Tony Ave Racing's Paul Fix Wins Wild Trans Am Race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
August 17, 2015
Fix's Second 2015 Victory in Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy, Highlights Competitive Mid-Ohio Weekend for Tony Ave Racing and Ave Motorsports
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 16, 2015) - Paul Fix drove the No. 4 StopFlex.com/ CarCoach.com Corvette to his second 2015 Trans Am victory of the season Saturday in the Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy, to put the crowning touch on a competitive weekend for Tony Ave Racing and Ave Motorsports at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Fix took the lead four laps from the finish and added the Mid-Ohio win to his Memorial Day Weekend victory at Lime Rock Park earlier this summer. Saturday's win in Ohio allowed Fix, currently second in Trans Am's TA-class championship standings, to close the gap on class leader Amy Ruman. Fix now has 187 points to Ruman's 209 with five races remaining on the 2015 schedule.
"Paul turned in an unbelievable race," Ave said. "He kept his cool after getting turned sideways under yellow and passed by several cars, drove a really smart pace and ended up right where he wanted to be. The guy never put a wheel wrong the whole race."
Fix's victory capped a strong Mid-Ohio weekend that saw Tony Ave Racing (TAR) teams and Ave Motorsports-built AR-1 chassis set the pace in Trans Am's top-tier TA class.
The solid showing included an amazing debut of an all-new No. 87 Cadillac CTS-V by two-time and reigning Trans Am Champion Doug Peterson, the latest Ave Motorsports-built and TAR-campaigned Trans Am race car. After an encouraging initial run in Thursday's unofficial test day at Mid-Ohio, Peterson and Ave made the decision to run the Caddy in the Next Dimension 100. Peterson qualified sixth on Friday and raced with the leaders from the drop of the green flag in Saturday's race.
Mid-Ohio also marked the annual return of former Trans Am Champion Tomy Drissi, who raced the TAR team's No. 71 Corvette with backing from this weekend's nationally premiering movie, "Straight Outta Compton." Drissi drove the Corvette to his third-consecutive pole and led the opening laps of the Next Dimension 100 before a race-changing incident shook up the running order.
"Tomy led early, as we expected him to, but after a restart Amy got by him and Tomy took issue with some contact evidently," Ave said. "That turned into a long, drawn-out situation that eventually resulted in them coming together, which allowed the Cadillac to briefly take the lead in its debut race."
Peterson did move into the top spot as the multi-car incident unfolded but only stayed there for a few seconds as he too got caught up in the melee.
"Doug got clipped by Tomy's spinning car and turned into the backstretch wall, which is where the Cadillac finished the race," Ave said. "It was only for about 20 feet but the Cadillac did lead in its first race! Doug also set the fastest race lap and we are very happy in total. It's almost unheard of to unload an all-new car with no testing and have a competitive car with no issues, but my hat is off to my guys, led by Jeff Pope and Greg Smyre, because it ran flawlessly and fast all weekend."
The Ave organization's stellar Mid-Ohio weekend included a string of great showings by TA-customer teams racing Ave Motorsports-built AR-1 chassis.
Jim McAleese capitalized on the carnage to finish a Trans Am career-best second in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates/Jetco Engineering AR-1 Corvette, his first podium showing of the year.
David Pintaric, in the similar No. 57 Kryderacing/WRP Investments AR-1 Corvette, was also a contender before losing an engine.
"David Pintaric had the best shot to win it in my opinion," Ave said. "He was driving as well as anyone and the car was on rails. Unfortunately, we lost an engine that probably should have been changed. I feel like I need to take responsibility for that one."
Cliff Ebben also turned in a typically strong drive the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group AR-1 Mustang. He was racing in the lead pack and in winning contention before being sidelined by another spinning car.
"Cliff had a very good shot to win until contact with a spinning Adam Andretti took him out," Ave said. "Jim McAleese picked up the ball for the TA AR-1 customers with a great second-place result. Jim has less experience than anyone in TA and I expect more big things from him and his engineer, Matt Protos, who has also helped on the development of our cars."
Other AR-1 chassis TA-class competitors in the top-10 at Mid-Ohio included Claudio Burtin, who finished seventh in the No. 7 Foametix Corvette, and Richard Grant, who crossed the line ninth in the No. 30 Grant Racing Corvette.
"We definitely had an outstanding day at Mid-Ohio in the TA race," Ave said. "It was a good example of the competitiveness of our current chassis."
Ave Motorsports and TAR were also well represented in Friday's FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge, presented by 3-Dimensional Services, for the TA2 division.
The family team of Joe Napoleon and his son, Justin Napoleon, saw each driver gain several positions and finish a typically hard-fought TA2 race. Joe Napoleon gained a full 10 race positions, from 24th to 14th, at the finish in his No. 91 Turnkey Industries/CommState Bank Camaro. Justin Napoleon gained six positions to finish 16th in his similarly sponsored No. 90 Camaro.
Ave himself ran as high as seventh in the TA2 race driving the No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing Mustang but retired before the halfway point with overheating issues.
"The Napoleons survived a really hectic race and brought the cars home in good shape," Ave said. "I was fastest in final practice after finally getting the setup right. Then, in the race, I got up to seventh and was cruising, just taking the easy passes, but unfortunately got too much debris on the grill and ended up overheating."
The TA and TA2 events from Mid-Ohio will broadcast on CBS Sports Network in the upcoming weeks. The Next Dimension 100, presented by First Energy, airs Saturday, August 29 at 12:00 p.m. EDT while the First Energy Muscle Car Challenge, presented by 3-Dimensional Services, airs a week later at 10:00 a.m. EDT, Saturday, September 5.
Next up for Ave Motorsports and TAR is Round 8 of the 2015 Trans Am season, the Next Dimension 100 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 27 - 29.
Follow Ave Motorsports on Twitter at @AveMotorsports and on Facebook at Facebook.com/AveMotorsports. You can also follow the action throughout race weekends at www.GoTransAm.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/GoTransAm and on Twitter at @GoTransAm. Live timing and scoring for races is available online at GoTransAm.com/live-timing and on the Race Monitor app.