Portland Poles for Tomy Drissi and Thomas Merrill
July 28, 2018
PORTLAND, Ore. [July 28, 2018] – Tomy Drissi captured his third Trans Am West Coast Championship pole of the 2018 season today at Portland International Raceway. OTHERS
The pole is the 11th of Drissi’s TA class career and comes by way of a 1:12.177-lap around the 12-turn 1.967 mile road course at PIR. It also marks the third pole in four rounds of West Coast action for Drissi and the No. 8 GoShare Chevrolet Camaro. Nine years ago Drissi also captured pole here at Portland International Raceway, a starting position that eventually yielded a crucial victory in his 2009 Trans Am Championship.
“It was a good qualifying session for us,” said Drissi. “Burtin Racing put together a great car. I know Greg (Pickett) had some issues and wasn’t able to turn the laps he wanted. We’ve run close all year, and I think I’ll be a tough battle tomorrow. Portland is really special for me; it’s a great town and has some great fans.”
“Burtin Racing is one of the best I’ve driven for,” said Drissi. “As a driver, sometimes you just want to show up and race; but when the owner starts asking you to develop things— it takes it to the next level. You get more involved, you see how hard everyone works— I want to deliver for this team. This weekend we did some crazy changes, found some things the car likes and some it doesn’t and that pays dividends. I’m proud to be part of this team.”
Come tomorrow’s action, if Drissi completes in excess of 25 laps of the 51-lap 100.47 mile race, he would mathematically secure the 2018 Trans Am West Coast Championship for the TA class— in part due to the absence of Auto Club victor Tim Adolphson, sidelined following damage from a collision in Friday’s test sessions.
Pursuing Drissi for the win will be another former Trans Am champion, Greg Pickett, in the No. 6 Flavor Insights Chevrolet Camaro. Pickett was unable to match Drissi’s time during the session and turned a 1:14.187 before sitting out the rest of the session with front end issues on the No. 6.
In TA2, Thomas Merrill continued his dominance of the Trans Am West’s TA2 class, turning a 1:15.319 in the No. 81 Big Diehl Racing Ford Mustang, well under the previous qualifying track record of 1:16.299 set by Shane Lewis just last year. The 2018 TA2 West Coast season has been a showcase for Merrill and the Big Diehl team, leading every session and winning every race.
Tomorrow will provide Merrill yet another chance to showcase the Big Diehl machine as he pursues a fourth consecutive victory this season, in what would be a title-clinching win.
Starting alongside Merrill will be Portland’s own Brad McAllister, driver of the No. 24 PortlandImplantDentistry Ford Mustang, who was easily second quick in the session with a 1:16.526. David Smith, currently third in the class points, will start third after a 1:18.815 qualifying effort.
The TA2 start top five was completed by Richard Diehl, in the No. 18 Big Diehl Racing Ford Mustang, and Michael Mihld, in the No. 55 Track Fanatic Chevrolet Camaro, with times of 1:19.456 and 1:19.902.
Oli Thordarson, in the No. 22 Alvaka Networks Chevrolet Corvette, was the sole participant from the TA3 class in the session and turned a 1:18.986 lap.
All classes will participate in a single multi-class contest spanning 100.47 miles, 51 laps around the Portland circuit on Sunday, June 29, at 11:05 AM PT.
Round 4 of the 2018 Trans Am West Coast Championship Remaining Schedule:
Sunday July 29, 2018
11:05 AM – 12:35 PM Trans Am Feature Race
All times pacific
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.
About The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli:
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli began igniting the passion of motorsports fans across the world in 1966 and has been home to some of the greatest names in road racing. Today, Trans Am continues to honor its legacy, while challenging the status quo in racing, through meaningful racing platforms and a driver-oriented focus. The Trans Am Series is operated by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC (TARC), and oversees the management and marketing of the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides operations services to the Series.
2017 Champions include: Ernie Francis, Jr. (TA), Gar Robinson (TA2), Mark Boden (TA3) and Brian Kleeman (TA4).
For more on the Series visit www.gotransam.com, “like” Trans Am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam, or follow Trans Am on Twitter @gotransam