Fix and Haley lead second practice at COTA
November 6, 2015
Haley sets TA2 track record in second chance qualifying
AUSTIN, Texas. [November 6, 2015] – With teams making final preparations for the Trans Am Series’ debut race at the Circuit of The Americas for Round 11 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship, the Series held its final practice session for the weekend and second chance qualifying. With 39 members of the 52-car field participating in practice and 15 cars electing to re-qualify, both sessions went towards setting the tone for the coming racing.
In practice, Paul Fix, in the No. 4 StopFlex.com/TheCarCoach.com Chevrolet Corvette, once more led the way in the TA class, following up his pole setting performance in yesterday’s qualifying session with a 2:08.664 lap time, eclipsing his prior time of 2:09.731. Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, also vastly improved her time, turning a 2:09.886 in practice in comparison to her qualifying effort of 2:11.447. Ruman’s practice time was second only to Fix’s, setting up an intriguing matchup for tomorrow’s race as number one, Ruman, and number two, Fix, in the point standings once more seem set on a collision course. Ruman will start fifth tomorrow and will doubtlessly aim on quickly moving her way through the rest of the field in her pursuit of Fix and first position.
Fix and Ruman were followed in the practice session by two-time defending Champion Doug Peterson, in the No. 87 Cadillac CTS-V, who set a time of 2:10.597 for third in the session. Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and John Baucom, in the No. 86 RoadRaceParts.com Ford Mustang, finished fourth and fifth in the practice session, with times of 2:11.944 and 2:12.556, respectively.
In TA2, rookie JJ Haley, in the No. 99 BraunAbility Chevrolet Camaro, led the way with a time of 2:16.544, followed closely by two-time defending TA2 Champion Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 1 MOPAR Dodge Challenger, with a time of 2:16.989. Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, was third quickest with a time of 2:17.081 while Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 74 Ranch Resort Ford Mustang, and Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 Engineered Components Chevrolet Camaro, rounded out the top five with times of 2:17.553 and 2:17.663.
The second chance to qualify saw both the TA and TA2 grid shaken up behind the locked-in “Fast Five” qualifiers from the previous session.
In the TA class, three drivers elected to participate and, in turn, all three improved their place on the starting grid. Michael Lewis, in the No. 12 Autocon Motorsports Jaguar XKF, turned a 2:11.377 lap time moving him up to sixth position, the highest possible in the session. He was followed by Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates Chevrolet Corvette, and Kerry Hitt, in the No. 19 Advanced Composite Products Cadillac CTS-V, turning laps of 2:14.063 and 2:14.388 to improve their starting positions as well.
TA2 featured its largest second chance qualifying session of the year with 15 cars participating, largely due to the red flag shortened qualifying session yesterday. Just as in practice, Haley showcased his ability behind the wheel this time setting a new TA2 track record with a time of 2:15.684, setting a new TA2 class track record for qualifying. The lap was quicker than the pole setting time of Lawrence Loshak, a 2:16.000, and moving Haley up from 27th starting position to sixth—the highest possible in second chance qualifying.
Kyle Marcelli, in the No. 96 M1Fastrack/PersonalChef2Go/NEI Chevrolet Camaro, also vastly improved his starting posting with a time of 2:16.775 moving him from 21st on the TA2 grid to seventh. Haley’s teammate, Travis Cope, in the No. 26 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, was third quickest in the session after turning a 2:17.040, moving from 24th to 10th on the grid.
Johan Schwartz, making his Trans Am debut in the No. 04 PD for Life Chevrolet Camaro, turned a 2:17.151 moving him from dead last on the grid to 11th; while Joe Stevens, in the No. 11 MOPAR Dodge Challenger, was also able to improve his placement moving from 18th on grid to 12th after a time of 2:17.405.
Trans Am will return to the track tomorrow, Saturday, November 7, 2015, for its COTA debut, Round 11 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship, at 4:00 p.m. central. The race will run 102.81 miles, 30 laps, or for a total duration of 70 minutes. Beforehand, Trans Am will hold a brief warm up session for all classes from 10:30 to 10:50 a.m. as drivers make their final adjustments in advance of the race.
Fans can keep up at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.gotransam.com/facebook and on Twitter at @gotransam. Live timing and scoring is available through the gotransam.com homepage once the session begins and through gotransam.com/live-timing and on Racemonitor.