CD Racing Scores One-Two Finish in Mid-Ohio, Brabham Wins & Dyson Extends Championship Point Lead
June 26, 2022
In this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Trans Am by Pirelli race CD Racing duplicated its Memorial Day Lime Rock Park sweep of the top two steps of the podium. But this time it was Matthew Brabham, again subbing for Humaid Masaood, who climbed onto the top step and hoisted the winner’s trophy.
The first 75 miles of the 100-mile sprint race were as exciting and competitive as any in the series' 57-year history. A blanket could virtually have covered the first three cars – Brabham’s #21 allgram Ford Mustang, Dyson’s #20 ALTWELL Ford Mustang and the pole-winning #2 Chassis/STEEL-IT Weaver Dodge Challenger of NASCAR regular (and Trans Am rookie, but Mid-Ohio veteran) Kaz Grala.
At the green flag (which at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for safety reasons is unfurled mid-way down the back straight) Brabham, who had started on the front row alongside Grala, made a bold move to take the lead through the first corner, with Dyson tucking into third place from his second-row starting spot. Brabham led the first lap, but Grala used the Dodge’s prodigious horsepower to blast past Brabham on the long back straight the next lap.
“This was actually our pre-race strategy,” Brabham said, following the race. “I was supposed to race Kaz hard, using up my tires to make Kaz wear out his, while Chris was saving his tires for the end of the race, when it would count.”
No Team Orders
And everything was going according to plan. At the three-quarters mark Brabham slipped past Grala for the lead and Dyson pulled up on the Challenger’s back bumper – just as the line to the Dodge’s oil overflow tank failed, spilling oil and filling Grala’s cockpit with smoke. Grala had no chance to get safely back to the pit and abandoned his car next to the track – unfortunately, at a dangerous location.
By the time the stricken Challenger was removed to a safe location the race had entered its final laps.
“My guys came on the radio and said Matty was asking if he should let me by on the restart,” Dyson said later. “I said no, he should go for it. Let's go racing and have some fun. Just, if I’m faster, don’t block me. I didn’t want two wrecked cars. My tires were in better shape, and I think had the race run green all the way, I would have gotten by him."
Indeed, Dyson was significantly faster and had caught Brabham after the race restarted with 5 tours remaining and was challenging his teammate for the win when a backmarker spun into the gravel, necessitating another caution. This meant a green-white-checker one-lap shootout would decide the race. Brabham managed to get a better jump on the restart and the team cars crossed the line astern, a scant .379 seconds apart.
"Matty got a good enough restart and around here, with just one lap, there was just not enough time to challenge him,” Dyson said afterwards. "But he did a stunning job again for the team this last weekend. Matty's broad array of winning racing experience in everything from IndyCars to Super Trucks, makes him a superb competitor. In a teammate you can't ask for more. I'm thrilled for the team today."
Despite failing to win for just the second time this season, Dyson left Mid-Ohio with an expanded series title point lead. His closest challengers, Ken Thwaits and Tomy Drisi, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
On To Wisconsin
Round 8 of the Trans Am season runs over the July 4th weekend at Elkhart Lake, Wisc., on the classic four-mile Road America circuit. The 25-lap TA-class race takes the green flag at 4:45 pm CT (5:45 pm ET)
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