ECC Motorsports Season Wrap
November 30, 2015
TEAM RELEASE - In the 2015 Trans Am season finale Adam Andretti held the TA2 class lead with two laps to go. Gar Robinson ran 3rd. If the race finished in that order, Andretti would win his first Trans Am Championship. It was that close. Andretti finished 3rd in the race and 2nd for a second consecutive year in the championship points.
Regardless of any disappointment that comes with falling just short of a championship, ECC Motorsports and Andretti had a remarkable season. With the 3rd place finish at Daytona Andretti scored 8 podium finishes in 12 races. Among those podiums were wins at New Jersey Motorsports Park and at the Circuit of the Americas. Andretti also won three pole positions.
The Daytona finale was a wild scramble for ECC. “We had a vibration in practice and qualifying and went out in final practice after we found and fixed it. With five minutes to go we blew a right front and hit the wall.” ECC team owner A.J. Henriksen said. “We were at the track until midnight getting the car fixed. Then in the morning we get a hardship lap to check the repairs and he gets into some oil and knocks the nose off the car. We made it to grid with like a minute to spare. It was a wild time.”
“The race went well. He was good on the restarts. He led a lot of laps. With two laps to go we had the lead and Gar was 3rd. If it ended like that, we win the championship. But Gar got by Tony Buffomonte for second. So even if he didn’t get by Adam we are still second in points. We broke a clutch in the first race at Sebring and finished way back. Those are the things that cost you a championship and not finishes like Daytona.”, Henriksen added.
“It was bittersweet. Bitter because when we come that close two years in a row, you can’t help but look back at any points we might have given it away.”, Andretti said. “It’s sweet in the fact that ECC Motorsports has only been competing in the Trans Am Series for two seasons and both times took the Championship down to the wire.”
“A.J. has put together an outstanding group of racers and we really came together in the last three races.”, Andretti added.
Andretti won his three poles all in a row early in the season. Road Atlanta, Lime Rock, and New Jersey. Then backing up the NJ pole with the race win. He qualified in the top 3 in 8 of the 12 races including each of the final four races as he fought for the class title.
Andretti’s first podium of the season was a 3rd place finish in the second race of the season at Homestead Miami Speedway. After struggling to a 12th place finish in race #6 at Brainerd, Andretti closed the season strong. A 3rd place at Mid Ohio, a 2nd at Virginia International raceway, and a 3rd at NOLA preceded the win at COTA and the 3rd in the final race at Daytona. Of the final 6 races only the 9th place finish at Road America spoiled a clean sweep of the final 6 races on the podium.
Actually, Andretti had 9 podium finishes instead of just 8. He finished on the podium in the TA class at the Mid Ohio round of the Trans Am season. He started 8th and finished 3rd in only his second TA class start. He also started 8th and finished 3rd in the TA2 race. That made Andretti the first driver to finish on the podium in more than one Trans Am class on the same weekend event.
“We made some personel changes this year and everything came together well.”, said Henriksen. “We want to carry that momentum over into 2016. It’s going to get tougher as the series grows. There are going to be more full blown race teams in the series, in the class. More teams with drivers putting a fulltime effort into preparing and developing their cars for each coming race.”
For 2016 ECC will be one of those teams putting in that fulltime effort. Andretti will make his third attempt at scoring a Trans Am championship. “I am already working on next year. We are working on new cars and gear and making plans.”, Henriksen said. “It never ends.”
Meanwhile Andretti and Henriksen will split duty running an entry in the TA class. “I am going to do I think 6 races and Adam is going to do the big races at Mid Ohio and Road America at least. He really showed that we can race for wins in that class. We aren’t racing for points. Winning is all we are after and Adam showed he can run up front in these cars. He doesn’t have a lot of seat time in the TA car but he has so many laps in so many different kinds of cars that he just picks it right up. He ran two TA races this year. He set fast lap of the race at Lime Rock before an oil leak caused us to crash out. Then he ran 3rd at Mid Ohio.”, Henriksen said.