, Mid-Ohio Preview

12 June 1998


(GREENVILLE, SC) --- The Trans-Am cars will return to natural-terrain road racing with an appearance at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 12-14. It will be a marked departure from the tight street course of Detroit, scene of Paul Gentilozzi's third race win last weekend, June 6.

A 2.25-mile road course, Mid-Ohio features a total of 13 turns. Among them, the Keyhole and the Carousel are two of the most famous turns in racing.

"Mid-Ohio tends to be like a roller coaster ride," said BFGoodrich Tires Director of Motorsports Herb Johnson. "There are sweeping, high speed turns and a series of elevation changes. The driver that can be smooth through all of these areas will likely come out on top."

Unlike Detroit, which is characterized by hard braking and hard acceleration, Mid-Ohio requires a race car that is fairly evenly balanced in order to be fast through both left-handed and right-handed turns. It is also important for teams to be able to put the power down early out of turns to get a run on the long back and front straight-aways.

"The BFGoodrich g-Force T/As are perfect for a fast track like this," said Bill Saunders, teammate to points-leader Paul Gentilozzi. "The construction of the tire and the compound both contribute to the high performance of these radial tires. On this type of track, they are among the best I've used."

Leading the charge this weekend will be Gentilozzi, seeking to extend his championship points lead with a fourth race win of the season. Also aiming for the top spot, however, is Brian Simo, early season favorite to make a challenge for the championship. Simo was fast at Homestead, finishing in second place, but struggled in Lime Rock and Detroit.

"Don't count Brian out," continued Johnson. "He's as stubborn as a mule and he desperately wants to win. It could come down to a Ford-Chevy battle yet."

Other competitors to watch this weekend are John Miller, IV, in an older-model Rocketsports Camaro, Mike Lewis and Ross Thompson (in Ford Mustangs), Leighton Reese in a Pontiac Grand Prix and Chris Neville, also in a Chevrolet Camaro.

Adding to the excitement this weekend may be the weather. Forecasts call for high temperatures and scattered showers early in the weekend. Competitors practiced in the rain at Long Beach and raced in wet conditions at Lime Rock. Emerging from Lime Rock with a race victory was Lou Gigliotti.

"The BFGoodrich g-Force T/A rain tires are outstanding tires," said Gigliotti. "They are a lot more durable than the Goodyears we used previously. If it rains, we might surprise some folks with our concept Mustang."

Practice for the Trans-Am cars begins Friday, June 12 with qualifying following on Saturday afternoon. The green flag will drop on the Trans-Am cars at noon, Sunday, June 14.

TNN will broadcast the race Sunday, June 14 at 2:00 p.m. Speedvision will re-broadcast the race the following day at 9:00 p.m.

BFGoodrich Tires has a long and successful racing history. In addition to its prior Trans-Am experience, the company has won races and championships in a variety of series, including: the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, IMSA GTP prototype competition, IMSA GTO, the Baja 500 and Baja 1000, SODA off-road competition and SCORE championships.