Defending Champion Chris Dyson Rebounds from Charlotte Crash with Perfect Race at Road Atlanta
March 27, 2022
When the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli hit the track at Road Atlanta, 2021 champion Chris Dyson had the car to beat. His weekend was not without challenges, but after starting the race from pole position, Dyson pulled out to the lead and held it through the entire 40-lap TA feature, earning his second victory of 2022.
After an early crash last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL, Dyson came to Road Atlanta looking to bounce back with a good weekend and a good points day. When the race weekend opened, Dyson’s No. 20 Altwell Ford Mustang was fast right off the hauler, topping the charts in both of the weekend’s test sessions. Unfortunately, adversity struck in the official practice session when Dyson experienced engine issues, which prevented him from making a lap before qualifying. However, the CD Racing team performed a fast engine change in the paddock, and Dyson was quick enough to earn his second Motul Pole Award of 2022.
When the green flag waved, Dyson took off from the point position, challenged by front-row starter Tomy Drissi in his No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford Mustang. Drissi was hot on Dyson’s tail, pushing Dyson until lap 15. Unfortunately, that was when Drissi experienced a mechanical issue, which caused his Mustang to smoke and oil to enter the cockpit. Drissi fought for the remainder of the race to maintain the second position, but the issue slowed him enough for Dyson to drive away, cruising to the win by leading every lap of the race.
Behind Drissi, Ken Thwaits in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro, Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette, and Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the No. 4 Ultimate Headers Ford Mustang all battled for the third spot, with Dallenbach Jr. ultimately crossing the finish line third overall and first in the Trans Am Heritage class. Thwaits finished third in the TA class, and Ruman finished fourth, followed by Richard Grant in the No. 30 Grant Racing Chevrolet Corvette.
“Today was a great display of what this team is capable of,” said Dyson in Victory Lane. “The car was absolutely brilliant right off the truck and throughout the weekend. We had engine problems yesterday in practice, and after we won the pole, I was just so proud of this team and extremely excited for today’s race. I’m so happy to have the Altwell car back in Victory Lane. Tomy [Drissi] pushed me the whole way. Today was really good for our points and I’m really excited heading into the next race.”
Hometown favorite Danny Lowry won the SGT class in his No. 42 BridgeHaul Porsche GT3 Cup, while Billy Griffin took the win in the GT class in his No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang. Randy Hale’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette took the victory in XGT.
“You know what they say, there’s no place like home,” said Georgia native and SGT class winner Danny Lowry. “I kind of had a little advantage on these boys because this is my home track. Having a lot of laps here means an awful lot if you want to go fast, and I was fortunate enough to have the homefield advantage this weekend.”
“I’m really proud of the way this car ran today,” said GT winner Billy Griffin. “I had a great run; I feel like I want to do another 100 miles. If there was enough fuel, I would. My car just got better and better over the course of the race. This was the best race I’ve had in a long time. I really felt comfortable, and it was wonderful. I hope I never have to stop doing this.”
“This was a great race,” said XGT victor Randy Hale. “The Whelen Engineering Corvette was fantastic today. EMCO built us a great transmission over the winter and it shifted great today. My team did a great job this weekend.”
“I enjoy racing in this series so much,” said two-time Trans Am champion Dallenbach Jr., who won the Trans Am Heritage class. “Today was great; I’m having so much fun. The Trans Am Series is such a blast, and I enjoy racing with everybody. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. These are my favorite cars to drive, and I’ve got a pretty good one. This is home for me.”
Today’s event will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, April 2 6:00 p.m. ET. Yesterday’s TA2 race will air on the network on Sunday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
TA returns to the track next month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Full race results can be found here.