Call it a double. Bob Stretch repeats as TA2 Champion.
November 5, 2012
Bob Stretch won the TA2 Championship in the 2011 Trans Am Series and came back in 2012 to find a drastically different class around him. The paddock was full of newer, faster cars, gleaming Camaros and new challengers. Wilson, Lawrence, Halsmer, Roehrig had all arrived, just to name a few. It was a class consisting of more rookies than veterans, and a huge amount of uncertainty.
Yet, Stretch responded by doing what he does best. Racing.
It was business as usual for Stretch until Watkins Glen, when the unexpected happened. The champ crashed. Totaling the #98 Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair Chevrolet Camaro. His team worked through the night on their backup car, but fell just short as the car failed just three laps away from the checkered flag and one second behind Halsmer, the eventual race winner.
Stretch would return at Road America with a new car, the #06 Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair Chevrolet Camaro. The end result was another victory for the 2011 champion.
Success also followed Stretch north to Brainerd International Raceway where he rattled off two more podium placements, holding a double digit points lead over Halsmer, his closest challenger.
While the first round at Road Atlanta didn’t go as planed for the champ, he recovered for the second and brought home a third place finish—enough to seal the deal as his 274 points outdid Halsmer’s by 23. Stretch looks back on the year as a learning experience.
“It was a learning year for us, but a good year. We added some cars to the table and really expanded our team, and that was really a steep learning curve for us. I was thankful to win the championship and I have to thank my crew who did some really incredible work throughout the year. My guys were always the ones who, if they had to work throughout the night, would get it done. Particularly at Watkins Glen, where we pretty much assembled a car overnight. That kind of effort is what led to our success."
"This championship is set apart from the others because of the technical challenges we’ve had with these cars, and, certainly it was great to win in 2011, but this year I’m racing against guys like (Pete) Halsmer and Cameron (Lawrence) making it more competitive. And the more competitive it is the more meaningful it is. It’s great to finish on top.”
For the Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair team, the 2012 season ended with another TA2 championship, insuring that Bob Stretch will be defending his title for at least one more year. As the the Trans Am Series continues to grow and the class continues to change, one thing seems clear–Bob Stretch will not be leaving the headlines anytime soon.
“Hopefully we’ll be running four or five cars next year and we’ll be better managed and more efficient as a team. In 2011 I ran by myself and without a crew. I thought I was never going to race in a pro series ever again. But Trans Am lured me in and it’s been great and we’ll be back next year.”