Trans Am Throwback: 1993 Trans Am at Belle Isle (FULL RACE HIGHLIGHT)
April 2, 2020
From the start, pole-starter Cindi Lux (No. 45 LuxPerformanceGrp/BlackRockCoffee / Dodge Viper), Ken Thwaits (No. 5 Wilwood Brakes/Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8) and Aaron Pierce (No. 26 Logical Systems Inc/Sam Pierce Chev Chevrolet Corvette) battled three-wide through turns and straightaways for multiple laps, until Pierce experienced mechanical issues and was forced to retire the race early. But, Adrian Wlostowski (No. 96 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang) was there to take Pierce’s place, inserting himself into the mix. Thwaits paid back Lux from qualifying using her drafting move to take first. He was able to hold on to claim his first win of the season and the Cool Shirt Cool Move of the Race Award. Lux took second and Wlostowski rounded out the SGT class podium in third.
Adam Andretti (No. 44 SRI Performance/ECC/ Anchor Bolt Screw Dodge Challenger) delivered on his post-qualifying promise to be respectful of Ernie Francis Jr. and Chris Dyson’s championship, but still managed to move himself into the winning position. Driving the same Pancho Weaver-built car that Boris Said drove to Trans Am victory just two weeks ago, Andretti reeled off a series of fast laps late in the race, closing nearly an eight-second gap in an all green race. The drive secured his first win at CoTA since 2015 and his maiden victory in the TA class.
Even though he only needed to start the race to secure the TA2 powered by AEM championship, Marc Miller took an emphatic Trans Am presented by Pirelli win at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday. Miller’s No. 40 Prefix/Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger was fastest in testing, practice, qualifying, and ultimately the 100-mile TA2 feature on Sunday. But as easy as he made it look on the iconic 3.427-mile, 20-turn circuit, the race was by no means an easy one for Miller to win. Scott Lagasse Jr. (No. 92 SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro) kept Miller honest for most of the 25 laps, even leading the race at one point. But Miller pulled it together, clinching his championship in style with his fourth win of the season. Lagasse Jr. finished a close second, with Edward Sevadjian claiming his first TA2 podium with a third-place finish.
Record-breaking Texas heat couldn’t keep Ernie Francis Jr. from claiming his second consecutive pole position (fifth of the season) at Circuit of The Americas during the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli qualifying on Friday. Wheeling his baby blue No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang, Francis Jr. was the only driver to touch times in the 2:07s on the 20-turn, 3.426-mile circuit with a fast lap of 2:07.991-seconds. The flying lap earned the defending TA champion an extra three points to the season-long championship battle, furthering his lead over second-place Chris Dyson (No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang).
Qualifying times could not have been tighter in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 class Saturday at Circuit of The Americas. When the dust settled, just over one tenth of a second covered the first two rows on the grid for Sunday’s 100-mile TA2 presented by AEM feature. While Marc Miller needs only to take the green on Sunday to clinch the TA2 championship, he pushed his No. 40 Prefix/Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger as if everything was on the line. He reeled off two laps before setting a flyer, the resulting 2m15.038s clocking earned the experienced Stevens-Miller Racing driver his third pole-position start of the season.
Lagasse Jr. was relentless in the pursuit of his second consecutive win at VIR. Starting from fifth, Lagasse Jr. fought to the front and was glued to Matos as he also fended off the pressure from Merrill and Miller. Merrill slipped in to take first on the restart, but Lagasse was on the hunt. On the white flag lap, Lagasse Jr. got airborne as he raced through the Roller Coaster section of the track. The incident, which is still under review by race control, saw his white Camaro come to rest upside down. He emerged from the incident unscathed, but was taken to track medical for precautionary review. “In my many years of high-speed racing, that was by far the worst crash that I’ve been involved in,” Lagasse said. “I am thankful for the M1 Racecars chassis and Simpson for keeping me safe. I was able to just FaceTime my daughter, which going through the air I never thought I would again. It was a tough one but I’m still here.”
With the TA2 powered by AEM class, fans never know what they’re going to see, and on Saturday at Virginia International Raceway the fans went from sitting on the edge of their seats, to cheering on their feet to holding their mouths in gasps as the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli drivers risked it all in effort to close the gap in the season-long championship. In an action-packed TA2 race full of drama from the front to back of the 25-car field, which is still under review by series officials, Thomas Merrill (No. 81 Skip Barber Racing/ Big Diehl Racing Ford Mustang) dodged incidents in the final moments of the 100-mile feature to secure Big Diehl Racing’s third win of the season.