Ruman and Buffomante Set Fast Laps in Final New Jersey Practice
October 7, 2017
Entwistle and Walker Pace Production as Qualifying Approaches
MILLVILLE, NJ [October 7, 2017] – Amy Ruman and Tony Buffomante led their respective practice sessions at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) as teams and competitors alike made final preparations for this afternoon’s qualifying sessions for the New Jersey Trans Am 100 and New Jersey Muscle Car Challenge, slated for Sunday. Neal Walker and Andrew Entwistle also turned fast times for their classes, TA3 and TA4, respectively.
Defending TA2 Champion Tony Buffomante paced the TA2 class’ second practice session from behind the wheel of the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, turning a 1:20.067 lap around the 2.25-mile, 14-turn “Thunderbolt” course, edging Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, for the top spot on the class charts.
Buffomante enters the round second in the TA2 points, chasing Robinson for the TA2 championship with only three races remaining. Buffomante stands as the defending race-victor as well, topping the TA2 podium at NJMP in 2016.
Robinson’s best time was not far behind Buffomante, with the No. 74 turning a 1:20.376 lap of its own, while Harry Steenbakkers, in the No. 78 BC Race Cars/ Ottawa West Development Chevrolet Camaro, cracked the TA2 top three with a 1:20.507 lap.
The TA2 top five also featured Tom Sheehan, in the No. 97 LTK Insulation Technologies Chevrolet Camaro, and Keith Prociuk, in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Camaro, with times of 1:21.135 and 1:21.764, respectively.
In the TA class, two-time defending champion Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, led the way handily with a 1:19.126 lap, topping the class practice charts for the second session in a row. Ruman stands as the winningest TA driver in NJMP history with three victories coming in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates Chevrolet Camaro, was second quick with a time of 1:20.510, while Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, was third with a 1:20.744 lap.
John Baucom, in the No. 86 RoadRaceparts.com Ford Mustang, and Tim Rubright, in the No. 77 Blue Knob Auto Ford Mustang, completed the top five with times of 1:20.785 and 1:21.371, respectively.
Three members of the TA class sat out the session, with Kerry Hitt, Vinnie Allegretta and Lawrence Lepurage all opting to stay in the paddock. Points leader Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang, did return to the track after missing the first practice due to mechanical issues, but was not up to speed—turning a 1:29.001 for his fast lap.
In the TA4 class, Andrew Entwistle, in the No. 78 Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang, edged points leader Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, for the class’ top spot with a time of 1:26.336 to Kleeman’s 1:26.424.
Chris Outzen, in the No. 97 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, completed the TA4 top three with a time of 1:28.003, while Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance / TREMEC Chevrolet Camaro, and JR Pesek, in the No. 10 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, completed the top five.
The weekend’s sole TA3 participant, Neal Walker, in the No. 71 Tullman Walker Racing Porsche 991.2, turned a 1:23.528 lap.
The TA, TA3 and TA4 Practice 2 session went under red flag conditions to retrieve the No. 77 of Tim Rubright, stopped off course in an unsafe position.
Qualifying sessions will commence at 2:30 PM ET later this afternoon.
Trans Am New Jersey Motorsports Park Schedule:
Saturday October 7, 2017
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.