Marks edges Loshak in first COTA practice
November 3, 2017
Robinson, Fazekas and Lewis lead groups as Trans Am prepares for qualifying
AUSTIN, Texas. [November 3, 2017] — Justin Marks and the No. 25 Kattera Chevrolet Camaro set the tone for the weekend in Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli practice, edging the No. 50 Pennzoil/GoShare Chevrolet Camaro of Lawrence Loshak, 2:10.027 to 2:10.147 as TA, TA3 and TA4 class participants made their final preparations for this afternoon’s qualifying sessions for their Trans American race at Circuit of The Americas. In a separate practice session for the Trans American Muscle Car Challenge, the TA2 class was led by Gar Robinson in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro.
The event stands as Mark’s second appearance in Trans Am, following up on his pole-setting debut at Road Atlanta earlier this season that ended with a mechanical failure while leading the field. However, COTA does mark the debut for the No. 25 and Change Racing, as Marks, a sports car veteran and road course ringer, continues his pursuit of his first TA class win on the 3.427-mile, 20-turn COTA surface.
Also making a debut of sorts this weekend is Loshak, a long-time TA2 competitor now putting the TA class to the test with Burtin Racing. The Milwaukee native is the third guest driver for Burtin Racing in 2017, following in the footsteps of Martin Ragginger and Andy Lally.
Loshak was followed in the session by recently crowned 2017 TA champion Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 FramelessShowerDoors.com Ford Mustang, who is well within striking distance with a 2:10.249 lap of his own.
Current TA class runner up Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, and 2016 COTA race-winner Paul Fix, in the No. 4 StopFlex.com/TheCarCoach.com Ford Mustang, completed the TA class practice top five with times of 2:11.507 and 2:11.604, respectively.
In TA3, debutant Kurt Fazekas, in the No. 52 Kelly-Moss Porsche GT3, led the way with a 2:17.341 lap, nearly three full seconds underneath the previous track record, beating out current points leader Mark Boden in the No. 46 Fall-Line Porsche 911 GT3, who turned a 2:17.984 of his own.
Jason Daskalos, driver of the No. 7 Daskalos Racing Dodge Viper Comp Coupe, was third quick with a time of 2:18.077, while TA3 Rookie of the Year Tom Herb, in the No. 16 Fall-Line Porsche 911 GT3, was fourth with a 2:19.217. Fellow rookie Dirk Leuenberger, in the No. 35 Lux Performance Dodge Viper ACR-X, completed the TA3 top five with a 2:22.574.
In TA4, Shane Lewis, a TA2 frontrunner making a one-off appearance in the No. 22 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, led the way with a 2:23.020 lap. Lewis stepped behind the wheel of the No. 22 in relief of JR Pesek, away at a son’s football game, in tribute to Mel Shaw, a Trans Am competitor who passed away in SCCA competition earlier this year, who is featured on the livery.
TA4 points leader Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, followed Lewis in the session with a time of 2:23.610, with Lewis and Kleeman easily gapping the remainder of the TA4 field by over four seconds.
Joe Bogetich, in the No 65 WestOver Controls Chevrolet Camaro, was third quick with a time of 2:28.538, while Andrew Entwistle, in the No. 78 Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang, and Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ TREMEC Chevrolet Camaro, completed the top five with times of 2:28.565 and 2:29.787, respectively.
In TA2, current points leader Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, topped the charts with a 2:14.762 lap, which if replicated in qualifying later this afternoon would stand as a new track record.
Robinson, the 2015 champion currently in the midst of a championship battle with defending champ Tony Buffomante, has been quick throughout the weekend, showcasing the No. 74 in his home state of Texas on what he considers his home track.
Just behind Robinson in the practice session was Rafa Matos, in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro, with a time of 2:15.006. Matos has held the lead in two of his four TA2 appearances but is yet to register a win.
2013 and 2014 TA2 champion Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 79 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Camaro, was third quick in the session with a 2:15.251 lap of his, marking his return to TA2 in form after two rounds absence.
Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, was fourth quick with a time of 2:15.268; while Jason Hart, in the No. 77 Speedlogix Dodge Challenger, completed the TA2 top five with a time of 2:15.939.
The TA2 top ten also included, in order, Tony Buffomante, Adam Andretti, Tom Sheehan, Keith Prociuk and John Atwell.
Running alongside their East Coast counterparts were members of the 2017 Trans Am West Coast Championship, with 8 TA2 competitors, 2 TA competitors and a single TA3.
In TA, Tomy Drissi, in the No. 8 Murder on the Orient Express Chevrolet Corvette, edged Greg Pickett, in the No. 68 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang, with times of 2:11.972 to 2:14.094.
In TA2, Shane Lewis, entered in both TA2 segments West and East, topped the charts with his 2:15.268 lap over Thomas Merrill, making his debut in the No. 81 Big Diehl Ford Mustang, who turned a 2:16.166.
Chris Cook, in the No. 21 Team Shockwave Suspension Seating Chevrolet Camaro, was third quick in TA2 west with a 2:17.275; while Justin Napoleon, in the No. 90 Napoleon Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, and Brad McAllister, in the No. 24 Portland Implant Dentistry Ford Mustang, completed the group with times of 2:19.986 and 2:20.507.
In TA3, Guy Dreier, in the No. 13 Guy Dreier Designs Maserati Gran Turismo GT4, turned a time of 2:26.525.
Trans Am’s competitors will return to the track for qualifying sessions later this afternoon commencing at 5:00 PM CT.
Also featuring in an exhibition capacity were the No. 69 and No. 29 Ginetta Cars/Protein Water Ginetta G55-GT4s of Charlie Robertson and Parker Chase, with times of 2:16.609 and 2:17.560.
Fans of music and motorsport alike can join Trans Am for a special performance by Austin’s own Eric Tessmer Friday, November 3, at 7 PM CT in Paddock A. The concert is free to all credentialed and ticketed attendees and presented by AquaStar, Fast Five Racing and Lux Performance.
Trans Am Circuit of the Americas Schedule:
Friday November 3, 2017
5:00 PM – 5:18 PM TA Qualifying
5:20 PM – 5:38 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
5:40 PM – 5:58 PM TA2 Qualifying
7:00 PM Eric Tessmer Concert
Saturday November 4, 2017
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM Trans American – TA, TA3 TA4
4:35 PM – 5:50 PM Trans American Muscle Car Challenge – TA2
*all times central
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.
The weekend's events will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network.
The Trans American from COTA - TA, TA3, TA4 – Nov. 19, 1:00 PM ET
The Trans American Muscle Car Challenge - TA2 – Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET