Trans Am Kicks Off Busy Summer Stretch
August 6, 2019
Key Rounds in 2019 Championship battles still ahead for Trans Am Series drivers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. ( 6 August 2019) For the drivers and teams looking to claim the championship crown at the end of the season, the Trans Am presented by Pirelli event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend escalated the stakes as the race kicked off a busy late summer run of four events in six weeks.
With so many points on offer, the stretch can make or break a championship. Each venue represents a challenge to get the right set up as the drivers have an extra consideration when it comes to risk versus reward with so many events in succession.
“First drivers have to finish the race,” said Trans Am Series President John Clagett. “Running incident-free means that the teams can focus on normal maintenance programs as much as possible. Indy, Mid-Ohio, Road America and Watkins Glen – these are among America’s iconic tracks and Trans Am shines at these venues.”
The first leg of the mid-west trek started last weekend (Aug. 1-4) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On the heels of a dominant win at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day in his No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang, Chris Dyson was looking for a bit of redemption on the 2.43-mile road course as he tried to extend his narrow point lead in the Trans Am class Saturday over Ernie Francis Jr.
“Indianapolis was a tough race for us last year,” said Dyson, who finished third in points in the 2018 season and was named Rookie of the Year. “Coming to Indy we were second in points, close behind (eventual champion) Ernie (Francis, Jr.). We’d qualified in the first two rows and finished in the top five in all the previous races. We looked certain to have at least a podium on the cards, and then about halfway through the event, a competitor slowed suddenly right in front of me and collected us. It was a tough pill to swallow. But that is racing sometimes, and we've put that event behind us.”
Dyson got the Brickyard redemption he was hoping for, taking the checkered more than 23 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Francis. Jr. during the 100-mile feature last Saturday.
“IMS means so much to family, my dad has been coming her for over 50 years with my grandfather, and to win here means so much to me,” said Dyson. “We were the beneficiary of good fortune and capitalized on it.”
Immediately after tearing down on Sunday, the field of TA, TA2, SGT and GT class teams will make their way to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug.8-10 for the FirstEnergy Mid-Ohio 100.
With more than 50 entries slated as part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Mid-Ohio, the Trans Am Series will continue its legacy of road racing at one of the nation’s most treasured tracks with two races on Saturday.
Ohio native Amy Ruman (No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette) has a lot of history at Mid-Ohio, turning hundreds of laps on the technical 2.4-mile, 15-turn course through her career. Some bad luck has followed her home over the last couple years and she looks to turn her luck around in front of a huge gathering of friends and family that will be on site to cheer her on.
“Having a hometown race all my fans, friends and family come out, but unfortunately the last few years we haven’t had great results there,” Ruman said. “I am hoping for a successful podium finish, if not a win, at our hometown track in front of everyone. It takes a lot to finish all the races with such a short turnaround. The guys have done a lot of prerace prep to keep everything mechanically working and out of trouble during the races. Not having any damage to repair is key.”
After two weeks on the road, the Trans Am drivers will get one week to relax before making their way to another classic circuit when the series heads up to Plymouth, Wisconsin, for the Ryan Companies Road America Classic Aug. 22-24.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will make its 47th appearance at Road America, featuring a robust multi-class field for the event weekend, which will also play host to the NASCAR Xfinity runners.
Wisconsin native Tim Kezman got his summer stretch going with a positive note as he won at Indanapolis. While he has countless laps around Road America in his No. 44 Lemons of Love Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, he believes that he will have better performance out of his SGT car at the more technical Mid-Ohio circuit.
“I like having this many races grouped together because it helps me keep in rhythm,” Kezman explained. “All the courses are completely different. Going from a technical track like Mid-Ohio to a track with long straights like Road America requires a lot of set up changes. We are a better car for Mid-Ohio the long straightaways hurt us at any track because we don’t have the horsepower or torque to carry us.”
Following the showdown at Road America, competitors and teams will make their way to iconic Watkins Glen International for a weekend-long celebration of American motorsport alongside SVRA, Sept 5-7.
Watkins Glen’s 3.40-mile Grand Prix course is the last circuit on the intense run of a four-race haul, and it’ll be make-or-break time for numerous Trans Am competitors vying for year-end podium finishes and national championships.
Last season, in a race that saw four different leaders, Tomy Drissi held off his hard-charging Burtin Racing teammate Lawrence Loshak, over the course of the final six laps to take the checkered in the TA class.
As a California native, the long haul from coast to coast so frequently starts to take a toll not only on him but also his family.
“I have to thank my family for all the support that they give so I can race,” Drissi said. “Racing is a tough sport and it takes a lot of dedication and a lot of understanding from family. Last year at The Glen, is one I’ll never forget. Boris Said was one of the first to come up and congratulate me. I was completely amazed. We had an epic race in 2009 and after leading, we finished second. So it was nice to come back to take the win. I wouldn’t be able to travel and follow my passion without the support from the Lucas Oil and Slick Mist.”
Following the round at Watkins Glen, Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli has three races on the 2019 schedule to determine the championship to Virginia International Raceway, the Circuit of the Americas and Daytona International Speedway.