Driver Blog: Tom Sheehan on TA2 Pro/Am Challenge

July 10, 2024

Driver Blog: Tom Sheehan on TA2 Pro/Am Challenge

Tom Sheehan shared his thoughts about the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series and the new Pro/Am Challenge format. Sheehan has made 146 starts in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli since 2011, all in the TA2 class.

To capture the present CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, I have to go back to the original attraction for me as a racer. I started racing comparatively late in life. I was drawn to Trans Am after climbing through the ranks from a track day enthusiast in 2002, to a Regional SCCA racer in 2005, to a national SCCA competitor in 2008, and then reaching my goal to race in a professional series in 2010. Following my experiences racing in what was then the Grand-Am Series (now IMSA), I realized the equipment cost to be competitive was beyond my reach, and the racing formats required multiple drivers sharing duties behind the wheel. I had some excellent co-drivers, and it was a tremendous experience. I had only one hurdle that kept tripping me up. Beyond the travel, financial commitment, time management negotiation and politics, the problem was that my racing lacked the certainty I was looking for. Were my racing results in my own hands?

TA2 became a full-time class composed of grassroots racers in 2011. I worked on my own car with Bob Stretch and FixRim in 2015, and I formed my own single-car team with Jamie Aube in Damon Racing. TA2 was an exciting opportunity to race my own car with strong performance potential, relatively low equipment cost, and great competition. I have been blessed to be part of TA2 since its inception, and that’s pretty cool.

The secret kept getting out; the division grew, the car counts grew, the talent level got higher, and the bar was raised by the likes of some great teams. I credit a couple of them, specifically, as the folks that moved the needle, so to speak. Championship teams like Mike Cope Race Cars, Jim Fraser and 74 Ranch, Peterson Racing, and now, Nitro Motorsports. Not to mention BC Race Cars, Team SLR and Silver Hare Racing, all dedicated, proven, hard-working, high-caliber efforts that have yet to claim the crown of TA2 champs. That development is extremely healthy and satisfying to be part of.

There have been many owners and drivers that have been part of my journey: good friends who are fun to race with, talented engineers/drivers in any light, and the entrants I end up racing around event after event. Inevitably, as the talent and future of our sport continued to make their way through TA2, I was looking farther and farther down the speed charts to find my name after practice. I was never discouraged, but it was hard not to take notice. I dug in and continued to work on my craft; I truly love to race.

Essentially, around the 2020 season, I had created the list of the competitors I was racing against, and I set my goals accordingly; I was racing for tenth. The Pro/Am format had been introduced in prior seasons with a limited formula/schedule. I didn’t elect to be classified as Pro/Am because I wanted to run all of the events.

Fast forward to the 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. It would be geared towards drivers like us: business owners by day and trade, racers at heart, but those of us who don’t survive by racing, coaching and guest driving. The dream is racing cars to make a living, but it’s not the way I built my life.

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 Challenge class and continue to keep a place for the highest-level drivers.

I would love to see the legacy of TA2 to continue to build off of the talented, dedicated passionate drivers. We owe a lot to the original drivers like Bob Stretch, Greg Rodgers, Tony Buffomante, Ron Keith, and Kevin Poitras.

Racing is hard, and winning is reserved for one car on any given day. TA2’s Pro/Am Challenge has offered me an opportunity to see how I stack up against my peers and develop as a driver, all while I can continue to experience a wonderful fulfilling career in the field I have dedicated my youth to.

Mike Cope Race Cars was instrumental in creating a voice for the Pro/Am drivers to take the step to a higher level. Scott Lagasse Jr. is committed to being in the National hunt and the Pro/Am Championship, Nitro Motorsports has supported the class, Sabato’s 6th Gear is a long-time part-time entry. I predict the names of the teams affiliated will continue to grow, and I hope additional grassroots teams will take interest. I would love to see the TA2 class continue to grow and the TA2 Pro/Am Challenge develop alongside. It’s great racing, and no better value exists in road racing. I am blessed to be a part of it; it’s a privilege.

Tom Sheehan will race next weekend at Lime Rock Park in the SpeedTour All-Star Race, July 19-20, sharing a car with racing legend Geoff Brabham. You can find more details or get your tickets here. The next points race for the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series is the Mission Foods Watkins Glen SpeedTour at Watkins Glen International, August 21-25.

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