Weekend set for Trans American Races at Circuit of The Americas
November 1, 2017
Championships up for grabs with two races remaining in 2017
AUSTIN, Texas. [October 31, 2017] –The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is set for a coming together of both its primary championship and West Coast championships this coming weekend at Circuit of The Americas with 62 cars slated to participate, including a 30-car TA2 class field.
The weekend will feature two 102.81-mile, 30-lap races around the 3.427-mile course, the TA, TA3 and TA4 Trans American and the TA2 exclusive Trans American Muscle Car Challenge, with competitors from both championships racing together—albeit for different points and podiums. The event marks the first coming together of both Trans Am’s primary and West Coast championships since the latter’s creation earlier this year.
For competitors in the Trans Am Championship presented by Pirelli, COTA marks the start of a back-to-back stint to close out the season, a last chance to grab vital points before heading back east to Daytona International Speedway, November 11. For drivers in the Trans Am West Coast Championship presented by Pirelli, COTA stands as the season finale with three class champions to be crowned—the culmination of Trans Am’s first year back on the West Coast since 2005.
While Ernie Francis, Jr., driver of the No. 98 FramelessShowerDoors.com Ford Mustang, secured the TA class championship last round at New Jersey Motorsport Park, three of Trans Am’s class championships are still up for grabs and could potentially be decided at COTA.
In TA2, Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, enters his home state of Texas with a 43-point lead over defending TA2 champion Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang. With a maximum of 35 points available each weekend, Buffomante needs to make up ground on the No. 74 to carry the championship battle on to Daytona— the added unpredictability of a 30-car TA2 field could easily play a role in deciding the TA2 championship.
The TA3 championship has come down to two competitors, with teammates Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Tim Kezman, in the No. 14 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, battling for year-end honors with Boden holding a 13-point lead in a contest likely to go down to the wire at Daytona.
TA4 sees Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Ford Mustang, on the cusp of clinching the title with a 43-point lead over Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ TREMEC Chevrolet Camaro. To continue the championship battle over to Daytona, Napieralski will need to finish ahead of Kleeman by multiple positions.
In the West Coast Championship, Oli Thordarson and Guy Dreier have already secured TA3 and TA4 titles, respectively, while Gregg Pickett, in the No. 68 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang and 1978 Trans Am Category II champion, looks to lock up TA class honors in what will stand as his 184th career Trans Am start. West Coast title contenders in TA2 include the trio of Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila Chevrolet Camaro with 95 points, Brad McAllister, in the No. 24 PortlandImplantDentistry.com Ford Mustang with 88 points, and Justin Napoleon, in the No. 90 Turnkey Industries Chevrolet Camaro with 74 points.
Featuring in the TA class will be the Tony Ave Racing duo of Paul Fix, in the No. 4 Stopflex/Classic Tube/Car Coach Ford Mustang, and Tomy Drissi, in the No. 8 Ave Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette—the first time in 2017 both drivers have simultaneously featured for the 4-time championship winning team. Fix also stands as the reigning TA class victor at COTA.
Making their Trans Am debut will be Change Racing with Justin Marks in the No. 25 Katerra Chevrolet Camaro. Marks made his own debut at Road Atlanta with Tony Ave Racing earlier in the season, setting pole and building a large lead before suffering a mechanical failure.
Longtime TA2 competitor Lawrence Loshak will make his TA class debut with Burtin Racing in the No. 40 Pennzoil/GoShare/ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro. Loshak, who holds 14 top five TA2 finishes and a 2016 Mid-Ohio victory in 32 starts, will become the third guest driver of the season for Burtin, following in the footsteps of Martin Ragginger and Andy Lally.
Still battling for TA class championship podium positions are the trio of Vincent Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights and Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, with 242, 213 and 207 points, respectively.
The 30-car TA2 field will feature a mix of mainstays and new faces coming together for one of the largest TA2 class competitions of the year.
