Chris Dyson Looks For Tough Competition As Trans Am Visits Charlotte and Atlanta
March 17, 2022
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (March 17, 2022) – Coming off a dominant win in the 2022 Trans Am by Pirelli season opener last month at Sebring, Florida, Chris Dyson doesn’t expect an easy time at all as the series visits two more southern circuits on consecutive weekends. His #20 ALTWELL Ford Mustang will have a target on its rear bumper, figuratively at least, in the 100-mile sprint races this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and next weekend at Road Atlanta.
“It might have looked easy at Sebring, but trust me, it wasn’t,” Dyson said. “We did well at Sebring because the team didn’t let down a bit from its performance last season, and everyone executed perfectly from the minute the car rolled out of the trailer.” The team won seven of the last eight races in the 2021 season, including the finale, when Matthew Brabham stood in for Dyson after the championship was decided.
“Some of the other teams might not have been quite up to full speed yet at Sebring,” Dyson suggested. “But after four seasons in the Trans Am I know the teams and I know the drivers. All the top teams have the driving and technical talent to win on any weekend. Our team’s performance at Sebring will not discourage them, only make them more determined. I expect this to be the most competitive of the five seasons I’ve been in the series. If we are going to successfully defend our title, everyone on the team will need to maintain their focus for the entire season.”
Roval vs. Road Circuit
There are substantial differences between the pair of venues where the next two Trans Am races will be contested. For more than 50 years Road Atlanta, a serpentine circuit that winds through Georgia hill country, has been one of the premier road-racing facilities in North America. Charlotte Motor Speedway, located a bit more than three hours north of Road Atlanta on I-85, is best known as a high-banked 1.5-mile oval that hosts NASCAR races. But for more than 40 years, this track located in the heart of stock car racing territory has hosted amateur and professional road racing on a circuit that incorporates most of the oval and adds roadway that runs through the infield. "The Roval," as it has been known since 2018, features a unique layout.
“You would think Charlotte, a track that has so much banked oval, would be much faster than a pure road circuit like Road Atlanta, but in terms of average speed Road Atlanta is actually a bit faster.” Road Atlanta is 2.54 miles in length and features 12 turns, most of them fast. The Charlotte roval is a bit shorter, 2.28 miles, and has 17 turns.
“A direct comparison isn’t possible,” Dyson noted, “because this will be the first time Trans Am cars in their current configuration have raced at Charlotte, but the NASCAR Cup record is 100.098 mph. My fastest qualifying time in a Trans Am car at Road Atlanta is a bit over 114 mph, so Road Atlanta is probably going to be just as fast as Charlotte. We probably won't run our setups very differently at either track despite the layout differences."
Dyson explained that the pair of chicanes on the oval and the relatively tight confines of the infield combine to create some highly technical and slower sections. “One challenge for me as a driver at Charlotte will getting a sense of rhythm of the track. Road Atlanta has a flowing quality, which is all about momentum and carrying speed. But I expect the biggest difference in the two tracks will be the demand Charlotte makes on brakes. At Road Atlanta, which is a longer track, you only really brake four times, and only twice really hard. It looks to me like there are at least 8 turns where we will need to brake at Charlotte and at least four of them will put a big load on the brakes. I think it’s a good thing that the series has gone to larger 18-inch Pirelli tires this season, because that allows us to run bigger brakes and creates more airflow within the wheels.”
Masaood Returns For Third Trans Am Season With CD Racing
After missing the season-opener at Sebring due to business commitments, UK-based Humaid Masaood is back for a third season as Dyson’s CD Racing teammate. His #21 Ford Mustang will sport the livery of allgram, a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) secure communication platform.
Masaood appeared in four Trans Am races with CD Racing in 2022, scoring podiums at Sonoma and Laguna Seca.
“Travel issues related to the Covid pandemic meant I wasn’t able to race in the Trans Am as regularly as I wished last year,” Masaood noted. “But that situation is much better now and I am looking forward to racing a lot, representing allgram. I’ve got a fast car and a great team. I’m looking forward to some good results.”
Video Coverage of Charlotte & Road Atlanta
The Charlotte and Road Atlanta TA races will be streamed live and free on the Trans Am Series by Pirelli YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/TheTransAmSeries).
The Charlotte live-stream coverage begins at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 20.
The Road Atlanta live-stream coverage begins at 11:55 a.m. on Sunday, March 27.
Both events will be televised on a tape-delay basis on CBS Sports Network and also MavTV, dates TBA.
The fourth race of the 2022 Trans Am by Pirelli season is at WeatherTech Laguna Seca, April 22-24.
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