2000 marked the 35th season for the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am Series. The rights to the series was acquired by Ralph Sanchez and Don Panoz. BFGoodrich tires was the title sponsor. The twelve race season opened at Sebring, Florida in March and ended in November at San Diego, California.

There were a number of technical changes for 2000. The most obvious was the introduction of a spec rear wing. The wing was introduced as a means of equalizing the downforce of the cars while maintaining a more production-based appearance. It was felt that the use of a rear spoiler distorted the car’s original lines.

Along with the new look, there was a return to multi-valve cylinder heads and fuel injection – the first time since 1990. The multi-valve configuration (4-valves per cylinder only) was permitted on 275-cubic inch V8 engines and fuel injection was only allowed on 311-cubic inch V8 and the 275-cubic inch motors.

There was also new eligibility for a broad range of auto manufacturers and models. As a result, the grids which were traditionally filled with Ford and Chevrolet products now included the Jaguar XKR, Qvale Mangusta and the Oldsmobile Aurora.

Round two of the 2000 Trans Am Series was held on the 2.25-mile 10-turn road course at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The layout was a roval – using almost the entire 1.5-mile oval with an infield road course section. To slow the cars down a temporary tire chicane was positioned just before NASCAR turn-3. The chicane was hit and moved a number of times during the event but there was not any serious damage.

There were 37-entries for the 75-minute race with 21-cars being classified as finishers.

Round two of the 2000 Trans Am series was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Paul Gentilozzi in the No. 1 Jaguar XKR leads a group into turn one following a re-start. Behind him is the No. 28 of Lou Gigliotti in a Corvette, No. 9 Gary Johnson in a Ford Mustang and Tomy Drissi in the No. 15 Mustang.
Brian Simo finished second in the 1999 Trans Am Championship driving a Ford Mustang. Like 1999 champion, Gentilozzi, he switched manufacturers choosing the Huffaker prepared Qvale Mangusta. Simo won round one at Sebring and after 44-laps also took the top spot at Charlotte by just 0.689-seconds.
Turn one at Charlotte is very tight. The cars come off the very fast front straight and funnel into a concrete walled entrance for the road course. Just ask Peter Shea how tight it is. This crash in his Mustang on lap-35 brought out another full-course caution. As a result, he finished a disappointing twenty-second.
The 1999 series champion, Paul Gentilozzi, switched from a Ford Mustang to a Jaguar XKR. Gentilozzi led the first 11-laps at Charlotte before he was passed by Stu Hayner. On lap-17, he was forced to make a pit-stop when his right rear tire failed – the team replaced two tires. He was able to fight his way back to the runner-up spot at the checkered flag.
Veteran Lou Gigliotti qualified his Chevrolet Corvette thirteenth at Charlotte. During the course of the race, he was able to move through the field and finish sixth. A fifth place finish at the opening round in Sebring meant Gigliotti was third in points after Charlotte.
The surprise at Charlotte was rookie Jack Willes driving a Chevrolet Camaro. Willes was the Sports Car Club of America’s 1999 Pro Spec Racer series champion and probably had more laps around the Charlotte road course than any competitor. He started third and ran the entire race in the top-5. At the checker, he was the top rookie and earned a third place finish.
The only Pontiac entered in the event was driven by Leighton Reese. Driving a Grand Prix model Reece qualified seventh and by lap-12 he had moved up to fourth. He found himself in third when he was forced to pit with a flat left rear tire. Reece would finish ninth a second consecutive disappointing result after contact eliminated him while leading at Sebring.
Johnny Miller qualified his very colourful and multi-sponsored Chevrolet Corvette in sixth place - just missing out on the Fast Five. At the start Miller moved up to fifth but 3-laps later was passed by Stu Hayner. Unfortunately, Miller’s race only lasted 7-laps – he retired with an engine failure. This was the second motor he lost at Charlotte.
Making a return to the Trans Am series was Willy T. Ribbs. Ribbs first season was 1983 – in his Trans Am career, he won seventeen races. But his greatest “claim to fame” came in 1991 when he was the first African-American to compete in the Indianapolis 500. At Charlotte, he qualified eleventh and ran as high as fifth when he was forced to retire when the input shaft broke.
In the center of the podium, with his second win of the 2000 season, is Brian Simo. To Simo’s right is third place finisher – rookie - Jack Willes. Gentilozzi was credited with second place, however, he was penalized half his prize money and points for contact. After his pit-stop, Gentilozzi was making good progress when he knocked sixth place Randy Ruhlman into the wall.

12Brian SimoQvale Mangusta44-
21Paul GentilozziJaguar XKR44-
33Jack WillesChevrolet Camaro44-
412Chris NevilleFord Mustang Cobra44-
515Tomy DrissiFord Mustang Cobra44-
613Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette44-
714G.J. MennenChevrolet Camaro44-
810Randy RuhlmanOldsmobile Aurora44-
97Leighton ReesePontiac Grand Prix44-
1020Jon LeavyChevrolet Camaro44-
1117Bob RumanChevrolet Corvette44-
1222Steve PelkeFord Mustang Cobra44-
1331Jerry KinnChevrolet Corvette44-
1419Simon GreggChevrolet Camaro43-
1534Jim BriodyChevrolet Camaro42-
1632Richard La BarberaFord Mustang Cobra42-
1728Jerry SimmonsChevrolet Camaro42-
1829Tim CowenFord Mustang Cobra41-
1935C. David SeussOldsmoblie Cutlass40-
2027Dan FureyChevrolet Corvette38-
219John Paul Jr.Chevrolet Corvette36Mechanical
2221Peter SheaFord Mustang Cobra35Accident
2330Gary JohnsonFord Mustang Cobra33-
245Stu HaynerChevrolet Camaro30Accident
2516Kerry AlexanderChevrolet Camaro25Mechanical
2611Willy T. RibbsChevrolet Camaro19Mechanical
2725Mike DavisFord Mustang Cobra19Accident
2818Bill BentleyChevrolet Camaro17Mechanical
2933Don SakChevrolet Corvette16Mechanical
304Mike LewisFord Mustang Cobra12Accident
318Jeff AltenburgJaguar XKR11Accident
3223Craig ShaferChevrolet Camaro9Mechanical
3326Bruce DeweyChevrolet Camaro9Mechanical
346Johnny MillerChevrolet Corvette7Engine
3524John MacalusoFord Mustang Cobra4Mechanical
3636Chet WilliamsChevrolet Camaro4Mechanical
3737Dick GreerChevrolet Corvette0DNS

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