Joining the aforementioned Buffomante and Robinson, will be Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 79 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Camaro, giving the field three past class champions in attendance. Lawrence sat out both Virginia International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park but still holds sixth position in the TA2 points and could easily rise to fourth before the close of the Class Auto team’s debut season in Trans Am.
Also in competition for yearend positions are Tom Sheehan, in the No. 97 LTK Insulation Chevrolet Camaro, and Keith Prociuk, in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Camaro, who currently sit fourth and fifth in the championship points with a mere three points of separation.
After a three-round absence, Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 ECC/ Anchor Bolt and Screw Chevrolet Camaro, will make his return, with COTA standing the site of his most recent TA2 victory in 2015.
The 3-Dimensional Services Group team of two-time TA class champ Doug Peterson, in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Chevrolet Camaro, and Rafa Matos, in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Chevrolet Camaro, will also be featured. COTA will mark Matos’ fifth TA2 start, as he chases what has been an elusive TA2 victory despite running in the top three in each competition.
Other TA2 entries of interest include Chris Cook, competing in TA2 west in the No. 21 Shockwave Suspension Seating Chevrolet Camaro, Watkins Glen pole sitter Jason Hart, in the No. 77 Stevens Miller Dodge Challenger, Jaques Lazier, in the No. 68 Atwell Racing Chevrolet Camaro, and Lou Gigliotti, making his first Trans Am appearance since 2002 in the No. 28 LG Motorsports Ford Mustang.
The 12-car TA3 field will see Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper, and Jason Daskalos, in the No. 7 Daskalos Racing Dodge Viper Comp Coupe, join Boden and Kezman as 2017 race winners in attendance, while several debutants will add their own talents to the field.
Featuring in an exhibition capacity in TA3 will be a duo of Ginetta G55-GT4s driven by Park Chase, in the No. 29, and Charlie Robertson, in the No. 69, as Trans Am technical officials evaluate the package for 2017.
Other TA3 newcomers include Marko Radisic, in the No. 11 Precision Driving Ferrari 458 Challenge, and Kurt Fazekus, in the No. 52 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche GT3 Cup.
2017 TA3 rookie of the year Tom Herb, in the No. 16 Fall-Line Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Milton Grant, in the No. 5 Sentry Self Storage Porsche 997, Dirk Leuenberger, in the No. 35 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper, and Don McMillon, in the No. 51 Salasko Racing Chevrolet Corvette will also feature.
In TA4, a familiar face in a new place will give front-runners Brian Kleeman and Todd Napieralski a run for their money, with Shane Lewis stepping behind the wheel of the No. 22 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang for JR Pesek; as Lewis pulls double duty in both TA2 and TA4 on the weekend.
Guy Dreier, the lone West Coast TA4 representative and 2017 champion, will be in attendance in the No. 13 Guy Dreier Designs Maserati Gran Turismo GT4, while Steven Davison, in the No. 2 DaVinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin, and Joe Bogetich, in the No. 65 Westover Controls Chevrolet Camaro, are also set to compete.
Trans Am is joined on the weekend by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, holding its US Vintage National Championship.
Fans of music and motorsport alike can join Trans Am for a special performance by Austin’s own Eric Tessmer Friday, November 3, at 7 PM CT in Paddock A. The concert is free to all credentialed and ticketed attendees and presented by AquaStar, Fast Five Racing and Lux Performance.
Trans Am Circuit of the Americas Schedule:
Friday November 3, 2017
11:20 AM – 11:58 AM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice
12:00 PM – 12:40 PM TA2 Practice
5:00 PM – 5:18 PM TA Qualifying
5:20 PM – 5:38 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
5:40 PM – 5:58 PM TA2 Qualifying
7:00 PM Eric Tessmer Concert
Saturday November 4, 2017
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM Trans American – TA, TA3 TA4
4:35 PM – 5:50 PM Trans American Muscle Car Challenge – TA2
*all times central
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.
The weekend's events will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network.
The Trans American from COTA - TA, TA3, TA4 – Nov. 19, 1:00 PM ET
The Trans American Muscle Car Challenge - TA2 – Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET