Ave Motorsports and Tony Ave Racing Earn Pole And a Pair of Podiums at Road Atlanta Trans Am
May 17, 2015
Team Release- BRASELTON, Georgia (May 12, 2015) – Ave Motorsports, Tony Ave Racing, and drivers Paul Fix and Doug Peterson, combined to earn the TA-class pole position and a pair of podium finishes at Road Atlanta this past weekend, May 7 – 9, in the Foametix Trans Am 100.
Led by champion driver, constructor and team director Tony Ave, Ave Motorsports and Tony Ave Racing were represented by more than 10 different entries during a record weekend of Trans Am competition. The Road Atlanta race made Trans Am history with an all-time record entry of 74 cars in two races.
In addition the Trans Am 100, which featured the top-tier TA class, the weekend also included the Foametix Muscle Car Challenge, another 100-mile race exclusively for the TA2 class.
Tony Ave Racing operated teams in both races in addition to seeing several Ave Motorsportsbuilt AR-1 chassis race cars competing in the Trans Am 100.
Fix and Peterson were at the top end of the TA field all weekend in their Tony Ave Racing-prepared Corvettes. Peterson paced Thursday’s opening practice with a with a session-best lap time of 1:21.869 in the No. 87 3Dimensional.com Corvette.
Fix in turn stepped up to win the TA pole in Friday’s “Fast Five” qualifying with at top lap time of 1:20.120 in his No. 4 Classic Tube/StopFlex/Car Coach/Royal Purple Corvette. He took the lead in Saturday’s race at the drop of the green flag and led the opening laps.
“Paul did a great job leading the race from the pole until he got caught out by traffic,” Ave said. “Then we just had a bit too much understeer in the car when we weren't out front anymore and he couldn't quite find a way past. He drove it as fast as it would go.”
Peterson, the two-time and reigning Trans Am TA champion, was also in top-three contention throughout the race and shook off a late mechanical issue to keep the final podium spot.
“Doug ran very well in third right, on the leaders, until a broken header slowed him down,” Ave said. “He did a great job to salvage third.”
In addition to the pair of top TA-class competitors, Tony Ave Racing’s additional “house cars” include three TA2 entries. Joe Napoleon and his son, Justin Napoleon, compete in identical No. 90 and No. 91 Turnkey Industries/CommState Bank Camaros while Ave himself drives the No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing/Highpoint Farms Mustang. All three drivers endured a challenging race on Saturday.
Justin Napoleon had a top-10 run going in his No. 90 Camaro only to be pushed off the track by another competitor. He recovered to finish 13th, a result that would be the team’s top TA2 showing on a tough day.
Joe Napoleon staged a great run through the field before losing a water pump belt on his No. 91 Camaro in the second half of the race.
Ave ran in the top five and showed race-winning pace early but the team later found that a tooth had been knocked off of his race car’s second gear, the likely result of a hit from behind during the race’s first yellow. Ave still managed to run as high as seventh with the stricken gearbox before the Mustang lost all drive just two laps from the end.
“The racing is really tight in TA2, and you can never stop pushing, I can tell you that,” said Ave, who topped Thursday TA2 practice with a time of 1:27.202. “I think it’s a great thing that we've been able to separate the races, and we will keep looking to do that whenever possible.”
In addition to the Tony Ave Racing “house cars,” several TA competitors were in action at Road Atlanta in AR-1 chassis race cars built by Ave Motorsports. Three competitors joined podiumplayers Fix and Peterson in helping AR-1s sweep half of the top-eight finishing order in the Trans
David Pintaric finished sixth in the No. 57 Kryderacing/WRP Investments Corvette, Jim McAleese was seventh in the No. 03 Jetco Engineering Corvette and Cliff Ebben was eighth in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group/Lamers Motor Racing Mustang.
Ebben’s teammate, Denny Lamers, was 11th in his No. 66 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group/Lamers Motor Racing Mustang while the final two AR-1s in the race also showed well. Claudio Burtin was 14th in his No. 7 Foametix Corvette, one spot ahead of the similar No. 30 Grant Racing
Corvette of Richard Grant. Each of the eight AR-1 chassis race cars in the Trans Am 100 finished in the top 15.
The Trans Am Series next heads to Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on Memorial Day Weekend for The Next Dimension 100, Presented by 3Dimensional Services Group, Saturday, May 23.
“Paul has led every lap of the last two Lime Rock Trans Am races and is very pumped about going back,” Ave said. “Doug led the most laps there in 2012 and is equally motivated to get back to the top of the podium.”
Stepping into the Memorial Day Weekend spotlight at Lime Rock for its best attended event on the biggest auto racing weekend of the year in the United States is another plus for the growing Trans Am Series.
“The Trans Am Series is in a great place right now,” Ave said. “There is no better bang for the buck in road racing today. Actually, for the performance of the car nothing even comes close. As we keep expanding on our TV package I think you're only going to see it grow more and more.”
The Road Atlanta weekend’s races will be telecast later this month on CBS Sports Network. The Foametix 100 airs Saturday, May 23, at 12 p.m. EDT while the Foametix Muscle Car Challenge