Stanton Barrett and Gar Robinson claim Homestead-Miami poles, break records
April 8, 2017
Randy Kinsland and Brian Kleeman pace TA3 and TA4
Homestead, Fla. [April 8, 2017] – Stanton Barrett and Gar Robinson captured poles for their respective 102.15-mile Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli races come tomorrow, Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Randy Kinsland and Brian Kleeman will also start at the front of their respective classes, TA3 and TA4, after strong qualifying performances in an afternoon that saw track records fall in all four Trans Am classes.
For Stanton Barrett, in the No. 33 Ojai Energetics Ford Mustang, the pole marked a career first in Trans Am in only his second appearance. Barrett turned a 1:15.614 lap, decimating the existing qualifying track record, a 1:17.380 set by RJ Lopez in the year prior. A veteran of motorsport, but rookie to Trans Am, Barrett is bringing to bear his wide-array of experience, as he realizes a long-held desire to ply his racing craft in Trans Am.
“It feels awesome to just race in the Trans Am Series,” said Barrett. “I’ve seen the Series and been around it all of my life—watching my godfather, Paul Newman, running around and my dad being around it as well. I’ve always wanted to race this Series, and to have pole here today is pretty rad. Ave Motorsports worked hard and put a good car together; we kept working really hard in practice— turns out the OjaiEnergetics.com Ford is pretty fast! I’ve been to Homestead-Miami with NASCAR plenty of times and once for an IndyCar test, but never on the road course. It’s fun and lacks a lot of grip, so you really have to focus on your setup.”
Barrett admits to still learning the TA platform and spent much of practice this morning dialing in his new ride. Still, despite his relative inexperience behind the wheel of the car Barrett finds himself on pole of the 15-car TA field.
“The cars are awesome,” said Barrett. “They just have so much power; you have to be so smooth with them. The car we have this weekend works a lot better than the one I had at Sebring; it actually feels like a racecar. It’s been good to get in a different car. These aren’t the same as a stock car—the power is the same— but they’re so much lighter. Feeling wise though, it’s similar, especially in the way the tires come in—you have a lot of grip in qualifying. You can find that edge and then push it. During practice I’ve been focusing on what impacts changes make on these cars. I know stock cars pretty well, from working with them, building them and setting them up. I’m really applying myself to figure out what setups on these cars are like, what changes work and what impacts what performance elements. Focusing on the details and putting in the work there, it makes my job easier out on track. That’s always the goal behind the scenes— the pole is pretty rad.”
Starting alongside Barrett will be South Florida local Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund/ Beta Tools Ford Mustang, who turned a 1:16.211 lap of his own. Francis, a three-time TA4 champion now competing in the TA class, is also, like Barrett, making his second career start in the TA class, already with a Sebring pole to his name.
Two-time defending TA class champion Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, was third quick in the session with a time of 1:16.262, continuing her hot streak on the day after leading the first two practice sessions. The TA class top five also featured RJ Lopez, in the No. 06 Republica Brewing/ ACP Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 1:16.365 and 2016 Rookie of the Year Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights and Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 1:16.834.
The TA class top ten also included Cliff Ebben, Tomy Drissi, Daniel Urrutia, Jr., Simon Gregg and Henry Gilbert. In total all of the TA class top nine qualifiers turned in laps under the previous qualifying track record, a testament to the performance of the purpose-built Pirelli P ZERO™ tires.
In TA2 Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila, 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, edged out a tight top-five qualifying battle to secure his second career pole in his 29th TA2 appearance— a rarity for the 2015 TA2 Champion who has earned the vast majority of his 15 career top-three finishes during the race and not during qualifying sessions. Still, Homestead-Miami has proven difficult for Robinson in the past and his focus remains on building on previous performances.
“We’re going to try and stay as smooth as we can,” said Robinson. “We’re going to try and not spend the tires; we have to run totally conservative—if it means giving up a few spots at the beginning then I’m completely comfortable with that. The race is going to be a focus on conservation; I have yet to finish this race with the same tires I’ve started on—so that’ll be my primary goal. If a strong finish happens within that goal, then great.”
