Trans Am Arrives at Mid-Ohio for FirstEnergy Races
August 9, 2018
LEXINGTON, Ohio [August 9, 2018] – In the very midst of its 2018 championship season the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli now arrives at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the FirstEnergy Trans Am 100 and FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge with the classes respective championship chases beginning to take shape.
The event marks Trans Am’s 31st appearance at Mid-Ohio and seventh consecutive since the Series’ return in 2012. The 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit is a familiar task for competitors and teams alike and stands as one of the historic homes of Trans Am racing.
In the TA class, featuring in the FirstEnergy 100, Ernie Francis, Jr., continues to hold the championship points lead, 34 points ahead of runner-up Chris Dyson. Francis, the defending class champion, also stands as the defending race-winner at Mid-Ohio, where he went flag-to-flag in 2017, following up on three consecutive TA4 class wins starting in 2014. Combined with Francis’ class-leading three victories so far this season, the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang remains the machine to beat come Saturday.
But there are challengers aplenty in the TA class, starting with Dyson, driving the No. 20 Plaid Crafts Ford Mustang. While this may be Dyson’s first appearance, he too has a history of success at Mid-Ohio, including a 2010 American Le Mans victory in LMP competition. Despite this season marking Dyson’s debut with Trans Am, he’s already produced a victory and two additional podiums and strong starts that have kept him in striking distance of Francis.
Not yet seven days removed from a Pittsburgh International Race Complex victory is Lawrence Loshak, driver of the No. 2 Pennzoil/ ETE REMAN/ GoShare Chevrolet Camaro. Like Dyson, Loshak is a new addition to the TA class for 2018 but saw much of the early portion of his season hampered by a streak of poor luck, often while in contention for podium finishes. Now Loshak and the Burtin Racing team will hope his dominant Pitt victory rings in a new streak. Loshak will hope for a Mid-Ohio performance similar to his TA2 runs in the past which have yielded a victory and multiple poles.
Three Ohioans will feature in the TA field, including two-time TA champ Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, David Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V, and Ryan McManus, in the No. 7 McManus Agency Chevrolet Corvette.
Ruman has won nearly every accolade in Trans Am, yet a Mid-Ohio victory has eluded the Ruman Racing team of nearby Munroe Falls, Ohio. Now she, like Pintaric and McManus, will hope that her hometown support and knowledge of her home track finally yield a Trans Am victory.
The TA class field will also include 2012 and 2016 Mid-Ohio TA victor Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and 2015 victor Paul Fix, in the No. 4 Stop Flex/ Car Coach/ Ave Racing Chevrolet Corvette.
2002 Trans Am champion Boris Said will continue his Series return in the No. 21 SRI Performance/ Weaver Concepts Dodge Challenger, while 2009 champion, and 2018 West Coast champ, Tomy Drissi, in the No. 8 GoShare Chevrolet Camaro, returns to Trans Am east competition as well.
Featuring in the FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge, is TA2 the championship battle between Rafa Matos, in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Chevrolet Camaro, and Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, has narrowed to a mere 11 points entering Mid-Ohio following Buffomante’s podium finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Buffomante won last year’s FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge as well, finally breaking a streak of misfortune in TA2 competition at Mid-Ohio, while Matos, making only his second TA2 appearance, finished fifth. Now, with both drivers very much in form Mid-Ohio represents another stage in what will likely be a year-long battle.
Joining Buffomante under the Mike Cope Racing Enterprises tent will be a host of fresh faces to Trans Am with Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, and Christopher Bell, in the No. 24, 26 and 28 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustangs, as the NASCAR wheelmen take their own crack at TA2.
Likewise Chase Briscoe, in the No. 00 Newman Wachs Racing Ford Mustang, will make his TA2 debut for Newman Wachs, while stock car legend Bill Elliot, in the No. 19 ECC Anchor Bolt and Screw Chevrolet Camaro, pairs with Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 44 ECC Anchor Bolt and Screw Chevrolet Camaro, for ECC Motorsports.
