Tony Ave Racing and Ave Motorsports Sweep Front Row in Qualifying for Saturday's Trans Am Race at COTA
November 6, 2015
Second-Straight Trans Am Front-Row Sweep for Ave Motorsports As Paul Fix Wins Fifth TA Pole of the Season
AUSTIN, Texas (November 6, 2015) - Tony Ave Racing teammates Paul Fix and Doug Peterson swept the front row in qualifying for Saturday's debut Trans Am race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) where Fix won his fifth TA-class Fast Five pole of the season in the No. 4 StopFlex.com/TheCarCoach.com Corvette with a top lap time of 2:09.731.
Peterson will grid next to Fix for the start of tomorrow's race after clocking in at 2:10.703 for the second fastest lap of the session in the No. 87 3Dimensional.com Cadillac CTS-V. Both the No. 4 Corvette and the No. 87 Cadillac are prepared and entered by Tony Ave Racing and built on Ave Motorsports AR-1 chassis.
The top qualifying effort in Texas was the second consecutive race in which Tony Ave Racing's premier TA entries swept a front row. One race ago last month at NOLA Motorsports Park, Fix won the pole and was joined on the front row by Tony Ave himself, who was filling in for Peterson that weekend in the Cadillac.
"We're pretty confident in our cars for the race in TA," Ave said. "The drivers both feel that they have good long run cars and looked forward to some fine tuning in Friday's final practice."
Fix's pole puts him in the best possible position for the start of tomorrow's race as he looks to reel in TA-class points leader Amy Ruman with just two races left this season. Saturday's 30 lap (102.81-miles) Trans Am race, which is scheduled to go green at 4:00 p.m. CST, is Round 11 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship and will be followed by next weekend's season-ending race at Daytona International Speedway.
Fix, who topped Friday's final practice with a time of 2:08.664 that bettered his pole-winning lap, is only 11 points behind Ruman - 270 points to Ruman's 281 - heading into tomorrow's race. A win tomorrow on the 3.418-mile, 20 turn course would be the fourth of the season for Fix and cut into Ruman's points lead heading into the finale.
Fielding AR-1 chassied entries in both the TA and TA2 classes, Ave believes building his own race cars may bring his teams somewhat of an advantage at COTA, a new track this weekend for the Trans Am series.
"The COTA track is a very technical layout, particularly for our type of cars, so it's different enough from most of the places we run," Ave said. "Having the ability to customize your car to the track, as we can do as a constructor with a strong notebook for our chassis, is going to make a bigger difference than at a Road Atlanta, for example, where most people have experience. So, from that standpoint, it could be good for us."
In TA2 qualifying, Tony Ave Racing's teams didn't have a session as successful as their TA teammates but all three entries expect more in Saturday's race.
Ave, who drives the TA2 No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing Ford Mustang, qualified 10th.
"My TA2 car is actually a lot stronger than my 10th place qualifying spot indicates," Ave said. "We are having some fuel pressure issues with the new fuel system that we're developing for next year's mandatory package. If we can sort that by race time I intend to get right up in the mix."
Tony Ave Racing's other TA2 entries include Justin Napoleon and his father, Joe Napoleon, who race identical No. 90 and No. 91 TurnKey Industries/CommState Bank Camaros. The father-and-son team are Texas natives racing at their home track this weekend.
"Joe and Justin are confident that they will be able to advance," Ave said. "It is their only Texas race and they want to do well. Traffic for them in qualifying was a challenge and the fact we had a shortened session hurt their runs too."
In addition to Tony Ave Racing's "house cars," several TA competitors are running at COTA this weekend in race cars built on AR-1 chassis.
Cliff Ebben topped Wednesday's opening practice at COTA and qualified fourth in TA in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group AR-1 Ford Mustang.
Two other AR-1 chassis Corvettes will also be in action at COTA, including Road America race winner Jim McAleese in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates/Jetco Engineering Corvette, and Richard Grant No. 30 Grant Racing Corvette.
- Circuit of The Americas is the most modern motorsports facility in the U.S. but, as a Formula One track, has the tight turns and hard braking points that characterize most contemporary Grand Prix circuits. "As a driver, I do like the opportunity to run at such a first class facility," Ave said. "At the same time my strength has always been faster places with a higher bravery quotient, such as Mosport and similar tracks. So, I have to adjust my thinking a bit to maximize my performance here, but I have won at technical tracks before. It just requires a different approach."
Follow Ave Motorsports on Twitter at @AveMotorsports and on Facebook at Facebook.com/AveMotorsports. You can also follow the action throughout race weekends at www.GoTransAm.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/GoTransAm and on Twitter at @GoTransAm. Live timing and scoring for races is available online at GoTransAm.com/live-timing and on the Race Monitor app.