Buffomante and Francis set tone in first practice sessions at BIR
July 1, 2017
Trans Am commences Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic
BRAINERD, Minn. [July 1, 2017] – Teams and drivers alike got their first taste of official Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli action this morning as the Series took to the 2.5-mile competition course at Brainerd International Raceway for the first practice sessions of the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic weekend, Round 6 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship.
In TA2, it was defending TA2 champion Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, who paced the field with a blistering 1:29.234 lap, a full second ahead of the rest of the TA2 field. Buffomante has a history of speed at Brainerd, having captured pole last year with a 1:31.192 lap—his drastic increase in speed demonstrating the impact of the new Pirelli tire package.
Following Buffomante in the session was Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, with a 1:30.361 lap and his Robinson Racing teammate Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, with a 1:30.458. Robinson has a history of success at Brainerd and has never missed the podium on the Minnesota-based track, having captured a third place finish in his Brainerd debut in 2015 and a victory last year.
Fourth quick for TA2 in the session was Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 5 Pennzoil/ ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro, with a time of 1:31.531; while Tom Sheehan, in the No. 97 LTK Insulation Technologies Chevrolet Camaro, completed the top five with a 1:31.686 lap.
The TA class was led by Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang, turning a 1:27.646, well under the qualifying track record set by Cliff Ebben last year, a 1:28.272. Francis enters the weekend on the back of four consecutive victories, his eyes firmly set on continuing the streak and his championship aspirations.
Second quick was Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, with a 1:27.829. Allegretta currently sits second in the point standings and is in the midst of a career year as well, with three podiums to his name already this season.
Two-time defending class champion Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, was third quick with a time of 1:28.158; while Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and Jed Copham, in the No. 44 BCRace Cars/ BIR Chevrolet Corvette, completed the top five with times of 1:28.875, and 1:29.147, respectively.
In TA3, Tim Kezman, in the No. 4 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, led the way for a Fall-Line Sweep of the top three with a 1:32.726. Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, was just behind with a 1:32.788; while Tom Herb, in the No. 16 also liveried Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, was third quick with a 1:33.014. This event marks the first Trans Am competition at Brainerd for all three drivers.
Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper ACRX, and Randy Kinsland, in the No. 11 Kinsland Racing Chevrolet Corvette, completed the TA3 top five with times of 1:33.622 and 1:35.347.
The TA4 class was led by rookie James Pesek, in the No. 00 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, with a time of 1:40.557, followed by his father, JR Pesek, in the No. 10 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, with a time of 1:41.589. Mel Shaw, in the No. 22 Bay Commercial Group Chevrolet Camaro, was third quick with a 1:44.673 lap.
The Trans Am Series will return to the track later today for another set of practice sessions at 11:30 AM CT.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will feature two 40-lap, 100-mile races, the TA, TA3 and TA4 multi-class Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic and TA2 exclusive Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge.
Fans can follow the action throughout the weekend at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.
Advance tickets may be purchased at a discounted rate online at www.gotransam.com/events, at www.brainerdraceway.com, or by phone at 1-866-444-4455. Camping is available; children under the age of 12 are free. Tickets may be purchased at the gate as well.
Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic Schedule:
Saturday July 1, 2017
11:30 am –12:00 pm TA2 Practice 2
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 2
2:30 pm – 2:50 pm TA2 Qualifying
2:50 pm – 3:10 pm TA Qualifying
3:10 pm – 3:30 pm TA3/TA4 Qualifying
Sunday July 2, 2017
11:00 am – 12:15 pm Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge
2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic
*all times Central Daylight
Live Timing: All on-track sessions can be followed at www.gotransam.com and on the Race Monitor app available on Windows, Android, iOS and OSX.
Text Commentary: Updates provided throughout sessions on Twitter at @gotransam.
Broadcast: This weekend's event will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network.
Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic (TA, TA3, TA4) – Jul 22, 12:00pm ET
Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge (TA2) – Aug 05, 12:00pm ET
About Ryan Companies US, Inc.
Founded in 1938, Ryan Companies offers comprehensive commercial real estate services as a national developer, architect, capital investment consultant, builder and real estate manager with a focus on bringing lasting value to its customers and the communities in which it works. Ryan market depth includes retail, industrial, healthcare and senior living. Ryan development and corporate build-to-suit work spans a wide range of product types including office, mixed-use, hospitality, multifamily housing and mission critical facilities. Ryan has nearly 1,300 employees in 13 offices and has completed projects in 38 states. For more information, visit ryancompanies.com.
About the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli:
The Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli, began igniting the passion of motorsports fans across the world in 1966 and has been home to some of the greatest names in road racing. Today, Trans Am continues to honor its legacy, while challenging the status quo in racing, through meaningful racing platforms and a driver-oriented focus. The Trans Am Series is operated by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC (TARC), and oversees the management and marketing of the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides operations services to the Series.
Defending Champions include: Amy Ruman (TA), Tony Buffomante (TA2), Randy Mueller (TA3) and Ernie Francis, Jr. (TA4).
For more on the Series visit www.gotransam.com, “like” Trans Am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam, or follow Trans Am on Twitter @gotransam