Jordan Bupp, in the No. 80 Marshall Goldman Motorsales/ Bupp Motorsports Ford Mustang, enters the weekend riding high following a career-first TA2 win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as does Scott Lagasee, in the No. 95 SLR/Fields Racing Chevrolet Camaro, who finished a career best second.
Brian Swank, in the No. 11 Royal Flush/ Prefix Dodge Challenger, will join rookie of the year contenders Ethan Wilson, in the No. 49 Berryman/ Prefix Dodge Challenger, and Anthony Honeywell, in the No. 76 Honeywell Comp./ Prefix Dodge Challenger, under the Stevens-Miller tent for Swank’s TA2 debut.
Aaron Quine, in the No. 69 SpillFix/ FirstEnergy Chevrolet Camaro, will serve as the sole TA2 competitor hailing from Ohio.
In TA3, racing alongside the TA and TA4 classes in the FirstEnergy 100, Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, arrives at Mid-Ohio following a flag-to-flag victory in Pittsburgh, while Alline Cipriani, who finished second to Lux in the No. 60 Ginetta USA Ginetta G55, enters with the championship points lead.
Returning to TA3 competition this weekend will be defending TA3 champion and 2017 Mid-Ohio victor Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 991 GT3 Cup. Boden’s absence at Pitt saw him slip to third in the points, with 96 to Cipriani’s 115; and while the ground is his to make up, he does so with the confidence that comes with two consecutive Mid-Ohio podiums.
Joining Boden under the Fall-Line Motorsports tent will be Tom Herb, in the No. 16 Fall-Line Motorspors Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, and Joe Koenig, making his Trans Am debut in the No. 70 Trim-Tex/ Fall-Line Motorsports BMW E46 M3.
Dave Ricci, second in the points and driving the No. 781 Florida Roadway Signs Chevrolet Camaro, is also entered as are the Grant Racing Duo of Carey Grant, in the No. 5 Sentry Self Storage Porsche 997.1, and Milton Grant, in the No. 55 Sentry Self Storage Porsche 991.1.
In TA4, points leader Warren Dexter, in the No. 61 Joe’s Hand Cleaner/ Dexter Racing Ginetta G55, will race against Steven Davison, in the No. 22 DaVinci Plastic Surgery Chevrolet Camaro, and Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ SKF Chevrolet Camaro.
Both the FirstEnergy 100 and FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge will be live streamed on Motor Trend On Demand, while the weekend will be showcased in a one-hour highlights show on CBS Sports Network on tape-delay. Each race will span 45 laps, 101.96 miles around the Mid-Ohio circuit.
Trans Am is joined on the weekend by NASCAR Xfinity holding the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 and the Formula 3 Championship Powered by Honda.
Fans can keep up with the Trans AM Series presented by Pirelli throughout the event at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.
Trans Am First Energy Event Weekend Schedule:
Thursday August 9, 2018
2:50 PM — 3:20 PM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 1
3:20 PM — 3:50 PM TA2 Practice 1
Friday August 10, 2018
9:30 AM — 10:00 AM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 2
11:05 AM — 11:35 AM TA2 Practice 2
12:35 PM — 12:55 PM TA Qualifying
1:00 PM — 1:20 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
5:05 PM — 5:25 PM TA2 Qualifying
Saturday August 11, 2018
9:00 AM — 10:15 AM FirstEnergy 100 - TA/TA3/TA4
12:40 PM — 1:55 PM FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge - TA2
All times eastern
Live Streaming on Motor Trend On Demand:
First Energy Trans Am 100 – Saturday August 11, 9:00 AM ET
FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge – Saturday August 11, 12:40 PM ET
Trans Am’s races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network.
First Energy Trans Am at Mid-Ohio Recap – August 26, 2:00 PM ET
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.