Merrill Claims Last-Second Lime Rock Park Pole in TA2 Qualifying

May 24, 2019

Merrill Claims Last-Second Lime Rock Park Pole in TA2 Qualifying

Lakeville, Conn.  (24 May, 2019) – In the closest qualifying session of the season so far, a mid-session strategy switch up for the Mike Cope Racing team sent Thomas Merrill straight to a polewinning start as the California-native stole the fastest lap in the final seconds of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 powered by AEM qualifying Friday at Lime Rock Park. Underscoring the nature of TA2 competition, the top-eight times were separated by less than four tenths of a second. 


With an initial strategy to find a gap and lay down a fast time in the opening laps, Merrill caught traffic in the tight, fast corners of the 1.53-mile circuit, eventually falling back to mid-pack in the 29-car field. About half way through the session, Merrill’s team called in his No. 26 Mike Cope Race Cars Big Dielhl Racing Skip Barber car to the pits. With minutes left on the clock and the track clearing out, Mike Cope Racing found the perfect gap for Merrill to open-up his Ford Mustang in an attempt to get a flying lap. On the final lap of the session, Merrill eclipsed the fastest time by just over two tenths of a second to clinch pole position. 


“I got to give Mike Cope and the crew huge credit for timing my return to the track perfectly,” said Merrill. “Traffic played a huge factor in the start of qualifying, really foreshadowing what we should expect for tomorrow’s race.”


Watching from pit lane as Merrill’s name shot to the top of the results, was Dillon Machavern, who was fastest in testing, practice and in qualifying for a majority of the session. Driving the No. 77 Liqui-Molly Prefix Ford Mustang, Machavern got off to a rough start in qualifying, shunting off track in the opening lap. Machavern recovered and started chipping away until he reached the top, only to be beat out by Merrill. With minimal time left on the clock, Machavern had to settle for a front row P2 start. 


“This is the most competitive field we’ve had all season,” said Machavern. “Keeping it clean and making no mistakes is going to be the name of the game. We have a really strong car for the race and the Liqui-Molly Prefix Ford Mustang has been fast all weekend. I am really excited for the race tomorrow.”


Returning to TA2 for the first time this season, Tony Ave in the No. 25 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro will start in Row 2 shared by championship leader Marc Miller in the No. 40 Prefix Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger. Scott Lagasse Jr. in the SLF/Fields Racing/M1Racecars Chevrolet Camaro rounded out the top-five. 


The TA2 powered by AEM class kicks off the Memorial Day Classic Saturday at 12:55pm ET with a 100-mile (or 65 minutes whichever comes first) feature. For results and live timing and scoring, visit GoTransAm.com. 
 

TA2 OFFICIAL QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos

No. Name

 

Sponsor/Car

Best Tm

Lap Diff

Gap

1

#26 Thomas Merrill / Salinas Calif.

 

Mike Cope Racing / Ford Mustang

52.455

12

 

 

2

#77 Dillon Machavern / Charlotte Vt.

 

Liqui-Moly / Prefix / Ford Mustang

52.663

7

0.208

0.208

3

#25 Tony Ave / Hurley Wisc.

 

BC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro

52.883

9

0.428

0.220

4

#40 Marc Miller / Holland Mich.

 

Prefix / Stevens-Miller Racing / Dodge Challenger

52.909

5

0.454

0.026

5

#92 Scott Lagasse Jr / St Augustine Fla.

 

SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro

52.910

11

0.455

0.001

6

#96 Kyle Marcelli / Midland Ont Canada

 

SLR/Field Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro

52.949

9

0.494

0.039

7

#88 Rafa Matos / Boca Raton Fla.

 

3Dimensional Services Group / Chevrolet Camaro

53.012

9

0.557

0.063

8

#10 Misha Goikhberg / Woodbridge Ont. Canada

BC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro

53.033

6

0.578

0.021

9

#9 Keith Prociuk / Chicago Ill.

HP Tuners / Chevrolet Camaro

53.360

8

0.905

0.327

10

#52 Lawless Alan / Van Nuys Calif.

AutoParkIT / Ford Mustang

53.856

7

1.401

0.496

11

#87 Doug Peterson / Bonita Springs Fla.

3Dimensional Services Group / Ford Mustang

54.230

10

1.775

0.374

12

#97 Tom Sheehan / Bow N. H.

LTK Insulation Technologies / Ford Mustang

54.360

8

1.905

0.130

13

#17 Jacob Mosler / St Augustine Fla.

SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro

54.378

10

1.923

0.018

14

#05 Steven Lustig / Chester N.J.

The Autosport Group / Chevrolet Camaro

54.998

12

2.543

0.620

15

#23 Curt Vogt / Wallingford Conn.

Cobra Automotive / Ford Mustang

55.083

6

2.628

0.085

16

#32 Barry Boes / Dripping Springs Texas

AccioData/SampsonRace/HarrisHill / Ford Mustang

55.138

16

2.683

0.055

17

#44 A.J. Hennriksen / Sleepy Hollow Ill.

EngineeredCompositesCo/AnchorBolt / Chevrolet Camaro

55.386

6

2.931

0.248

18

#12 Brian Swank / Cumming Ga.

Berryman Products / Chevrolet Camaro

55.452

8

2.997

0.066

19

#82 Frank Dalene / Wainscott N.Y.

Telemark Inc / Chevrolet Camaro

57.681

6

5.226

2.229

 

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