Trans Am Takes to Road Atlanta
March 26, 2019
The second chapter of the 2019 Trans Am presented by Pirelli championship story will be written this weekend as the series returns to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta March 29-31. The event will feature two races on Sunday, kicking off with the TA race that will also see the SuperGT and GT class machines in action. The TA2 powered by AEM event will close out the weekend.
Lawrence Loshak opened his 2019 Trans Am account with a TA class pole and win at Sebring as his Burtin Racing squad debuted an all-new livery for his No. 3 Pennzoil/GoShare Chevrolet Camaro.
"After a rough rookie season and a long winter break, we started the season with a clean slate and winning at Sebring showed what the team and car was really capable of doing,” said Loshak.” Scoring the win didn't make us complacent, it made us work even harder. Road Atlanta is Burtin Racing’s home track, so I know we are expecting the same results as Sebring.”
Coming off a second-place finish in the season opener at Sebring International Raceway, Chris Dyson will be looking to complete his family’s Road Atlanta dynasty and drive his No. 20 CD Racing Plaid Ford Mustang into the winner’s circle.
“Last year was a real special victory for us,” said Dyson, a veteran second-generation driver who scored his first career Trans Am triumph at Road Atlanta. “It was only our second race as a team in the series, and my second Trans Am race ever, and to go out, have a very competitive weekend and race head-to-head with Ernie France Jr. was a real boost in the arm for our entire effort. Ernie is a great young champion with a lot of experience. Winning that race put us in the championship chase all year, and it was a great start to our program.”
Road Atlanta has been a favorite track of the Dyson family. His father, Rob Dyson, won the SCCA GT2 National Championship there in 1981 in a Datsun 200SX, and Chris Dyson clinched his first IMSA championship there in 2003 in an LMP675 MG-Lola at the Motul Petit Le Mans.
“From my point last year’s victory was particularly special because it was the first race on the car for our branding partner, Plaid, and they are headquartered only 40 minutes from Road Atlanta,” Dyson added. “We had a lot of their key staff there to enjoy the race, and I hope we can repay it this year. Road Atlanta is one of my favorites – it’s one of those rare tracks that’s fantastic to drive in just about anything.”
Ernie Francis Jr. will return in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang, looking to make up championship ground after a mechanical setback at Sebring as he defends his 2018 Trans Am title.The two-time Road Atlanta Trans Am winner hopes to add to his impressive win tally with another run to victory this weekend.
“Last year, we had a really good battle at Road Atlanta with Chris Dyson that went all the way to the finish,” Francis said. “We had some contact at the end of the race and wound up finishing the race on his back bumper. This year, I want to take home the win. Road Atlanta is an extremely fun track to drive, especially in these TA cars. We’re carrying so much horsepower down that back straight. It’s crazy fast.”
In addition to Sebring winner Loshak, there are several drivers who have their eye on the Road Atlanta victory, including three-time Road Atlanta winner Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette; and last year’s third-place finisher, Simon Gregg in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Corvette. Gregg will look to add to the robust family legacy, as his father Peter won the inaugural Trans Am race at Road Atlanta in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche in 1973.
Rafa Matos continued his 2018 TA2 championship momentum in the No. 88 3Diminsional Services Group Camaro with a win over Marc Miller at Sebring, and will look to continue that run as the defending Road Atlanta TA2 winner.
Miller will race the No. 40 Prefix/Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger, while third-place Sebring finisher Scott Lagasse Jr. is in the No. 92 SLR/Fields Racing/M1 Racecars Camaro.
"The season is going exactly the way we were hoping,” said Matos. “I didn't make the same mistakes as last year in Sebring, and we got the win. My teammate Doug Peterson also did a great job at Sebring, finishing fourth and collecting points for the team championship. We have a good group of guys to make a strong effort for the championship this season and we are only able to do it with the help of our sponsors 3Dimensional Services Group, Sabelt, Howe Enterprises and Prefix Engines."
Matos continued, "I got my first win in TA2 last year at Road Atlanta and it's become one of my favorite tracks in the United States. I feel very comfortable on the circuit and am always very excited to race on it.”
The weekend opens with Trans Am testing on Friday. Saturday has practice from 9:15-10:10 a.m. ET, with qualifying beginning at 2:20 p.m ET. Sunday’s TA/SGT/GT feature race begins at 8:50 a.m. ET, while the TA2 Powered by AEM race set for 2 p.m ET.