Gar Robinson Wins Trans Am Independence Day Classic at Brainerd, Returns to the Lead in the Championship Points Standings
July 11, 2016
TEAM NEWS - Gar Robinson took his second checkered flag of the 2016 Trans Am 50th Anniversary Season at Brainerd International Raceway, in the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic held on Sunday. For the second consecutive year, the Robinson Racing team celebrated the holiday weekend at the Minnesota circuit with fireworks on and off the track. In addition to Trans Am racing, the 30th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go, a Fourth of July tradition for race fans, featured drag racing, a classic car show, National Auto Sport Association racing, and live music.
“I do love Brainerd. I was excited to go back. We had a great time there last year, and I expected no different this year,” said Robinson. After a full day of testing sessions on Friday, Robinson had qualified for the race in fourth on Saturday.
“We struggled all weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t get on track with the same confidence, or as hooked up, as last year. We went into the race weekend with not the best car, and qualifying didn’t raise our hopes up at all either.”
Within the first half of the race, he had put the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro in the lead. “During the last practice session on Saturday, we made a few more changes; then, it came to be a car that I could at least race,” said Robinson. “When the race came, I told myself I had to run a perfect race and make as few mistakes as possible. I watched some of my competitors make mistakes and I benefited from that.”
Last year, Robinson placed third in his first race at the 3.1-mile road course at Brainerd, after intense battles with Tommy Archer and Dillon Machavern. This time, the same three drivers were back on the podium. Machavern won the race in 2015 and finished third on Sunday; Archer finished both races in second place.
“We were happy to see Archer, and it was nice to have him back after all he’s been through,” said Robinson. “It was fun to race with him again at his home track.”
Rewarded for his battle to maintain the lead, Robinson scored his third career CoolShirt Systems “Cool Move of the Race” at Brainerd International Raceway. Previous awards were at NOLA Motorsports Park last October and Daytona International Speedway last November, the season finale race in which he won the 2015 Trans Am Championship as a rookie in the TA2 Class.
“I was impressed with the way Lawrence Loshak raced me at Brainerd. Last time we raced so closely was at Road Atlanta in 2015, and it almost ruined our friendship,” noted Robinson. “This past weekend, he showed his colors, he raced me clean, and I saw how much better he had gotten in the past year. I don’t think I’ve gotten as close to someone in a race car and not had contact. Just as I always look forward to racing Adam Andretti, I’ll race Loshak all day long, no problem.”
With his win at Brainerd, Robinson returned to the lead in the championship points standings, eight points ahead of second place. He had been tied for first, after Round 4 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) in Millville. The Brainerd event marked Robinson’s fourth appearance in a row on the TA2 podium. He scored third place finishes at both Watkins Glen International in New York and NJMP. In Dual #2 of the Motor City 100, an invitational race in the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, he came in second. At Belle Isle in June, the team had debuted the new livery on the No. 74 featuring Pura Vida Tequila, Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top, Sully Erna of Godsmack and alcohol savings app bevRAGE.
Upon completion of Round 5 at Brainerd, Robinson’s teammate Shane Lewis moved up two spots: from sixth to fourth in the points standings. At the helm of the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, Lewis had qualified for the race in eighth place. Having gained momentum prior to the full-course caution which came out on lap 35, he fought to advance positions and finished the race in sixth.
“Brainerd is super fun, but it’s also a challenging track to pass on. Starting farther back and then racing hard with the middle group made it tough to catch the front runners,” noted Lewis. “I can’t thank the crew enough for giving me a great car. I’m so proud of Gar and the team for winning the race!”
Fans can watch the pony wars at Brainerd on television at the end of the month. The Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge will broadcast on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 1:00 pm ET.
Next up on the schedule for Robinson and Lewis is Round 6 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Saturday, August 13, 2016. The Trans Am Series runs alongside the NASCAR Xfinity Series Mid-Ohio 200. The Robinson Racing team had much success in 2015 at the renowned Ohio circuit. Robinson started the race in third, led the most laps, and went on to earn the first win of his Trans Am rookie year at Mid-Ohio. Lewis qualified in second, led laps, set a new TA2 track record for the fastest lap time, and finished second.
For more information, visit www.GoTransAm.com, and connect with Robinson Racing at www.RobinsonRacingTeam.com/social.
About Robinson Racing
Robinson Racing is a motorsports organization based in Milford, Michigan, with two Camaros competing in the 2016 Trans Am Series. In the TA2 Class, Robinson Racing runs the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Gar Robinson, winner of the 2015 Trans Am TA2 Championship and 2015 Rookie of the Year. The team also campaigns the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro in the Trans Am Series, driven by renowned endurance champion Shane Lewis. For more information, visit www.RobinsonRacingTeam.com.
2016 Trans Am Series | 50th Anniversary Season
Round 6 - August 11-13 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, OH
Round 7 - August 26-27 - Road America, WI
Round 8 - September 23-24 - Virginia International Raceway, VA