2023 Track to the Title: Brent Crews, TA2 Champion
December 21, 2023
After an impressive first season in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli in 2022 when he became the youngest winner in series history at 14 years, three months and three days old, Brent Crews came into the 2023 season willing to settle for no less than the championship. Although he led the standings for much of the season, Crews’ road to the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series title was never a sure thing, and he didn’t clinch the championship until the checkered flag waved at the season finale at Circuit of The Americas.
Crews drove his No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang to Victory Lane for the first time this season at NOLA Motorsports Park, where he started on the front row and battled early on with 2022 champion Thomas Merrill and rookie Austin Green, then fought two-time champion Rafa Matos and Nathan Herne in the closing laps before crossing the finish line.
“This is great, I’m pretty speechless,” said Crews after the win. “I had a lot of people challenge me, multiple different competitors, it definitely wasn’t easy. I just had to keep my cool. Thank you to everybody that touches this thing.”
Crews once again had to best Merrill and Matos for his second win of the season in Race 1 of the Detroit Grand Prix, showing the speed and skill of drivers twice his age at the challenging new street circuit. The victory allowed Crews to take the points lead for the first time in 2023, which he ultimately never relinquished.
Crews won from the pole position at Road America in July, the same track in which he won his first-career Trans Am race last season. The victory also allowed him to clinch the 3-Dimensional Services Group Triple Track Challenge, a mid-season points challenge for the TA2 class.
Crews’ championship campaign was first challenged at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, where early crash damage resulted in a 27th-place finish. Fortunately, he rebounded with a win at Watkins Glen International in the series’ next event.
Following a second-place finish in Trans Am’s inaugural race at World Wide Technology Raceway, Crews had the opportunity to clinch the class by finishing fourth or better in the penultimate round of the season at VIRginia International Raceway. Unfortunately, disaster struck when a cut tire resulted in a crash, which caused crippling damage to his car, relegating him to a 32nd-place finish. The result shrunk Crews’ lead from 133 points going into VIR down to just 45 points. However, a fourth-place result at COTA allowed him to ultimately prevail with the title, making him the youngest champion in Trans Am Series history at 15 years, seven months and six days old. Crews also clinched the 2023 Young Gun Award, which is a $20,000 cash prize awarded to the highest-finishing driver under the age of 25.
“It feels great to win the championship,” said Crews about his title. “The team worked hard all year. In my rookie year, we were able to come in third in the points, so this year, I knew what I needed to do from my perspective and how to get the car set up to make sure we ran well every race. Being able to finish every race, I think, is the main way to be a champion. That's what I learned last year. Now, to be the youngest champion, I think that’s the highest bar. That's a plus of being able to work with Nitro Motorsports and Nick Tucker. I grew up with him, working with him from five years old and on, racing go karts with him, winning championships. Coming into this professional series to race against the best drivers and best teams and to have been able to have success here, win races and win championships, that’s really special.”