The Trans Am Paddock Gets Allegretta Up to Speed at Watkins Glen
September 18, 2017
After a practice session accident, Trans Am teams come out in force to help Vinnie Allegretta
2017 has been good to Vinnie Allegretta. Or maybe better put, he’s been good in 2017—six podium appearances in the 2017 Trans Am Championship’s eight races thus far, and a pole at Brainerd International Raceway to boot. Simply put, the 2016 Rookie of the Year has had a career year in Trans Am.
But momentarily, things did not look good for Vinnie Allegretta and the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette at Watkins Glen International Raceway.
And by not looking good, we mean everything looked upside down.
The reason? The No. 41 was resting on its roof. The view? Nothing but a few blades of central New York state grass.
During the TA class practice session, after turning the third fastest lap of the session, the No. 41 suffered brake failure forcing Allegretta to take drastic measures, swinging the car around to avoid a head-on collision—letting the rear of the car absorb the impact of the famous blue ARMCO found throughout Watkins Glen.
Allegretta was unharmed. But his ride was another story.
Instead of packing up and heading home, Allegretta’s team asked a simple question, ‘If we fix it, will you race it?” Allegretta’s answer? Unequivocally, “yes.”
What followed was nothing short of remarkable, with nine different Trans Am teams and competitors chipping in on the No. 41’s repairs, which spanned over 24 hours. Parts, pieces, bodywork—whatever it took—made its way back to Allegretta’s paddock where underneath the skunk works esque privacy of a zipped up canopy, the crew and that of multiple other teams worked around the clock to revitalize the TA Sights & Sounds Machine.
“On the track we’re fierce competitors,” said Allegretta, “but as soon as I couldn’t make it out on the track to compete, the outpouring of support I received was absolutely remarkable—really heart warming. I especially have to thank Kerry Hitt and the ACP crew; they spent 20 hours with my team rebuilding the car— we wouldn’t have made it without them.”
“It’s no fun racing someone when they’re not out there,” said Kerry Kitt. “On the track we do battle, in the paddock we’re family. I’ve had people help me before, this was an opportunity to pay it back. Vinnie’s a super guy, a family guy. I’m just glad we could help. He finished the race— and that’s a victory for all of the Trans Am family.”
Allegretta was granted a hardship lap in advance of qualifying— a flyer at full speed. It was his first time back in the car since the accident. The qualifying session that followed saw him turn a 1:49.653, strong enough for fourth place on the grid.
“I just had to go out there and put the wreck behind me,” said Allegretta. “My wife, Tina, was a huge part of that. She encouraged me to get back out there, get the car fixed, and get back to racing—I can’t thank her enough for that.”
While not quite up to its usual breakneck speed, the No. 41 performed remarkably well under the given conditions finishing seventh overall in the 25-car field, a victory in and of itself, for Allegretta and his team.
For their efforts the VA Racing team was awarded the PitBoxes.com Crew of the Race, while crew chief John Ambrose was awarded the TraqGear Crew Chief of the Weekend.
Below is a list of all the Trans Am teams and competitors who came to Allegretta’s aid in restoring the No. 41.
Kerry Hitt and ACP Motorsports
JJ and Ultimate Performance
David Pintaric and Kryderacing
Doug Peterson and HP Tech Motorsport
Breathless Pro Racing