Robinson’s time, a 1:19.921, also showcased the new TA2 Pirelli P ZERO™ tires, handily beating out the previous qualifying track record of 1:21.645. Robinson still believes there is more performance left in the tires, as teams continue to learn and develop their setups to the tires.
“We don’t really know too much about these tires yet,” said Robinson. “Some of it is luck and some of it has been taking a more conservative approach as we learn what works best with them. From what we learned at Sebring, we know we can run harder for longer—which I think is going to make for some really nice racing. Having Pirelli here is a positive step in our future, for everyone’s future.”
Robinson was followed in the session by Trans Am rookie Scott Lagasse, in the No. 17 Screen Your Machine Chevrolet Camaro, with a time of 1:20.115— his best ever TA2 qualifying effort. Robinson’s teammate, Shane Lewis, last year’s race winner and driver of the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, qualified third with a time of 1:20.128.
Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 19 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Camaro, will start fourth after turning a time of 1:20.153. Lawrence has a history of success at Homestead-Miami, capturing wins in 2015 and 2014. Justin Haley, in the No. 99 Justin Haley Motorsports/ Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, will start fifth after turning a time of 1:20.298.
The TA2 top ten was completed in order by Lawrence Loshak, Jordan Bernloehr, Louis-Philippe Montour, Adam Andretti and Dillon Machavern. Andretti’s ninth starting position comes as a near miracle, with crew and driver alike working to repair, and nearly rebuild, the No. 44 ECC/ Anchor Bolt & Screw Chevrolet Camaro—making it out on track with just minutes remaining in the session, just enough to turn his qualifying laps.
TA3 and TA4 qualifying was led by Randy Kinsland, in the No. 11 Kinsland Racing Chevrolet Corvette in TA3, and Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, as the production based contingent made their preparations for tomorrow’s TA, TA3, TA4 multi-class race.
The pole, set by a track record 1:21.272-lap, is Kinsland’s second in his Trans Am career, as he continues his pursuit of a TA3 class win, despite leading multiple laps throughout multiple races towards the end of the 2016 season. Kinsland was followed by Sebring TA3 victor, Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, with a time of 1:21.342, just short of the pole-setting time. The side-by-side start of Kinsland and Boden again sets up an intriguing matchup between the brawn of the Corvette and the agility of the Porsche, a rematch of the top two finishers from Sebring on the Homestead-Miami circuit.
Conor Flynn, in the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Automotive Porsche 997, qualified a close third with a time of 1:21.420, while rookie Tom Herb, in the No. 16 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Jason Berkeley, in the No. 07 BMG Management Chevrolet Corvette, finished with times of 1:22.712 and 1:23.436, respectively.
Brian Kleeman’s TA4 pole is his second consecutive, as the driver of the No. 07 looks for his second-consecutive class victory, buoyed by his 1:25.188 track record setting lap time, well clear of Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 TREMEC/SKF/Chevrolet Perf. Chevrolet Camaro, who qualified second with a time of 1:26.025.
TA4 newcomer JR Pesek, in the No. 00 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, qualified third with a time of 1:27.163 in his first Trans Am appearance. The TA4 top five was completed by Chris Outzen, in the No. 97 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, and Fernando Seferlis, in the No. 28 Compulab Panama Chevrolet Camaro, with times of 1:27.596 and 1:27.966, respectively.
Tomorrow’s festivity will feature two, 45-lap, 102.15-mile races— a TA2 presented by AEM exclusive race at 11:00 AM ET and a TA, TA3 and TA4 multiclass race at 1:15 PM ET, both on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Trans Am will be racing on the 2.27-mile, 10-turn modified road course configuration.
Joining Trans Am on the weekend will be the Formula 4 United States Championship powered by Honda.
Fans can keep up with the event and all of The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.
Remaining Schedule for Round 2 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship:
Sunday April 9, 2017
11:00 AM — 12:15 PM TA2 Race, Powered by AEM
1:15 PM — 2:30 PM TA/TA4/TA4 Race
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.
Broadcast: This weekend’s event is not included in Trans Am’s CBS Sports Network Broadcast Package