Robinson, Ruman top charts as practice sessions open NJMP Weekend of Thunder
October 7, 2017
Kleeman continues to lead TA4, Neal Walker makes Trans Am debut in TA3
MILLVILLE, NJ. [October 7, 2017] – With New Jersey Motorsports Park’s weekend of Thunder officially underway, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli took to the 2.25-mile, 14-turn “Thunderbolt” course for practice sessions this morning.
TA2 would commence the action with Gar Robinson, last round’s victor and driver of the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, topping the tight time charts with a 1:19.041 lap, well underneath the 1:20.171 qualifying track record set by Justin Haley last year. Robinson enters the weekend with the TA2 class championship points lead, a 40-point margin over current runner-up Tony Buffomante,
Robinson was followed in the session by teammate Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, with a time of 1:19.167, while Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, was third quick with a time of 1:19.276.
TA2 veteran Tom Sheehan, in the No. 97 LTK Insulation Technologies Chevrolet Camaro, would turn a 1:20.564 lap of his own, while Keith Prociuk in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Camaro, completed the TA2 top five with a time of 1:20.848.
The TA2 class was immediately followed by a TA, TA3 and TA4 mixed-class practice session, with two-time defending champ Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, edging hometown hero Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, for the session’s fast lap— Ruman with a 1:18.827 to Allegretta’s 1:18.850 with just hundredths separating the two drivers.
Ruman has historically enjoyed NJMP, with three career wins on the course coming in 2015, 2014 and 2012, while Vinnie Allegretta has enjoyed a career year in the TA class, currently sitting second in the TA class points championship—26 points ahead of Ruman, who sits third.
Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates Chevrolet Camaro, was third quick with a time 1:19.453, while Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and Tim Rubright, in the No. 77 Blue Knob Auto Ford Mustang, completed the top five with times of 1:19.479 and 1:20.473, respectively.
In TA4, current points leader Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, led the way with a 1:26.202-lap to edge Andrew Entwistle, in the No. 78 Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang, who turned a 1:27.175-lap for the class’ fast lap.
Third quick in TA4 was Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ TREMEC Chevrolet Camaro, with a time of 1:28.193. Napieralski currently sits second in the TA4 championship, with NJMP standing as one of the final opportunities to close the gap on Kleeman for the points lead.
Kleeman’s DWW Motorsports teammate Chris Outzen, in the No. 00 Ford Mustang, was fourth quick, while JR Pesek, in the No. 10 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, was fifth with times of 1:28.351 and 1:28.380, respectively.
Making his TA3 debut, Neal Walker, in the No. 71 Tullman Walker Racing Porsche 991.2, would turn a 1.22.925 lap, well underneath the TA3 track record 1:23.662 set by Andrew Aquilante in 2016.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will return to the NJMP course shortly, with the TA2 class commencing the second round of practice sessions at 11:25 AM ET.
Trans Am New Jersey Motorsports Park Schedule:
Saturday October 7, 2017
11:25 AM – 11:55 AM TA2 Practice 2
11:55 AM – 12:25 PM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 2
2:30 PM – 2:50 PM TA2 Qualifying
2:50 PM – 3:10 PM TA Qualifying
3:10 PM – 3:30 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
Sunday October 8, 2017
9:25 AM – 10:15 AM Fan Walk and Opening Ceremonies
10:25 AM – 11:35 AM New Jersey Muscle Car Challenge, featuring TA2
1:55 PM – 3:05 PM Trans Am New Jersey 100, featuring TA, TA3, 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.