Trans Am Series to make 35th Appearance at Watkins Glen
July 4, 2012
The Trans Am Series will return to one of the hallowed grounds of road racing this weekend as the series marks its 35th visit to Watkins Glen as a part of the SCCA Glen Double Nationals.
The race will be the second stage of back-to-back weekends for Trans Am. Last weekend the series raced at New Jersey Motorsports park, with Amy Ruman and Pete Halsmer coming away victorious.
Ruman won the Trans Am division in her #23 McNichols/Goodyear Corvette, outlasting second and third place finishers Simon Gregg and Doug Peterson. The victory was Ruman’s third consecutive podium placement, she had previously placed third at Lime Rock Park and second at Mid-Ohio.
Ruman will not be without competition, as points leader, with 115, Simon Gregg has been one of the most consistent drivers of the season. Gregg is yet to miss a podium, and has two first place finishes to his name. He also has the most reliable car in the series. The #59 Gregg Motorsports Corvette has now gone 66 races in a row without a mechanical failure, a streak of dependency that is thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of Trans Am veteran Jim Derhaag. Derhaag, owner of Derhaag Motorsports, the managing team of the car, runs a tight ship and expects the car to finish:
“This is Trans Am, I never have expectations, but I do expect the car to finish because it’s gone sixty six in a row without a mechanical failure, and this will be 67 so I don’t expect to have any mechanical issues, but Trans Am racing is a shoot out street fight you never know what to think, you’re going to roll the dice and what’s going to happen will happen. You just never know. “
Then there is s the Trans Am division’s two-time defending champion, Tony Ave. While Ave continues to make history, he recently set a Trans Am record with 12 consecutive pole placements, he’s yet to make the podium, or even finish a race. Mechanical breakdowns have plagued Ave’s campaign but while the Championship appears to be a long shot, if he is able to keep his car on the track, he’ll be one of the favorites to take home a victory.
The TA2 division victory at New Jersey went to Pete Halsmer in the #12 Ctek Battery Chargers/Motorstate Camaro. Halsmer, who recently returned from sitting out Mid-Ohio due to back pain, was quick to resume his winning ways under Miller Racing. Halsmer will look for the same result at Watkins Glen, where he has more race time logged than any other competitor.
However, this time he’ll have a new teammate as Cameron Lawrence fills in for Mike Miller in the #11 Cteck Battery Chargers/Motorstate Camaro. Lawrence, the 19 year old from Windermere, Florida, will work with and study under the veteran Trans Am driver.
Bob Stretch, TA2 defending champion, will offer Halsmer stiff competition. Strech led for most of the New Jersey race and is the current points leader. His #98 Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair Camaro has been one of the fastest cars in the division for two years now, and its speed has just been enhanced with a new LS3 motor. Stretch holds a 22 point lead in the TA2 division and will want to increase that lead even further this weekend.
Finally, Michael Wilson has put forth a claim for victory at the Glen proudly proclaiming that he “is going to win the Glen.” It’s a claim he is perfectly capable of backing up, despite running an older car. Wilson is currently second in the TA2 points standing, with 97, and has also frequented the podium this season. He proudly claimed a second place finish at New Jersey, his home track, in front of family and friends. He’ll be taking his paddock bravado and enthusiasm with him to Watkins Glen.
Trans Am’s last appearance at Watkins Glen was in 2009, when Jim Goughary, Jr. was the victor. Tony Ave, Simon Gregg and Amy Ruman were all featured.