Trans Am’s Southern Tour Continues at Homestead-Miami Speedway
April 11, 2018
Francis Returns Home; Jan Heylen and Henri Tuomaala Add to Grueling TA2 Slate
HOMESTEAD, Fla. [April 11, 2018] – The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will continue its early season Southern tour this weekend with the South Florida Sportscar Challenge at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Round 3 of the 2018 Championship.
The new date will feature Trans Am with the popular regional Formula & Automobile Racing Association alongside, the first ever partner event between the two bodies. Trans Am competitors will tackle the modified road course, a 2.27-mile, 10-turn circuit, one of two “rovals” visited by the series in 2018. To cap off the weekend Trans Am will hold two feature 102.15-mile, 45-lap, races on Sunday, April 15, a multi-class TA, TA3 and TA4 race and a TA2 class exclusive Muscle Car Challenge powered by AEM.
Homestead-Miami sees a return to familiar grounds for defending TA class champion Ernie Francis, Jr., driver of the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang. Francis, a native of nearby Dania, Fla., saw his five-race win streak snapped last round at Road Atlanta by Chris Dyson, driver of the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang, who narrowly edged Francis for a career first Trans Am victory.
Francis has turned countless laps on the Homestead-Miami surface, the site of two career Trans Am victories, a TA4 win in 2016 and a TA class win just last year, making him an early favorite to repeat in front of friends and family.
The first 30 days following the announcement of his CD Racing team were an immediate success for sports car veteran Chris Dyson, resulting in a second place finish at Sebring and a Road Atlanta win. As the CD Racing team continues to develop the No. 20, the back-and-forth battle between Dyson and Francis could be one for the entirety of 2018.
One TA class competitor ready for a change of fortune is Lawrence Loshak. Loshak, in the No. 2 Pennzoil/ ETE/ GoShare Chevrolet Camaro, started the Road Atlanta weekend in fine form but was hampered by mechanical issues in both qualifying and the race. The goal: to put together a result similar to Loshak’s second place finish at COTA to close out 2017, his promising TA class debut.
Both Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and David Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V, will be in attendance— each having enjoyed a podium finish so far this season. Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, is also set to feature, still seeking an end to a podium draught that, thanks to mechanical issues and poor luck, now stretches back to Round 9 of 2017. Thankfully for Ruman, Homestead-Miami has been kind in the past, including a 2015 victory for the Ruman Racing team.
A strong contingent of Florida residents will participate in the TA class, including: Daniel Urrutia, Jr., Tom Ellis, Kenny Bupp and RJ Lopez. Lopez, while not a full season competitor in recent years, has always put in a strong showing at Homestead-Miami, including a 2014 win, three poles and two podiums over the past four years.
The TA2 Muscle Car Challenge will feature a bevy of talented drivers, with seasoned TA2 veterans and newcomers contributing to a what should be a deep and tightly contested 21 car field.
Following a Road Atlanta event where car owner Doug Peterson fielded Paul Tracy in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro, Peterson has opted for another motorsport veteran Jan Heylen. At Homestead-Miami Jan Helyen, a former Champ Car World Series competitor with a variety of sports car experience, with will team with Road Atlanta victor, and TA2 points leader, Rafa Matos under the Coleman Motorsports tent, as they pursue another strong result for the Florida-based team.
Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, while not having reached the top step yet in 2018, has the longest podium streak in the TA2 class, three races dating back to last year’s finale at Daytona, where he was victorious. Buffomante, the winningest TA2 driver over the past three years, will lead a Mike Cope stable that includes a resurgent Keith Prociuk, in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Corvette, Matt Parent, in the No. 14 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, and Trans Am debutant Lawless Alan in the No. 26 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang.
Sebring victor Marc Miller, in the No. 12 Berryman/ Prefix Dodge Challenger, will hope a return to Florida signals yet another strong performance as a member of the Stevens-Miller team after a disappointing 11th place result at Road Atlanta.
Joining Miller under the team tent will be the addition of Henri Tuomaala, driver of the No. 11 Puuilo/ Prefix Dodge Challenger. A resident of Hyvinkaa, Finland, Tuomaala will make his Trans Am debut at Homestead-Miami. With that said, Tuomaala has finished second in the V8 Thunder Cars Finland Series championship over the past two years which fields cars of a very similar build to TA2 class machines. Ethan Wilson, in the No. 49 Western Grinding/ Prefix Dodge Challenger, will also feature for the team.
2016 Homestead-Miami victor Shane Lewis will return to TA2 action in the No. 92 Turn Key Industries/ Surphis Chevrolet Camaro. Lewis, a resident of Jupiter, Fla., is another fixture on the South Florida track and has two consecutive TA2 podiums to show for his experience around the modified road course. Team owner/driver Joe Napoleon, in the No. 91 Turn Key Industries/ Surphis Chevrolet Camaro, will feature alongside Lewis from under the Napoleon Motorsports tent.
Another duo to watch will be Scott Lagasse, fresh off of a career best fourth place finish at Road Atlanta in the No. 95 M1 Fastrack Chevrolet Camaro, and sportscar veteran Kyle Marcelli, in the No. 96 M1 Fastrack Chevrolet Camaro—both of whom frequent the top third of the TA2 field.
Running alongside TA, the TA3 class will feature a four-way battle between Road Atlanta victor Randy Kinsland, in the No. 11 RF Engines Chevrolet Corvette, and a trio of Homestead-Miami regulars, Alline Cipriani, in the No. 60 Ginetta G55, Sebastian Carazo, in the No. 61 Allied Car & Truck Rental Porsche 991.1 and Dave Ricci, in the No. 71 Florida Roadway Signs/ Breathless Chevrolet Camaro.
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.
Friday April 13, 2018
9:50 AM — 10:30 AM TA/TA3/TA4 Test 1
11:30 AM — 12:10 PM TA2 Test 1
1:10 PM — 1:50 PM TA/TA3/TA4 Test 2
2:50 PM — 3:30 PM TA2 Test 2
Saturday April 14, 2018
9:00 AM — 9:30 AM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 1
9:35 AM — 10:05 AM TA2 Practice 1
11:20 AM — 11:50 AM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 2
11:55 AM — 12:25 PM TA2 Practice 2
2:40 PM — 3:00 PM TA Qualifying
3:15 PM — 3:35 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
3:50 PM — 4:10 PM TA2 Qualifying
Sunday April 15, 2018
9:20 AM — 10:35 AM South Florida Sportscar Challenge, TA/TA3/TA4
2:20 PM — 3:15 PM TA2 Muscle Car Challenge powered by AEM
All times EDT
2.27-miles, 10-turns – Modified Road Course at Homestead-Miami
102.15-miles/ 45 laps or 75 minutes whichever comes first.