Trans Am Series prepares for Sebring opener with largest field in a decade

February 25, 2013

On March 25, 1966, a field of 44 cars took to the track at Sebring International Raceway.  Those 44 cars were the first ever running of the Trans Am Series. Then divided into two classes, an Over 2 Liter class and an Under 2 Liter class, those 44 cars set in motion what would become the longest running road racing series in North America. 
Now as Trans Am returns to where it all began, it brings with it the largest Trans Am field in over a decade.  With 38 cars confirmed, Trans Am is featuring the biggest car count since the 2001 race at Sebring where 39 starters were featured.  
As Trans Am returns to Sebring for the seventh time on March 3, it will be racing alongside some of the cars that have helped pave the way for the historic series.  On the track where Trans Am officially began, the series is beginning a new partnership with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, SVRA, as the two series bring together the past and present of Trans Am and road racing. 
All eyes in the Trans Am paddock will be on 2012 TA Champion Simon Gregg, driver of the #1 Gregg Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, who also has ties to the track at Sebring.  In 1967 Simon’s father, Peter Gregg, won the Under 2 Liter class during the second Trans Am race at Sebring where he partnered with Sam Posey in a Brumos Porsche 911.  Simon also participated in the 2001 race at Sebring.  Now he will try to become the second Gregg to have won at Sebring, as he prepares to carry over the momentum that landed him his first-ever Trans Am Championship into the 2013 series opener.    
Gregg will not be short of challengers come race day.  Key among them will be Tony Ave and Amy Ruman.  Ave is a two-time champion himself, and Ruman was only 11 points shy of Gregg last year in the Championship.  Alongside them will be other challengers in the ultra-competitive TA class including 2012 multiple race winner Doug Peterson.  In all, the TA class will have 16 entrants, all driving the 800 plus horsepower grand touring cars that have become a staple of the series. 
The TA2 class will be highly contested as well, featuring the largest TA2 field ever. Two-time-defending champion Bob Stretch driving his #98 Wheels America/Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair Chevrolet Camaro will take to the course to begin his challenge for a third straight TA2 title.  In his path stands an ever-expanding TA2 class, primed with fresh Camaros and Mustangs driven by competitors who will want their own shot at the TA2 Championship.
Key among these competitors is Miller Racing, featuring Trans Am veteran Pete Halsmer and 20-year-old Cameron Lawrence.  Lawrence finished the 2012 season with four podium placements in his last five starts, including three second place finishes and a victory at Road Atlanta during the season finale. Halsmer was Stretch’s major challenger in the 2012 season and finished second for the year, claiming eight podium placements and four first place victories during his challenge.  Lawrence and Halsmer will be driving matching #11 and #12 Miller Racing Chevrolet Camaros for the race at Sebring.
Finally, in TA3, Trans Am’s production class, defending champ Chuck Cassaro will be unveiling his brand new #76 Stack Data/Aeromotive/Metallica Ford Mustang as he takes on the likes of Tim Gray, Mickey Mills,  David Seuss and newcomer Rob Bodle in what will be the largest TA3 field ever. 
Trans Am will first take to the track for practice at 10:05 a.m. EST followed by another practice at 2:55 p.m. on Friday March 1st.  The official qualifying session will take place Saturday March 2 at 11:10 a.m.  Finally, the Trans Am race will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. 
Trans Am will first take to the track for practice on Friday March 1 at 10:05 a.m. EST followed by another practice at 2:55 p.m.   The official qualifying session will take place Saturday March 2 at 11:10 a.m. with the race taking place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.   
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