Gar Robinson takes Trans Am TA2 pole at VIR
September 22, 2017
Rafa Matos, Shane Lewis complete TA2 qualifying top three
ALTON, VA. [September 22, 2017] – Gar Robinson secured his fifth career TA2 class pole today in qualifying at Virginia International Raceway, Round 10 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship. Robinson turned a record breaking 1:50.197-lap around the 3.27-mile, 18-turn “full course” at VIR, securing first position for tomorrow’s independent TA2 class race, the VIR Muscle Car Challenge.
Robinson currently leads the TA2 points from behind the wheel of the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, and is in the midst of a championship battle with defending TA2 champ Tony Buffomante, driver of the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang. With Robinson entering the round with a mere 16 points more than Buffomante, the additional three gained from his qualifying effort could be just as important as his starting position given the four remaining races—including tomorrow’s competition.
Robinson has secured four poles so far in 2017, with the No. 74 finishing atop the podium in three of those competitions— his last win coming at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June.
Starting alongside Robinson tomorrow will be Rafa Matos, in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro, who turned a 1:50.675 in qualifying for second starting position. Matos joined Trans Am and TA2 for the first time at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix earlier in the season, turning in a second place finish in his debut— strong enough for teammate Doug Peterson to add the former IndyCar driver, and a second car, to his full-time TA2 effort.
Robinson’s teammate Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, secured a top three sweep for make and model with a 1:50.969 lap. Lewis enters the round third in the championship points, albeit now 33 points behind second position.
Completing the TA2 qualifying top five were Buffomante, who turned a fast lap of 1:51.241, and Kyle Marcelli, making his third appearance of the season in the No. 96 MBRP Exhaust/ AARD Chevrolet Camaro, logging a 1:52.421 lap of his own.
The top-four TA2 qualifiers all turned times beneath the previous qualifying track record time of 1:52.034, set by Buffomante in 2016— a trend seen throughout the season under the new Pirelli tire package.
The TA2 top-ten qualifiers also included, in order, Tom Sheehan, Keith Prociuk, Doug Peterson, Joe Stevens and Robert Sabato.
The TA2 field will hold the 101.37-mile, 31-lap VIR Muscle Car Challenge tomorrow, September 23, at 5:10 PM ET. The Trans Am Series’ TA, TA3 and TA4 classes will hold their qualifying session tomorrow at 1:00 PM in advance of their own 101.37-mile multi-class competition slated for Sunday, September 24 at 3:25 PM ET.
Trans Am Virginia International Raceway Schedule:
Saturday September 23, 2017
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 2
1:00 PM – 1:20 PM TA Qualifying
1:20 PM – 1:40 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
5:10 PM – 6:20 PM VIR Muscle Car Challenge – TA2
Sunday September 24, 2017
3:25 PM – 4:00 PM VIR Trans Am 100 – TA, TA3 and TA4
*all times eastern
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.