First Time Pole Winners Ragginger and Matos top Trans Am Qualifying at Road America
August 26, 2017
Debutant Daskalos and points leader Kleeman pace TA3 and TA4
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. [August 26, 2017] – The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli saw a duo of first-time pole setters in their respective classes with Martin Ragginger and Rafa Matos claiming the top spot in TA and TA2 class qualifying today at Road America. Both Ragginger and Matos will lead their respective classes as the Series holds two 101.2-mile races for Round 8 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship tomorrow, August 27. Joining the TA class in multi-class competition will be the TA3 and TA4 classes, with Jason Daskalos and Brian Kleeman starting upfront in their respective fields.
In the TA class, Martin Ragginger, behind the wheel of the No. 50 Goshare/Axalta Chevrolet Camaro, secured his first career TA class pole with a 2:06.278 lap around the 4-mile Road America course. The pole stands as the first of the season for the Burtin Racing team, coming in only Ragginger’s second start in the TA class. Ragginger has a prior pole in the Trans Am Series, coming in the TA3 class at Daytona International Speedway in 2015.
Ragginger made his TA class debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the previous round of Trans Am racing, and was quick throughout the weekend but was denied the opportunity to top the qualifying charts after the session was scrubbed by standing water and lightning. After the Mid-Ohio race was gridded on points, Ragginger drove from the back of the field to second, falling just short of the top step to Ernie Francis, Jr., who led the entirety of the race. This time Ragginger made the most of the session topping the TA class charts by nearly a full second.
Francis, Jr., driver of the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang, will start alongside Ragginger tomorrow on the outside front row by way of a 2:07.246. Francis has won five of seven Trans Am contests so far this year and has three career TA4 class victories at Road America.
Hometown hero and last year’s victor Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang, was third quick with a time of 2:07.362. Ebben stands tied with Tommy Kendall for most TA class wins with three apiece—Ebben’s coming in 2009, 2011 and 2015.
Current TA class points runner-up Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, and two-time defending champ Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, completed the class top five with times of 2:15.903 and 2:16.099, respectively. The top ten also included, in order, Tomy Drissi, Dave Ruehlow, Simon Gregg, David Pintaric and Denny Lamers.
The TA2 class also saw a first-time pole sitter with Rafa Matos, driver of the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro, turning a track record 2:13.627 lap in his third career TA2 appearance. Matos, known best for his career throughout the IndyCar ranks, made his TA2 debut earlier this year at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix where he finished second after a charge through the field. Now with pole position for tomorrow’s TA2 exclusive Road America Muscle Car Challenge, Matos is in prime position to secure another career first— at TA2 victory.
Starting alongside Matos will be current points leader Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, who turned a 2:14.627 of his own. Robinson entered the Road America round with a 27 point lead atop the championship after a blistering start to the season that saw him capture three victories in seven competitions while never finishing lower than fourth position.
Third quick in qualifying was defending champ Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, with a time of 2:14.616. Buffomante enters the weekend on the back of two consecutive victories at Mid-Ohio and Brainerd International Raceway and also stands as the defending race winner here at Road America.
Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, was fourth quick with a time of 2:14.687; while Justin Haley, in the No. 99 Justin Haley Motorsports Ford Mustang, completed the top five with a time of 2:14.696.
The TA2 class top ten also included, in order, Scott Lagasse, Jr., Adam Andretti, Lawrence Loshak, Cameron Lawrence and Keith Prociuk. The TA2 qualifying session was cut short after the No. 96 of Kyle Marcelli was stopped in a location deemed unsafe by officials, causing a red flag and ensuing checkered.
In TA3, debutant Jason Daskalos, in the No. 7 Daskalos Racing Dodge Viper, set pole with a 2:14.781 lap—marking the third consecutive session he’s led this weekend. Dakalos’ time stood nearly a second faster than the nearest TA3 qualifier and well below the previous class qualifying record, a 2:18.230 set by Cindi Lux in 2016.
Current points leader Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, turned a 2:15.5891 to secure second starting position in class. Boden won the TA3 class last round at Mid-Ohio and was the TA3 victor at Road America last year.
Boden was followed in the session by veteran Cindi Lux, in the No. 41 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, who turned a 2:15.887 to complete the TA3 top three; while Conor Flynn, in the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Automotive Porsche 997, and Tim Kezman, in the No. 4 Fall-Line Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, completed the top five with times of 2:15.903 and 2:16.099.
TA4 saw points leader Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, set a new track record 2:20.859 en route to his sixth pole of the season. Starting alongside Kleeman will be the driver chasing him in the championship, Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ TREMEC Chevrolet Camaro, who is debuting a new car and partnership with Chevrolet Performance focused on the development and validation of production parts. Napieralski turned a 2:23.852 from behind the wheel of the No. 39 in its maiden qualifying session.
The TA3 class also saw Joe Bogetich, in the No. 65 Westover Controls Chevrolet Camaro, and JR Pesek elect to qualify, turning lap times of 2:24.903 and 2:27.425.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will return to the track at Road America tomorrow for its two 101.2-mile competitions, the Trans Am Road America Classic, featuring TA, TA3 and TA4, and the Road America Muscle Car Challenge, featuring TA2, with green flags scheduled for 7:55 AM CT and 9:10 AM CT, respectively.
Provisional Results in PDF Format:
Trans Am Road America Event Schedule:
Sunday August 27, 2017
7:55 AM — 9:05 AM Trans Am Road America Classic - TA, TA3, TA4
9:10 AM — 10:20 AM Road America Muscle Car Challenge - TA2
*all times central
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.
This weekend's event will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network.
Trans Am Road America Classic - TA, TA3, TA4 - Sept 20, 2017, 10:00 PM ET
Road America Muscle Car Challenge - TA2 - Sept 27, 2017, 7:00 PM ET