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Borkowski’s patience helps deliver his second straight Trans-Am victory

October 20, 1997

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Mike Borkowski snapped a Trans-Am auto racing record, got a start on one of his own, then moved up to a new car to drive.

After out-bumping Tommy Kendall Sept. 27 at Pikes Peak to finally end the four-time series winner’s 1997 streak at 11, Borkowski found patience on Sunday, figuring it was best to let two hard-charging drivers take each other out in a three-lap shootout to end the season.

He did and saw Paul Gentilozzi and Brian Simo swap paint, then bodywork before smacking the wall.

``I honestly was surprised it took that long,″ Borkowski said after collecting his second consecutive victory in a series otherwise dominated this year by Kendall.

``They’re both really, really aggressive. They’d been dying to win a race,″ he said.

Borkowski’s patience was rewarded with a victory in the 1-hour, 33-minute race over the 1.27-mile, 11-turn course that snakes through the Reno Hilton’s parking lot.

The Trans-Am rookie of the year won’t be making a return in 1998.

He has teamed up with Bobby Rahal in the CART driver’s step into Indy Lights sponsorship.

Borkowski’s discretion after the end of a full-course yellow with three laps left was a marked contrast with his bump-and-run at Pikes Peak where he got the better of Kendall.

Kendall, who took his fourth series championship with 11 straight victories before finishing second to Borkowski last month, was never a factor after his power steering failed on the eighth lap, leaving him with just his arms to get the car through the turns.

Simo, because of the crash, finished ninth, giving him 277 points and No. 2 for the season, far behind Kendall’s 411 points. Borkowski was third with 275 points.

Max Lagod finished second Sunday, followed by Leighton Reese and Gentilozzi. Hometown favorite Rick Lee was fifth in the green-and-white Reno car.

Gentilozzi, who started from the pole position and swapped spots with Simo throughout the race, also was involved in a first-lap encounter with Dorsey Schroeder that put Schroeder in the pits for 15 laps worth of front end work.

Schroeder and Gentilozzi ended the season tied for sixth with 265 points each, behind Jon Gooding’s 272.

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