Tomy Drissi Takes 2nd In a Thrilling Return to TransAm presented by Pirelli at Sebring
TEAM RELEASE - The TransAm Series presented by Pirelli hosted the season opener, March 2-5 at the legendary Sebring International Raceway. Returning to the Series and marking his career 100th start in TransAm, Tomy Drissi delivered a performance both worthy of a Champion and the number two spot on the podium.
Driving the No. 8 Ghost in the Shell Corvette for Tony Ave Racing, Tomy and his crew worked throughout the week searching for speed and the right set up. While both driver and car improved over each practice session, they struggled to get the car into the lead group. Disaster struck in the Saturday morning session when Tomy was unable to gather the car in turn 17 making contact with the tire wall. Ave’s crew was able to get the car repaired for qualifying. In the afternoon qualifying session, again, Tomy was able to pick up time, but not positions. He qualified the car to start 8th in Sunday’s race.
The crew did an amazing job, not only repairing the car in time for qualifying, by Sunday’s race the car was in full livery and looked spectacular as it came to the starting grid. The hard work did not go unnoticed, Tony Ave Racing was named the PitBoxes.com Crew of the Race and crew chief Gregory Smyre was awarded the Traq Gear Crew Chief of the Weekend.
At the Sunday morning driver’s meeting, Tomy was honored by TransAm President, John Clagett, with the presentation of a beautifully engraved crystal piece commemorating Tomy’s 100th TransAm start.
“Coming to the race, I had no idea that this would be my 100th start,” noted Tomy. “To be honest, it’s hard to believe. I’m nowhere near quitting… in fact, I’m just getting started. I’m ready for the next 100. But I have to say, it’s really nice to be honored and be in the company of such an amazing roster of drivers and past champions. TransAm is such an important piece of road racing history. But when I think about all of the people I should be thanking, it begins to feel like a retirement speech… and I’m NOT retiring. But seriously, there are so many people who have helped along the way and I truly am grateful. Of course without exception, my family is first and foremost. My mom and dad, (Papa) were so supportive and now my wife, Lacy and our two beautiful twins, ElinJames and JaggerE.”
Tomy started the 27 lap, 100 mile race in eighth place. As the pack sorted itself out coming though the first turn, Tomy would drop a spot recording ninth place on lap two. From there, he began working his way through the field.
“I don’t think I ever really got comfortable in the car the entire week,” said Tomy. “The first lap of the race, I kept thinking how the car was really a handful. But as I looked around me, it appeared everyone else had their hands full as well. And it hit me. You can’t worry about the set up or what you’d like to change. This is race day… these are the card’s you’ve been dealt… shut up and drive. And that’s the truth. At this point in the week, you drive it. That’s your only option. Drive. And that’s what I did.”
As Tomy worked his way up to sixth, things were beginning to unfold at the front. The race leader had dropped out with engine problems and others were starting to experience handling issues. With eighteen laps to go, Tomy was up to fourth. After a late race caution, Tomy moved around Claudio Burtin’s No. 7 GoShare Corvette to take third. But in his mirrors was David Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V. Pintaric had been dogging Drissi, always keeping visual contact. As they battled their way through the field, they were locked in third and fourth respectively. On the very last lap the pair got around Vinnie Algaretta’s No. 41 Sights and Sounds Corvette with Drissi winning the battle and taking second place. It was Tomy’s 20th TransAm career top-three finish.
“I’m back!,” exclaimed a jubilant Tomy, following the race. “You couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season. I mean c’mon… 100 starts, it’s TransAm, it’s Sebring and we took an eighth place car to second. What an awesome race. And… I have to say, David [Pintaric] drove a first class race and he’s a true gentleman. He had plenty of opportunities to work me over… but chose to race me clean. Seriously… a true sportsman. I’ll race him side by side any day of the week. That was a lot of fun.”
“We didn’t have the best car.. but we’ll get there,” added Tomy. “Tony’s [Ave] crew gave everything they had getting this car ready. I’ll go to war with these guys anytime. They put everything they had into getting that car on track for Saturday’s qualifying and they didn’t stop there. They worked non-stop to improve the car and make sure we were in full livery for Sunday’s race. These guys know the value of our sponsors and know the meaning of the word ‘team.’ I can’t thank them enough.”
