Hot, Action-Packed Summer Continues for Chris Dyson with Trans Am at Pittsburgh and Mid-Ohio
August 3, 2018
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (August 3, 2018) – This weekend’s Keystone Speedfest at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex marks the end of a six-week break for most of the drivers entered in the Trans Am Series’ top TA1 class. For Chris Dyson, who is currently second in points in the 2018 series championship and also maintains a dirt-track racing program in sprint cars, midgets and USAC Silver Crown competition, it marks the third of eight races on consecutive weekends.
“The Trans Am is my primary focus this season,” Dyson said, “but I’ve worked hard over the past several years to quietly develop my dirt short-track racing skills and this year I’ve been racing my own sprint car and USAC Silver Crown car. I really enjoy both road-racing and short-track racing, but for the next two weekends I’ll be totally focused on the Trans Am with our CD Racing Plaid Mustang.”
After finishing second in the first race of the 2018 Trans Am by Pirelli race at Sebring and winning the second round at Road Atlanta, on-track incidents led to fifth- and ninth-place results in the two most recent events.
“In the course of an 11-race season everyone is going to have some bad fortune,” Dyson said. “At Homestead and Indy I got caught up in incidents when other guys made mistakes. Sometimes that’s going to happen. I hope we’ve got that behind us now and we’ll have strong runs in the seven races left.”
While the Plaid Mustang was competitive from the moment the CD Racing crew rolled it out of the transporter at Sebring, competition in the TA class is keen and Dyson believes that a recent test at Virginia International Raceway has provided the team with additional tools for the upcoming races.
“All along we’ve had a good set-up window with the car,” Dyson said. “But the schedule on Trans Am weekends is tight and our time at VIR gave us an opportunity to try a lot of things we’d be reluctant to on race weekends because there’s so little track time. And because the weather during the test was hot, which is pretty much what we can expect for most of the remaining races, we think the data from the test will be useful.”
This weekend’s race will mark Dyson’s first visit to the 2.8-mile Pittsburgh-area circuit, but he’s been racing successfully at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for almost two decades. “Pittsburgh looks to me like sort of a cross between Monticello (Motor Club, in New York’s Sullivan County), Mid-Ohio and VIR. There are lots of technical corners but ‘flow’ is still important. You have to have a rhythm. And there's very little margin for error."
The weather forecast this weekend is for temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s which exacerbates the tire-management challenge that is inherent in the series’ 100-mile sprint races. “With the Trans Am car you always have to work on saving the tires,” Dyson observed. “With the hot weather, there will be a premium on tire wear – especially the fronts here with so many back-to-back corners. How long you're able to hold the car down in the corners determines how cleanly you can get on the power. And of course these TA1 cars have so much power that you have to be really disciplined with the throttle coming off the corners. It will be interesting to see who’s got tires left in the last few laps.”
Dyson has been in the Keystone State a lot recently. He is coming off two straight weekends racing in Pennsylvania with his sprint car and midget program. Following Mid-Ohio, the rest of the Trans Am paddock has a weekend off, but Dyson will be competing with his CD Racing Beast-Kistler in the USAC Silver Crown race on the Illinois State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt oval in Springfield before resuming his Trans Am schedule at Road America. Over the Labor Day weekend, there’s another Silver Crown race, this one at the classic Du Quoin fairgrounds one-mile dirt track, followed by the Trans Am race at Watkins Glen. Dyson will then enjoy his first weekend off in over two months before the Trans Am race at VIR.
“Business commitments meant that for the past two years I wasn’t able to do as much racing as I’d have liked,” Dyson said. “That dry spell has made me appreciate even more every time I climb into a race car. I couldn't be more excited about the racing schedule we have ahead of us the next several weeks."
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