Andy Lally takes Trans Am pole at Watkins Glen
September 9, 2017
Cindi Lux secures first TA3 pole of 2017, Brian Kleeman continues streak in TA4
WATKINS GLEN, NY. [September 9, 2017] – Andy Lally will start on pole come tomorrow’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli competition at Watkins Glen International as he makes his Series debut in the No. 50 GoShare/ Axalta Chevrolet Camaro. Also starting in front of their respective groups in the 102-mile, 30-lap multiclass competition will be Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Challenger, and Brian Kleeman in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang.
Lally captured pole by way of a 1:46.934-lap, shattering the existing qualifying track record 1:51.725-lap turned by Paul Fix in 2016, a mark passed by seven TA class qualifiers. For Lally, a veteran of all forms of motorsport, tomorrow’s race marks the fulfillment of a long-standing desire to step behind the wheel of a TA class car.
“I’ve been wanting to race in this Series for 21 years,” said Lally. “I got to go to Long Beach with Bob Ruman back in ‘96 and met Tommy Kendall there. I was just coming up the open wheel ranks and had been doing some sports car stuff at the same time, and really loved what I saw in Trans Am. Back as a kid, being in the pits… it was pretty wild! It took 21 years to find a ride here; I’ve been fortunate to find rides and race all kinds of stuff but I had never found a Trans Am ride. It’s an amazing car. It’s a lot of fun; the Burtin Racing guys have been great. It’s cool to be able to relate with some buddies of mine like Tony Ave and Amy Ruman and go out and mix it up with some of the guys I’ve been watching for the past couple years.”
“I was here two months ago in the Acura NSX in the Six Hours of The Glen and boy it’s quite a different ride,” said Lally. “I’ve run here in a Monster Energy Cup car, an Xfinity car, in prototypes— this is kind of a cross between an Xfinity car and a Daytona Prototype—it’s a little higher center of gravity and a little boxier but does it have a ton of horsepower. That’s the fun part. I like cars that are built tough, look like the cars you see on the street and have a ton of horsepower— and that’s this Series in a nutshell.”
Starting alongside Lally in tomorrow’s race will be current points leader and winner of six races this year Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang, who turned a 1:47.494-lap of his own. Francis has only missed pole in three Trans Am competitions this season and was victorious in two of those competitions, finishing on podium in the third.
Paul Fix, making a Trans Am return in the No. 4 StopFlex/Classic Tube/ Car Coach Chevrolet Corvette, completed the TA class qualifying top three with a time of 1:48.530.
Qualifying fourth was Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 1:49.653. Allegretta’s lap stands as a remarkable recovery after a brake failure in practice forced Allegretta to roll the No. 41 to avoid a head-on collision. The entire VA Racing team and multiple other Trans Am team members worked throughout the past 24 hours to repair the 41 in time for qualifying.
Qualifying fifth, and also making his Trans Am debut, was Chris Dyson, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V with a time of 1:50.183. Last year’s race winner and two-time TA class champ Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, qualified seventh with a time of 1:50.405.
In TA3, veteran Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, captured her first pole of the 2017 season with a 1:55.040-lap, also a new track record. Lux’s time eclipsed the prior TA3 qualifying record, a 2:05.900 set last year—showcasing the new Pirelli tire package and the Viper’s V10.
Qualifying second, and just a tenth off of Lux’s time, was Tim Kezman, in the No. 14 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, with a time of 1:55.141. Kezman’s teammate Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3, qualified third with a time of 1:55.641. Boden stands the defending TA3 class victor and current points leader with three wins so far this season.
Tom Herb, in the Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, turned a 1:57.465 to qualify fourth in class; while debutant Don McMillon, in the No. 51 Salasko Racing Chevrolet Corvette, completed the TA3 top five with a 1:58.412 lap.
In TA4, Brian Kleeman stretched his pole tally to six across seven races from behind the wheel of the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang with a record 2:00.699 lap of his own, breaking the existing record by over six seconds.
Kleeman currently leads the TA4 points championship by 32 points over runner-up Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ TREMEC Chevrolet Camaro, who quailed second with a 2:01.813 lap.
Steven Davison, in the No. 2 DaVinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin, qualified third with a time of 2:03.768, while Andrew Entwistle, in the No. 78 Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang, and Chris Outzen, in the No. 97 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, completed the TA4 top five with times of 2:04.368 and 2:06.235, respectively.
All three classes will take to the 3.4-mile track at WGI tomorrow September 10, 2017, at 11:00 AM ET for Round 9 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship.
Earlier in the day Tony Buffomante won the TA2 class competition at Watkins Glen, full coverage of which can be found at www.gotransam.com.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli weekend at Watkins Glen is being held in conjunction with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association and its US Vintage Grand Prix weekend.
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.