“I’m really excited about running the season on these Pirelli tires, noted Tomy. “These are tires you can race on. If a driver is smart, they’ll put out great grip for the entire 100 miles. You can drive into your set up, or drive out of your set up. The point is, the tires deliver, it’s up to the driver on how he or she wants to use them. I’m looking forward to racing with tires like this. Pirelli is a great partner for the Series.
Earlier in the week TransAm announced a 12-race broadcast platform for the 2017 Trans Am Championship, presented by Pirelli, bringing six Trans Am events throughout the 2017 schedule to a national audience on CBS Sports Network. Each selected Trans Am event will have both 100-mile races, a multi-class TA, TA3 and TA4 race as well as an independent TA2 race, broadcast independently in a one-hour format. Venues currently selected for broadcast include the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, Brainerd International Raceway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America—all returning events broadcast in 2016. They will be joined in 2017 by Trans Am’s inaugural races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway alongside the Sports Car Vintage Racing Association and the coming together of Trans Am and the Trans Am West Coast Championship at Circuit of The Americas.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will now head to Homestead-Miami Speedway for Round 2 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship on April 9th. The Trans Am West Coast Championship will hold Round 1 of its 2017 season at Willow Springs International Raceway, March 25-26.
Fans of the Trans Am Series by Pirelli can follow along throughout the weekend at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam. Live Timing and Scoring can be found throughout all sessions on gotransam.com and on RaceMonitor.
Keep up with Tomy at http://www.tomydrissi.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tomydrissi/ - Catch Tomy’s Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/tomydrissi
Ghost in the Shell is an upcoming American science fiction action film directed by Rupert Sanders and written by Jamie Moss and Ehren Kruger, based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. Sanders dedicated the film to Buried director Rodrigo Cortés. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche. It will be released on March 31, 2017, in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.
Tomy Drissi is an American driver and Trans Am Champion.
His driver experience includes ALMS, Trans-Am, NASCAR and Speed World Challengea
Born December 9 in Hollywood, California, Tomy owns an advertising firm that produces upcoming film displays for cinemas.
Drissi's first racing experience in motorsports was street racing on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills.
Tomy’s professional racing career highlights include:
• 1999 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year,
• 2000 Trans-Am BBS Most Improved Driver,
• 2000 Trans-Am Crew of the Year
• 2000 Trans-Am Long Beach Champion
• 2009 Trans-Am Champion.
• 2010 ALMS (one off race) Prototype LMP1 3rd. at Mid Ohio
• 2011 saw Tomy's return to the American Le Mans LMPC division. He scored a 2nd at Long Beach, 3rd at Lime Rock, 1st at Mid Ohio,1st at Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix and second at Road Atlanta -Petit Le Mans.
• 2012, Drissi teamed with Bruno Junqiera for finishing 2nd at Laguna Seca, a win at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park), 2nd at Baltimore and second at the season finale, Petit Lemans.
• 2013 NASCAR CUP/Nationwide. Best result at Mid Ohio starting 38th and finishing 19th.
• 2014 IMSA LMPC at Daytona 3rd.
• 2014 NASCAR CUP/Nationwide. Finished 19th at The Glen
• 2015 TUDOR Series. 2nd Place Rolex 24 at Daytona
• 2016 WeatherTech Series. 2nd Place Rolex 24 at Daytona
The Trans Am Series is America’s Road Racing Series and dates back to 1966. Throughout the years, some of the greatest names in motorsports have participated in the Trans Am Series. Names like Tommy Kendall, Mark Donohue, Peter Gregg, Bob Tullius and Wally Dallenbach, Jr. have all won multiple championships under the Trans Am name.
While Trans Am will always be dedicated to honoring its history and legacy, it is far from simply living in the past. Since the addition of the Trans Am Race Company, LLC in late 2011, Trans Am has experienced unprecedented growth as a new class based model has been implemented. Now, three distinct classes take center stage; TA, TA2 and TA3, Trans Am is positioned to power into the future, not live in the past.
The iconic Trans Am Series – America’s Road Racing Series – is operated by the Trans Am Race Company, LLC. Through a five-year agreement, the Trans Am Race Company manages the marketing rights to the series and is responsible for Trans Am Series public relations and promotions. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides event operations services to the series.
For more on the Series visit www.gotransam.com, “like” Trans Am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam, or follow Trans Am on Twitter at @gotransam.