CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series Pro/Am Challenge Makes New Stars Shine

May 21, 2024

CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series Pro/Am Challenge Makes New Stars Shine

Last October, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli unveiled an updated points and classification structure for the Pro/Am Challenge in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, leading to a revitalization of the class in 2024.

In addition to the previous Pick Six Challenge format run in years past, TA2 competitors now have an option to compete based on their top-nine finishes, utilizing the same points structure as the National Championship, which makes it a more competitive and desirable option for drivers who are competing full time in the series. The new format has put a spotlight on drivers who are passionate and talented competitors, but haven’t always been able to vie for podium finishes and championships due to smaller budgets or professional obligations conflicting with race weekends.

Pro/Am competitors are benefiting from increased media exposure through the addition of a dedicated Pro/Am on-board camera in every broadcast and a separate Pro/Am podium in GYM WEED Winners Circle after each event. These improvements have led to one of the most competitive Pro/Am classes the series has ever seen, blending TA2 veterans like Tom Sheehan, Keith Prociuk, Michele Abbate and Barry Boes with new drivers like former NFL player and first-round draft pick Jared Odrick.

So far, the class has seen three different winners in four races and a competitive points battle. Barry Boes (No. 27 Team SLR-M1 Racecars Ford Mustang), who currently leads the Pro/Am standings, took the first two Pro/Am wins of the season with strong performances in deep fields at both Sebring International Raceway and Road Atlanta.

“Pro/Am has been great because I get to race against drivers who also have a full-time job [outside of racing], like I do,” said Boes. “But we're out there in the mix with the rest of the full-time professional drivers, and I get to compete against those and the guys who have a background more like mine. Keith Prociuk is the guy who I was really worried about because he is so good in the races. I feel really fortunate to have been at the top of the podium the first couple races, but I know I'm going to work real hard to stay there.”

Keith Prociuk (No. 9 HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang) got his first Pro/Am victory in Round 3 at NOLA Motorsports Park in his 101st start in the Trans Am Series.

“I've been active in helping the series evolve,” said Prociuk. “I believe that TA2 is now in the best position it's ever been to provide a reasonably affordable, fair and competitive racing environment for up-and-coming talents, seasoned pros, and arrive-and-drive Pro/Ams like myself. I've raced with many of the younger NASCAR drivers that have gone on to win in Xfinity and Cup. Now, we race with some young talent that already delivers impressive results in other series. It’s pretty neat to be able to race with these talents.”

In Trans Am’s most recent outing, series “Iron Man” Tom Sheehan (No. 97 Vixen Motorcycle/LTK Insulation Ford Mustang) overcame a rough start to the season to earn his first Pro/Am victory at World Wide Technology Raceway, marking the first time he has stood on the top step of a Trans Am podium in his 142 starts in the series.

“At tail end of the 2023 season, Keith Prociuk, a longtime competitor, a good, fast driver, friend, and a guy that I like to race with, stated that Pro/Am was going to make a competitive shift in focus as a season-long championship of its own, departing from a smattering of events to a fuller season,” said Sheehan. “The talent I have been privileged to race wheel to wheel with is amazing. So, here I am, representing TA2 Pro/Am. I was fortunate enough to get the monkey off my back and take my first win in the class at Word Wide Technology Raceway. I will continue to work hard to earn another win. It’s not going to be easy. Barry Boes, Keith Prociuk, Jim Gallaugher, Roberto Sabato, Jared Odrick and many others will be shooting to do the same. I definitely hope we can expand on the TA2 Pro/Am class and continue to keep a place for the highest-level drivers.”

Other Pro/Am drivers also offered their thoughts on the new format after finding success as Pro/Am competitors:

At Road Atlanta, Michele Abbate (No. 30 GHOST/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) earned her first National Championship podium, finishing second in Pro/Am. Abbate is unable to race full-time in TA2 as she has in previous seasons due to budget constraints, but is able to put forth a competitive effort in Pro/Am.

"The new Pro/Am Challenge provides a level playing field for drivers like me, who aren't able to commit to a full-season effort,” said Abbate. “Even though a full-season effort is the goal, this new championship has allowed me to provide great National coverage for my sponsors at iconic tracks, along with really close racing with talented drivers, and an avenue to go for the championship with a partial season.  In addition, I have been able to celebrate on the podium with legends like Keith Prociuk and Barry Boes, two drivers I've enjoyed racing with over the past couple years.  I hope the new format opens door for more drivers to showcase their talent in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, especially when the full-season budget may not seem possible yet."

Jared Odrick (No. 81 CB Motorsports Ford Mustang) made his Trans Am Series debut at Sebring in February and has earned his first-career podiums, finishing third at NOLA Motorsports Park and second in the most recent round at WWTR. Odrick is one of the only competitors who has made his series debut in Pro/Am.

“Pro/Am is all I know, so I can’t differentiate Pro/Am from the rest of my experience in TA2,” said Odrick. “I’m out there with the guys who are considered Pro, as well as the ones who are competing for Pro/Am, so it’s like swimming in the deep end of the pool. I'm just excited to have all these great drivers around me that I know are not just running this series, but other Pro series, and have had major success all across the world. I couldn't be happier with how much I'm learning and the experience I'm having. As a competitor, it's gnawing at the back of my mind that I'm not faster than I am, but being the competitor that I am, I'm having the most fun that I could ever have. I'm out here trying to improve and get better. I have a bunch of rabbits to chase, lots of driving and behavior to emulate, and I'm excited to keep learning.”

The 2024 Pro/Am Challenge adds even more depth to the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, which already provides a great deal of competition between professional veterans and Young Guns beginning what will likely be long and successful careers in motorsports. See the TA2 Pro/Am drivers in action next at the Lime Rock Speed Tour at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-27. Tickets can be purchased here.

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