Kyle Kelley Endures Wild CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series Race to Win at Laguna Seca

May 5, 2024

Kyle Kelley Endures Wild CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series Race to Win at Laguna Seca

Nagai Wins Third XGT Race of 2024, Steve Goldman Takes TA, David Hampton Tops GT

SALINAS, Calif. (May 5, 2024) – After extreme rain and wind canceled Race 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Western Championship had blue skies when the green flag waved on Sunday. The CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series race was a thrilling one, with multiple leaders fighting for the win, intense battles throughout the field and a revolving top 10 as competitors faced mechanical issues and spins. Ultimately, it was Kyle Kelley in the No. 80 PK+k Properties/ Ford Mustang who took the checkered flag, earning his first-career Trans Am win.

Notes of Interest

  • This was Kyle Kelley’s first-career victory in the Trans Am Series after 14 starts across the Western and National Championships.
  • Three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jim Guthrie scored his first Trans Am podium.
  • Michael LaPaglia, who was leading the TA2 points coming into this weekend, finished 14th due to electrical issues.
  • XGT’s Michelle Nagai and TA’s Steve Goldman earned their third victories of 2024.
  • David Hampton is undefeated in the GT class this season.

CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series:
With the grid for today’s race set by combining the weekend’s two practice session times, Tim Barber in the No. 33 DIG Motorsports Ford Mustang started the race first in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series. Barber led the first 20 laps before he was challenged by Tim Carroll in the No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro, who took over the point position. Two laps later, Barber made contact with Carroll, resulting in Carroll spinning and Barber losing his position, which opened the door for Kyle Kelley in the No. 80 PK+k Properties/ Ford Mustang to take the lead.

Kelley led Barber, Barry Boes (No. 32 Accio Data/TRB Autosport Ford Mustang), debuting driver Caleb Shrader (No. 99 DIG Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro) and Tim Lynn (No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang). On lap 26, Shrader spun in Turn 2, and then Boes experienced a mechanical issue three laps later, forcing him to retire.

After a full-course caution, Kelley and Barber were followed by Lynn, Jim Guthrie (No. 27 Guthrie’s Garage Ford Mustang), and Carroll, who had worked his way back into the top five. The final laps of the race were wild, with five different cars in the top 10 spinning as a result of heated battles, shuffling the running order. When the checkered flag waved, Kelley claimed his first Trans Am victory, followed by Barber and Guthrie. Sutherland fought his way into fourth, and Lynn crossed the finish line fifth. Following the race, Barber was issued a penalty for avoidable contact with Carroll, which moved him down to fourth in the finishing order.

“We let the race come to us," said Kelley. "You know, the first half of the race, we kind of held back a little bit and let people burn their tires and cars up a little bit. When we got the opportunity to take the lead, I was like, 'That's all right, I'll let [Tim] Barber get it back in a little bit.' And then I was like, 'Okay, well, I guess we can hold pace.' Then at the end, I was like, 'He's not getting by.’ I want to thank my kids, my dad. We’ve got a great crew over here. You know, they don't look like much, but they do a good job,” concluded Kelley with a laugh.

CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series Top Five:
1. Kyle Kelley, No. 80 PK+k Properties/ Ford Mustang
2. Jim Guthrie, No. 27 Guthrie’s Garage Ford Mustang
3. Ken Sutherland, No. 68 Kallberg Racing/Wyatt Fire Chevrolet Camaro  
4. Tim Barber, No. 33 DIG Motorsports Ford Mustang
5. Tim Lynn, No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang

CoolBoxx Coolest Move of the Race:
Tim Carroll, No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro

It was a frustrating day for all three XGT cars in today’s race, with each facing mechanical issues throughout the event. Second-in-class starter Tim Rankin in the No. 5 TCR IT Solutions Ford Mustang was the first to experience an issue when his brakes locked up on pit road on lap 11, ending his day. Chris Evans in the No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang was next to fall victim to the track, breaking an axle on lap 22.  

Starting from first overall, Michelle Nagai in the No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro briefly relinquished the lead to TA2’s Tim Barber on lap one before taking it back on lap two. Once in control of the race, she held the point position until the restart on lap 34, when she started to experience a pedal issue and dropped down to ninth. Sinking farther back to 13th, she retired on the white-flag lap, ultimately finishing 15th overall. As the last XGT car standing, she was awarded the victory.

“It was a great race up until the final restart." said Nagai. "The pedal decided to go to the ground and said, 'No, you're not doing this today.' We dealt with what we were dealing with. Either way, it wasn't what we wanted, but we had a good run. And you know what? We'll take this first place. We'll move on to Portland. I want to thank the guys for running me clean. It was a good race. Tim Barber was pretty on it today, so I appreciate him driving me clean every race.”

XGT Results:
1. Michelle Nagai, No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro
2. Chris Evans, No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang
3. Tim Rankin, No. 5 TCR IT Solutions Ford Mustang

David Hampton in the No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport once again had the GT field to himself and spent the race weaving his way through the field and battling TA2 competitors. After starting 21st overall, he progressed all the way up to ninth place to earn his fifth GT victory of the season.

“This is really fun, and I'll tell you what, I am exhausted after that much driving," said Hampton after also competing in International GT this weekend. “All the TA2 guys, they were just absolutely awesome. They're really close, but we just work it out and I'm happy to be there. I hope they're all right with that, because it's a lot of fun; I'm really enjoying it. The team from AR Motorsports is absolutely amazing. They just work on the car; they get it so good. Thomas Merrill, my coach, is just incredible. Thanks to Martin, the crew chief, and John, who plugs me into that car every single time. It's just worked so well. Thank you, guys.”

GT Results:
1. David Hampton, No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport

The only car in the TA class, Steve Goldman in the No. 13 LIG Chevrolet Corvette collected his third victory of the season. Goldman started the race 20th overall and had worked his way up to 14th for the final restart of the race. Unfortunately, he suffered a mechanical issue after the green flag waved, retiring nine laps shy of the checkered flag.

“Winning a TA race at Laguna Seca feels great," said Goldman. "And what a beautiful day compared to yesterday, huh? Our No. 13 LIG Racing Corvette was hooked up today, and then the weirdest thing happened on the last restart. I don't know if it was the axle, the Detroit Locker or what, but as soon as I got on the gas, it just kept kicking sideways. So, something was wrong. But up until then, it ran great.”

TA Results:
1. Steve Goldman, No. 13 LIG Racing Chevrolet Corvette

Final Details:
Full race results can be found here.

The Western Championship returns to action July 26-28 for a doubleheader at Portland International Raceway as part of the PIR SpeedTour.

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