1n 1996, the Sports Car Club of America celebrated the thirty-first season of the Trans Am Championship.
Trans Am rules require that vehicles be constructed with a purpose-built tube frame chassis. The top chassis builders include Riley & Scott, Roush, Weaver, Selix-Weaver, Hoerr and Rocketsports. The bodies are made of composites, such as carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass. The rules stipulate that the cars should maintain the recognizable external features of the manufacturer's model while providing flares necessary to keep the tires inside the bodywork. SCCA Pro Racing uses body templates to ensure the shape of cars is within designated tolerances. Cars are required to use the stock windshield or an approved alternative, which has to be mounted in the original location and at the original angle. The rules also dictate the use of the stock taillights, which are often the only production parts on the vehicles. The popular models are the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang; however other vehicles eligible for the series include the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Daytona, Pontiac Grand Prix and Trans Am and Oldsmobile Cutlass. Car styles cannot be more than five years old. All cars are required to use an American-based engine. The rules allow a 358 cubic inch 9:1 V8 engine with a car weight of 2700-lbs or a 355 cubic inch tipping the scales at 2775-lbs. Another option is a V6 with a 275 cubic inch engine weighing 2500-lbs. But the most popular choice is a 311 cubic inch motor. All options must be fitted with a 4150 Holley carburetor.
The fourteen race season began in February at St. Petersburg and is followed by a second event in Florida at Homestead. Next, teams travel to the west coast to compete at Long Beach and Phoenix. Upon returning to the east, the championship makes stops at Mosport Park and Lime Rock Park. On the calendar next is a string of events conducted on temporary circuits at Detroit, Cleveland, Ohio, Minnesota and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. In August, the championship visits Watkins Glen International and Road America. The penultimate weekend of the championship is held in Dallas, with the finale taking place on September 22nd in Reno.
To raise the excitement of the races, the sanctioning body, Sports Car Club of America, instituted a Fast Five qualifying procedure. The five fastest qualifiers were inverted for the start. This led to a number of different qualifying strategies – some teams decided to run slower for a better starting position while others tried to be the quickest and earn the bonus points.
Mosport was the fifth round of the 1996 Trans Am series. It was also the series’ nineteenth visit to track.
|Twenty-one starters prepare to take the starters flag as they round Mosport’s last turn. The first lap was waved off after Ron Fellows moved ahead of pole sitter Paul Gentilozzi.|
|Eventual winner Paul Gentilozzi in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro leads Ron Fellows early in the race. Gentilozzi qualified fifth which gave him the pole for the race. He led all 40-laps finishing just 0.349-seconds ahead of Jamie Galles. This was the 46-year-old Gentilozzi's third Trans Am career win - his last victory was in 1992.|
|Local favourite Ron Fellows driving a Chevrolet Camaro qualified fourth which meant he shared the front row with Paul Gentilozzi. Unfortunately, on lap-18 Fellows dropped a valve causing the engine to blow which resulted in a seventeenth place finish. In 1996, he would score four victories and finish third in the final standings.|
|Ron Fellows teammate, Jamie Galles, qualified and started third. When Ron Fellows dropped out of the race, Galles inherited second and put pressure on Gentilozzi. Despite his best efforts, he could not pass Gentilozzi but left Mosport with the points lead.|
|A false start on the pace lap created an accordion effect causing Kenny Wilden to run into the back of fastest qualifier and fifth place starter Tom Kendall. Kendall was forced to make two pit stops to correct the damage to the rear of the car. After another stop mid-race, for new tires, caused him to fall back to tenth but Kendall was able to move up to third at the race's conclusion.|
|Kenny Wilden’s Chevrolet Camaro shows the effects of his incident with Tom Kendall. The seventh place starter only completed two laps – retiring as the result of an oil leak. Wilden was credited with a twenty-first place finish.|
|Scott Sharp was entered in the No. 33 Rain-X Chevrolet Camaro. After the first four rounds he was third in the Trans Am standings, however, Sharp was also set to compete in the Indy 500. Rather than attending Mosport he chose to stay in Indianapolis for additional practice. This decision was not supported by team owner Greg Pickett or Chevrolet, who were committed to Sharp's Trans Am effort.|
|Boris Said ran a strong third behind Gentilozzi and Galles for much of the race. However, with 10-laps to go he broke a rocker arm. The loss of power allowed Kendall, Pickett and Brian Simo to pass him – he finished sixth.|
|1||5||Paul Gentilozzi||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|2||3||Jamie Galles||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|3||1||Tom Kendall||Ford Mustang||40|
|4||9||Greg Pickett||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|5||8||Brian Simo||Ford Mustang||40|
|6||6||Boris Said||Ford Mustang||40|
|7||2||Dorsey Schroeder||Ford Mustang||40|
|8||11||Bill Saunders||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|9||13||Dale Phelon||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|10||12||Max Lagod||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|11||14||R.J. Valentine||Chevrolet Camaro||40|
|12||16||Leighton Reese||Pontiac Grand Prix||39|
|13||18||Craig Shafer||Chevrolet Camaro||38|
|14||17||Kenny Bupp||Chevrolet Camaro||36|
|15||21||Glenn Andrew||Chevrolet Camaro||30|
|16||10||Jon Gooding||Ford Mustang||27|
|17||4||Ron Fellows||Chevrolet Camaro||17|
|18||19||John Miller||Chevrolet Camaro||11|
|19||20||John Habling||Chevrolet Camaro||8|
|20||15||Don Sak||Oldsmobile Cutlass||5|
|21||7||Kenny Wilden||Chevrolet Camaro||2|
|22||22||Jerry Simmons||Chevrolet Camaro||DNS|
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