Gar Robinson Earns His Second Podium Finish of the Season at Watkins Glen
May 20, 2016
2015 TA2 Champion Back in the Points Lead After Three Rounds
In his first ever race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Gar Robinson claimed a third place finish in his No. 74 Chevrolet Camaro. Earning his second podium finish of the year in Round 3 of Trans Am’s 50th Anniversary Season, Robinson regained the points lead in the 2016 Championship standings. In the No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro, Shane Lewis finished in sixth at the Glen and moved up two spots to fifth in the points standings.
With only three, very brief testing and practice sessions on Friday and early Saturday, the pony cars barely had a chance to stretch their legs and try out the newly repaved course. Saturday afternoon’s “one shot” qualifying round saw Robinson cross the checkered flag in 10th with his teammate Lewis in 11th. Unfortunately, the transponders failed to record their fastest lap times.
The forecast called for rain showers throughout the weekend, but instead, Mother Nature dished out a variety of conditions: light sprinkles, sunshine with blue skies, high winds and rain. On race day, conditions turned yet again, and it was bone-chilling temperatures, and even snow flurries, that the teams had to contend with.
“The new pavement at Watkins Glen is really awesome. The weather at the Glen during the weekend, not so much,” said Lewis. “The snow wasn’t sticking but it was blowing slightly sideways through the pit lane as we were about to start the race on Sunday.”
The green flag for the Classic Tube 100 TA2 race, powered by AEM Performance Electronics, dropped at 9:20 am on Sunday.
"It was so cold that the race officials called for an additional pace lap to get the engines up to temp and also to get the tires at least some simulation of heat in them. So here I am trying to get heat in the tires, middle of the pack where crashes happen, last-minute call for an extra pace lap, adrenaline pumping, coming around the last corner to take the green flag and then… nothing. It’s like time stopped," said Lewis. "I thought they were going to abort the start, as we were way too close to the start/finish line not to be accelerating yet. Then, just as I was sure we were doing another pace lap, at the last second, my crew chief called the green."
Lewis jumped the start at the line, but gave back the positions gained before turn 1. He served a drive through penalty down pit lane and fell to the back of the pack, among 25 Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers. The “Comeback Kid” didn’t stay back there for long. Lewis, now in his second year competing in the Trans Am Series, brought home a sixth place finish.
Making his way up the field from 10th, Robinson witnessed the frequent shuffling of cars, some due to mechanical failures. He charged up to the second position, but lost ground and fell back to fourth when the car experienced a gear issue. In the final few laps, Robinson was able to gain a position and finish on the podium in third.
“We had faster cars than what was recorded in qualifying. Before the race, I knew I had a car that could get up front; it was just up to me to get it there,” said Robinson. “Coming from the middle of the pack made for an entertaining race. The track was great; it was really satisfying the way the racing went. Being it was a track I had never been to, I think the result was pretty acceptable.”
Robinson is looking forward to returning to Watkins Glen soon. He noted, "We're gladly accepting invitations for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen."
After his 2015 rookie season in which he became the TA2 Champion, Robinson won the 2016 Trans Am season opener at Sebring International Raceway in March. With his third place finish at Watkins Glen, Robinson is now back on top of the 2016 Championship standings with 77 points. Lewis rounds out the top 5 with 60 points.
Next up for the 50th Anniversary Trans Am Season are the invitational races at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, June 3-5, 2016. For more information, visit DetroitGP.com and GoTransAm.com.
2016 Trans Am Series | 50th Anniversary Season
Gar Robinson - No. 74 Chevrolet Camaro
Shane Lewis - No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro
Motor City 100 - June 3-5 - Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, MI
Round 4 - June 11-12 - New Jersey Motorsports Park, NJ
Round 5 - July 2-3 - Brainerd International Raceway, MN
About Robinson Racing
Robinson Racing is a motorsports organization based in Milford, Michigan, with two vehicles competing in the 2016 Trans Am Series. In the TA2 Class of the Trans Am Series, Robinson Racing runs the No. 74 Chevrolet Camaro, sponsored by 74 Ranch Resort and driven by Gar Robinson, winner of the 2015 Trans Am TA2 Championship and 2015 Rookie of the Year. The team also runs the No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro in the Trans Am Series, sponsored by 74 Ranch Resort and driven by renowned endurance champion Shane Lewis. The Team Owner and Gar Robinson's father, George Robinson is a former Trans Am driver, running in 46 races from 1988 to 1994 with one victory, eight top-five appearances and 24 top-ten showings. In addition to the Trans Am Series, George Robinson raced in IMSA, Grand Am, and ALMS, with 3 class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring plus a Championship in the Ferrari Challenge. For more information, visit www.RobinsonRacingTeam.com.
Photos by: Chris Clark
Watkins Glen, TA2 Podium, from left to right: Lauren Fix, Classic Tube; Gar Robinson (P3); Dillon Machavern (P1); Louis-Philippe Montour (P2).