On This Day in Trans Am History: May 17, 1998

May 17, 2020

On This Day in Trans Am History: May 17, 1998

May 17, 1998

Paul Gentilozzi took his second-consecutive victory driving the new Corvette C5 in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, winning the Sports Car Extravaganza at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex.

Gentilozzi went on to win seven races in the Rocketsports No. 5 AutoLink Corvette en route to capturing his first Trans Am championship.

Unlike his flag-to-flag triumph in the season-opener at Long Beach – his first career victory – Gentilozzi had to work harder at Homestead. After winning the pole with a lap of 97.363 mph, Gentilozzi and Brian Simo swapped the lead four times. Simo took over on lap three in the Valvoline Ford Mustang Cobra and led 16 laps. Gentilozzi went ahead for six circuits before the Mustang driver regained the point on lap 33. Gentilozzi made his winning mover on lap 33, leading the final 13 circuits and beating Simo to the checkered flag by 6.536-seconds.

Johnny Miller IV matched his career best by placing third in the P.L.C. Direct Chevrolet Camaro. Miller and his crew arrived in South Florida several days before the event, taking their Camaro to several locations in Miami Beach and Key Largo to promote the race. The work paid off, with a nice turnout. Trans Am headlined the five-star weekend at the Homestead circuit, joined by the USRRC Can-Am and GT, US F2000 and Motorola Cup.

Rounding out the top five were Randy Ruhlman in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Mustang and Chris Neville in the No. 40 Safariland Camaro.

Current competitor Simon Gregg made his third career start in the No. 59 Ford Mustang Cobra fielded by Lou Gigliotti, but retired early with transmission trouble.


Cover photo: After extensively promoting the event, Johnny Miller IV scored his second-consecutive podium finish in the P.L.C. Chevrolet Camaro. Mark Windecker photo

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