TPR opens 2015 Trans Am with a Victory
March 11, 2015
(Sebring, Fl – Team Release) Sometimes change is good. For TPR, many off-season enhancements dominated the lives of each and every team member. The hard work was rewarded with a season opening win in the TA3 American Muscle class at Sebring International Raceway.
Marginal and unusual weather dominated the week as consecutive days of rain limited testing and practice sessions for all teams. Fortunately, one qualifying session on Saturday was dry and the TPR #39 Camaro, piloted by Todd Napieralski, qualified 2nd in class. After qualifying, Todd commented on the team effort. “I am happy with our qualifying time considering the track conditions and the fact this is our first time on track since November. We had many challenges just to be here. We needed to make a change in our team systems, our hauling equipment, and of course, the new rules mandate a completely new set-up for our cars. Last year, it felt like we were fighting with one hand tied behind our back so we reassessed everything and made many internal changes to improve our team. Buying and selling race equipment takes time and our transporter upgrade came together just a few weeks ago. We are definitely still moving in to our new home. As far as qualifying, the track is very rough and demands a specific set up. And then we have the new Hoosier R-7 tires this year. We need to get more data on their performance but so far, they feel really good.”
Heavy overnight rains gave way to humid and partly sunny conditions for the Sunday afternoon race. On the drop of the green flag, Todd maintained his position as multiple wrecks in front of and behind brought out the double yellow flag. “It was a crazy start, a few guys trying to win the race on the first lap, I guess. I was fortunate to avoid the incidents in turns 3 and 7.”
On the restart, Napieralski was chasing defending Champion and pole sitter, Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 9 Breathless Performance Chevrolet Camaro, for much of the race. However, Napieralski outlasted Francis as the No. 9 began to smoke and was forced to pull off, ending the defending Champion’s day. “We were on the back straight, the fastest part of the track. When his car failed, the smoke was intense. I couldn’t see the track or corner station. It was less dense on the inside so that’s where I went and luckily it was clear.” Todd held on for the remaining laps to secure the TA3 class win.
Napieralski’s win was his fourth victory in TA3 American Muscle and his first at Sebring with Trans Am. “We’re happy for the victory and all the support that Tremec, Chevrolet Performance, Backstreet Performance, and SKF gives us—you’ll be seeing a lot of us this year.” TPR also has a second TA3 Camaro available for funded drivers at select 2015 Trans Am events.