Dillon Machavern outlasts Gar Robinson for TA2 win at COTA
November 5, 2016
TA2 Championship possibilities narrowed to two with Daytona looming
AUSTIN, Texas. [November 5, 2016] – Dillon Machavern emerged victorious atop the 22-car TA2 field at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), outlasting a 102.81-mile race that saw four official lead changes and an hour-long battle with defending TA2 champion Gar Robinson. Machavern would take the lead on the 25th lap of the 30-lap race, eventually growing the lead to four seconds before the checkered flag flew.
Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, began the race on pole but was overtaken by Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, on the first lap. Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort, began the race in seventh position and charged up to third over the course of the first two laps—commencing the race-long battle between the No. 74 and No. 24 with the two drivers constantly hounding each other around the 20-turn, 3.427-mile circuit.
Robinson would assume the lead on the ninth lap while Machavern shot between the two Robinson Racing teammates, taking back second place. The 21 laps of racing that followed saw Robinson and Machavern battle nose-to-tail and side-by-side for the vast majority of the race, pushing their TA2 machines to the limits. Machavern would eventually take and hold the lead on the 26th lap, opening up a gap over the final two laps—bringing the No. 24 past the checkered flag for his third career TA2 victory.
The win marks the season coming full circle for Machavern. After starting the season with four podium appearances in five races, the No. 24 proceeded to miss out on the following five as Machavern was constantly hampered by mechanical issues and poor luck on track. Now, with his second win of the season, Machavern finds himself back on the top step.
“About halfway through the season we really ran into some bad luck,” said Machavern. “We were struggling with mechanical issues but finally have made our way back on top. We were strong all weekend and knew we’d have a good shot come the race. TA2 is super competitive, and you’re always going to be run hard up front. You have to be able to keep it relatively clean, keep the car relatively straight and keep the tires underneath it. I have to thank the Mike Cope team, Flowtech Racing Engines and my parents for providing me this awesome opportunity.”
Robinson would finish second while Shane Lewis would finish third, surviving a lengthy battle of his own with Kyle Marcelli, in the No. 96 New Field Inc. Chevrolet Camaro. Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 5 Pennzoil Platinum/ MOMO/ ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro, had a strong second half of the race to secure a fourth place finish, working his way back from sixth position. Current points leader Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Mike Cope Ford Mustang, would finish fifth, completing a solid points day in his championship chase. Kyle Marcelli would turn the fast lap of the race a 2:17.385.
With COTA results in the TA2 championship battle being narrowed down to two competitors, defending TA2 champion Gar Robinson and current points leader Tony Buffomante. The difference between the two competitors stands at 25 points with Buffomante leading 277 to 252—leaving Robinson with the far greater challenge to overcome.
While Lawrence Loshak is within the 35-point margin of mathematical possibility, the driver of the No. 5 would fall short on wins in tiebreakers.
The TA2 title will be decided next weekend on Saturday November 12 as the Trans Am Series holds its 50th Anniversary Season Finale at Daytona International Speedway for Round 12 of the 2016 Trans Am Championship.
Earlier in the day the Trans Am Series held a TA, TA3 and TA4 multi-class race with Paul Fix winning the TA class, Tim Kezman TA3 and Todd Napieralski TA4. Full results from that race can be found at www.gotransam.com.
All results provisional until posted final.