Lewis and Fix set tone as Trans Am opens Daytona finale with practice
November 11, 2016
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. [November 11, 2016] – The Trans Am Series formally opened its season finale at Daytona International Speedway with two practice sessions in preparation for this afternoon’s qualifying. Paul Fix, Shane Lewis, Lee Saunders and Brian Kleeman led their respective classes around the 3.56-mile, 20-turn road course.
The 24-car TA2 field would take to the track first with a red hot Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, leading the way with a 1:51.402 lap to set the tone for the weekend’s competition. Lewis is currently riding a wave of momentum in the TA2 class dating back to his victory in round nine at Homestead-Miami Speedway with three consecutive podium finishes for the Robinson Racing team.
Just behind Lewis was Lawrence Loshak, currently third in the TA2 points and in the No. 5 Pennzoil Platinum/MOMO/ ETE REMAN Chevrolet Camaro, with a 1:51.402 lap of his own. Current points leader, and Lawrence’s Mike Cope Racing teammate, Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Mike Cope Ford Mustang, was third in the session with a 1:51.878— a strong recovery from a test day incident that put the Mike Cope team to work repairing the No. 34.
Returning to the TA2 class, and fourth quick in the session, was Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 ECC/ Anchor Bolt & Screw Ford Mustang, with a time of 1:52.294, while Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, completed the TA2 top five with a time of 1:52.491.
The TA2 top ten also included Gar Robinson, Tommy Archer, Cameron Lawrence, Justin Haley and Scott Lagasse, Jr. The race is Cameron Lawrence’s first appearance in Trans Am since a one-off at the Motor City 100 Trans Am exhibition earlier this year, with Ray Neveau sitting out of the No. 29 Class Auto Chevrolet Camaro and handing the reigns to the two-time TA2 champ. The race also marks the debut for Scott Lagasee, Jr., in the No. 7 Scott Lagasee Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
The following TA, TA3 and TA4 multi-class session was led by current points leader Paul Fix, in the No. 50 StopFlex/TheCarCoach.com/Techron Chevrolet Corvette, who turned the fast lap of the session with a 1:44.844, well under his track record from the 2015 season finale here last year. Fix enters the round coming off of two consecutive wins and with an 8 point lead in the TA championship— and looks to be in strong form entering the weekend.
Defending TA champ Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, was second quick in the session with a 1:46.473 lap of her own. The championship chase has been whittled down to just Fix and Ruman; and while Ruman does have ground to make up on Fix, she also has the confidence of knowing Daytona is a track that has been particularly kind to her in the past, having won the past two Trans Am races on the iconic circuit.
Ruman was followed in the session by Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 1:47.282 and RJ Lopez, in the No. 06 ACP Motorsports/ Republica Brewing Chevrolet Corvette, who turned a 1:47.379. Claudio Burtin, in the No. 7 GoShare Chevrolet Corvette, completed the TA class top five with a time of 1:47.685.
The TA class top ten also featured, in order, Vincent Allegretta, John Baucom, Charles Wicht, David Pintaric and Daniel Urrutia.
In TA3, 2015 champ Lee Saunders, in the No. 84 Land Search LLC Dodge Viper, led the way with a 1:55.003 lap in his first Trans Am appearance since Round 6 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Saunders was followed by Mark Boden, in the No. 47 FallLineMtspt/Calypso/BevgFlvIntl BMW M3, with a 1:56.390 time of his own. TA4 champ, now participating in TA3 to close out the year, Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 BetaTools/ Liquid Performance Chevrolet Corvette, was third quick in the session with a time of 1:56.496.
Conor Flynn, in the No. 95 Irish Mikes Auto Porsche 997, and Randy Kinsland, in the No. 11 Crossroads Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, where fourth and fifth quick in the TA3 class with times of 1:56.794 and 1:59.011.
In TA4, a returning Brian Kleeman, in the No. DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, led the way with a time of 1:57.075. The event marks the first appearance for Kleeman since Round 6 at Mid-Ohio; in Kleeman’s five previous appearances he has collected four podiums this year.
Kleeman was followed in TA4 by Cameron Maugeri, in the No. 52 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang, who turned a 1:58.833, second quick in the session. Mike Geldart, in the No. 43 RacersEdge/FordPerform/Hoosier Ford Mustang, was third with a time of 2:00.357, while Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Tremec/ SKF/ BackstreetPerformance Chevrolet Camaro, and Chris Outzen, in the No. 97 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, were fourth and fifth with times of 2:01.982 and 2:02.228.
Joining Trans Am on the weekend is Historic Sportscar Racing, holding their “Daytona Historics” featuring a multitude of makes and models throughout the history of motorsports.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://www.hsrtickets.com.
After the Daytona race, Trans Am will hold a year ending celebration of the Series’ 50th Anniversary on the evening of Saturday, November 12th, as the 2016 Trans Am Champions are honored and the Series closes out another monumental year of America’s Road Racing Series.
Remaining Event Schedule:
Friday, November 11, 2016
3:30 PM – 3:50 PM TA2 “One Shot” Qualifying
3:50 PM – 4:10 PM TA “One Shot” Qualifying
4:10 PM – 4:30 PM TA3, TA4 “One Shot” Qualifying
Saturday, November 12, 2016
8:30 AM – 9:45 AM TA2, Powered by AEM, Race
1:20 PM – 2:35 PM TA, TA3 and TA4 Race
all times eastern