Fix goes flag-to-flag at NOLA; Mueller secures TA3 Championship
October 15, 2016
Streimer and Ricci capture victories in TA3 and TA4 in Trans Am Round 10
AVONDALE, La. [October 15, 2016] – Paul Fix captured his fourth win of the 2016 Trans Am Championship with a flag-to-flag victory at NOLA Motorsports Park, Round 10 of the Series’ 50th Anniversary Season. The win puts Fix just one point off of current points leader, and defending TA class champion, Amy Ruman, who finished second. In TA3, Randy Mueller secured the TA3 Championship despite finishing sixth in class, while Steve Streimer captured his second victory of the year in the class and Dave Ricci secured his first career win in TA3.
For Fix, in the No. 50 StopFlex/ TheCarCoach.com/ Chevron Techron, the victory sees the culmination of a second half surge through the points, now with just a single point separating him from Amy Ruman; combined with Cliff Ebben just nine points behind Fix, the TA class seems destined for one of its most dramatic finishes in recent memory.
“I’ve just been keeping my head down,” said Fix. “The guys have been putting together a great car. We had some setbacks early on in the year, some mechanicals and stuff like that and the guys have been spot-on the last few races. They’ve given me the opportunity to really concentrate on putting down consistent laps and focusing on wins, and that’s been the key.”
Fix began the race on pole and never relinquished the position, holding it through 34 laps and a single restart. Now with NOLA behind him, Fix’s focus is firmly set on the remaining two races.
“These last two races are nothing to take lightly, that’s for sure,” said Fix. “Amy and Cliff are both great drivers, and you can’t get ahead of yourself. You need to focus on what is, and concentrate harder than you’ve ever concentrated just to make sure those mechanicals don’t happen or anything else—so we can finish off really strong and let it come to us.”
Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, started the race in third position behind Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group Ford Mustang, but quickly moved into second coming out of the first turn. Ebben, who entered the race tied with Ruman atop the points, would hold third until picking up a flat right front tire on the restart, forcing a pit stop. Ebben would finish 10th.
Ruman would hold second for the remainder of the race, never reeling Fix in, to secure her fifth podium of the year. Jim McAleese would join the two championship contenders on podium in third, his third top three finish of 2016. John Baucom would finish fourth and David Pintaric fifth.
In TA3, Steve Streimer, in the No. 42 Lux Performance Dodge Viper ACR-X, who began the race on pole, would fend off early challenges from Randy Mueller, plenty of multi-class traffic and a hectic restart to capture his second victory of the year.
“Early on Randy was doing a great job catching me in the braking zones,” said Streimer. “He was a little bit quicker in the esses, but unfortunately he had a problem. We had a dialed in car today. Hoosier Tires and Lux Performance had us well underway. The restart was pretty crazy, a lot of intermixed classes, so we just had to hang on and make it through cleanly. A big thanks to Lux Performance and my instructor and teammate Cindi Lux for helping make this happen.”
Streimer was joined on the podium by Lux herself, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, securing a 1-2 finish for the Oregon-based team, while Michael Camus, in the No. 08 Bizbloom.com/MCMHoldings BMW M3 finished third. The second place finish was Lux’s fifth podium of the year, while Camus captured his second consecutive podium finish. Milton Grant would finish fourth in the TA3 class with Randy Kinsland finishing fifth.
The celebrations continued in the Epic Motorsports paddock as well, with Camus’ teammate Randy Mueller, driver of the No. 0 BizBloom.com/ Epic Motorsports BMW M3, securing the TA3 Championship, completing a sweep of the Overall, Spring and Fall Championships for the production-based class. While Mueller finished sixth in class today, bringing a damaged No. 0 past the checkered flag, his season-long effort has been nothing short of remarkable with three wins and eight podiums in the class’ most attended season in Trans Am history.
“Everyone at Epic Motorsports has put a lot of effort into this Championship,” said Mueller. “I get to do the driving, I get to look like the hero but our team is what makes it happen. To be able to win a race, never mind a championship, the work and preparation that goes on in the shop—the hard hours, the blood sweat and tears our guys put it—that’s what makes it possible for me. Then there are the sponsors and partners that make this possible—a collection of the best in the business. BimmerWorld supplies us with the best parts in the world, Red Line Oil the best fluids, Hoosier Tire, Motion Control Suspension and, of course, BizBloom.”
In TA4, Dave Ricci, in the No. 71 SouthEast Guardrail Chevrolet Camaro, emerged victorious after a race-long battle with Spencer Caudle, driver of the No. 53 Rotor Source Inc Dodge Challenger, after polesitter Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Beta Tools/ Liquid Performance Chevrolet Camaro, was forced to pit with a failing halfshaft. The win was the first of Ricci’s career, snapping Breathless Racing teammate, and TA4 champ, Francis’, season long streak atop the class’ podium.
“The green flag flew and my cool suit failed right away,” said Ricci, “so I knew I needed to get in front of Spencer right away. I was able to pass him, but he eventually got by me when I missed shift with 10 laps to go. I was feeling really fatigued in the car but was able to get it together during the double yellow and on the restart was able to pass him in turn four and never looked back! It’s my first Trans Am win, the hottest race of my life and I’m pumped!”
Caudle would finish second while Francis was able to re-enter the race and hold on to secure the final position on the TA4 podium.
The fast laps of the race were set by Paul Fix, in TA, with a 01:37.951; Randy Kinsland, In TA3, with a 01:45.870; and Ernie Francis, Jr., in TA4, with a 01:49.036.
Trans Am will hold another race yet today, with the TA2 class holding an independent 37-lap, 101.75-mile multi-class race of its own at 5:00 PM CT.
The TA, TA3 and TA4 will return to the track at Circuit of The Americas, Saturday, November 5th for the penultimate race of the 2016 Trans Am Championship.
All results provisional until posted final.