MCRE weathers Road America storm

September 2, 2015

 MCRE weathers Road America storm

CLEARWATER, Fla. [September 2, 2015] – When the Mike Cope Racing Enterprises (MCRE) team took to the fabled track at Road America for the Next Dimension 100, Round 8 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship, they were faced with the already daunting task of managing a 64-car multiclass race—nature adding a damp track and heavy fog to the equation made the task all that more difficult.

“We went into the race with the expectation that it was going to be a bit of a wild ride,” said Mike Cope. “The rain had only stopped a few hours before hand, and the fog was still fairly prevalent. The track was slowly but surely drying out, so most of the field did end up going out in slicks—making for a chaotic first few laps. I’m sure it was exciting to watch, but it really took through the first caution for the track to really dry out and the race to come alive.”

Four TA2 drivers fielded an MCRE chassis in the event: MCRE “Arrive and Drive” members Keith Prociuk and Tony Buffomante; as well as Vaughn Gittin, Jr., making his TA2 and Trans Am debut fielding an MCRE built and prepped Ford Mustang as a member of Loshak/Stark Racing; and Dillon Machavern, in an MCRE built Riggins Engineering prepped Ford Mustang,

“Both Keith and Tony showed real speed throughout the weekend,” said Cope. “Tony qualified fourth out of 29 cars, and Keith started in 14th position. Come the race Tony also turned one of the fastest times on track, a 2:22.513, despite being bogged down in traffic for much of the race.”

Despite the fast times by both Buffomante and Prociuk, the race garnered disappointing results with contact and on-track incidents spoiling both drivers’ days.

“Keith was contacted pretty early in the race,” said Cope. “Around the third lap, knocking him back to 22nd, but he was able to recover to 16th before the turn six incident later in the race. Likewise, Tony was pushed back to eighth around the fourth lap but drove hard and recovered to fifth position before once again running into trouble in turn six.”

The major incident occurred upon the restart after the second full course caution; with the entire Trans Am field bunched together two cars contacted near the exit of turn six, a relatively sharp and blind left hand turn coming up the hill on the Road America course. The majority of the field was then faced with taking evasive action as they came around the corner. Multiple cars were caught in the incident, including the MCRE duo—forcing Buffomante to settle for a 15th place finish and Prociuk a 22nd. The race was then checkered prematurely when race officials determined that they would not be able to clear the track in the allotted time.

“Unfortunately for both Tony and Keith there really wasn’t much in their control coming around that turn,” said Cope. “It was a situation that was completely dictated to them. There were reports of some oil in the turn that caused the initial spin by the original cars, but we don’t really know for sure. I imagine they are both disappointed with their finishes; and I’m sure Tony would have had a strong shot at the podium in the final third of the race.”

Dillon Machavern, driving an MCRE built car, had a strong initial charge in the race, starting third and moving up to second in the TA2 class before being contacted by a lapped car. Machavern’s poor luck was then compounded as he was charged with a speeding violation in the pits and accessed a drive-through penalty, knocking the Championship contender further back in the race.

“Dillon has made a point of showing off the speed of our cars throughout the year,” said Cope. “He was one of the best out there while the track was still wet, and really showcased his control of the car. He’s a really talented young kid, and I’m sure he’ll bounce back in form.”

The event also saw the TA2 debut of Vaughn Gittin, Jr., who as a member of Loshak/Stark Racing joined MCRE for the weekend in one of their built and prepped rental Ford Mustangs.

“First of all, I can’t tell you how thrilled we were when the Loshak/Stark team asked us to be a part of helping Vaughn with his TA2 debut,” said Cope. “He’s not a full time road racer, but he’s a drift champion and has been driving competitively for most of his life, and it showed—throughout the weekend Vaughn just got quicker and quicker as he got a feel for the car and the course.”

Gittin, Jr. started the race in fifteenth position but was able to navigate both the damp track conditions and traffic into ninth position in advance of the turn six incident. Gittin’s luck proved better than his teammate’s, as he managed to escape contact in the turn and drove home to a fifth place finish in his debut.

“It was a great start for Vaughn in TA2,” said Cope. “He seemed like a great fit for our chassis and platform, and we look forward to working with our friends at Loshak/Stark in the future.”

Elsewhere, MCRE “Arrive and Drive” member Kevin Poitras participated in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, finishing 12th overall.

MCRE will now prepare for Round 9 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship at Virginia International Raceway on September 25 - 27, 2015.

Results for MCRE built cars at Road America:






Best Time


Q. Time


Vaughn Gittin, Jr.

Ford Mustang






Tony Buffomante*

Ford Mustang






Keith Prociuk

Chevrolet Camaro






Dillon Machavern

Ford Mustang






*MCRE “Arrive and Drive” member.

About Mike Cope Racing Enterprises:

Perhaps no other team has worked so diligently to achieve success over the course of 30 years as MCRE. Over the years, they have successfully launched corporate sponsorships in national series, developed short track and SCCA Road race champions and mentored young upcoming drivers. Lead by Mike Cope, he brings the same enthusiasm, dedication and knowledge to his race team that made him victorious in his own racing career.

MCRE offers a variety of services for drivers interested in the Trans Am Series’ TA2 program, including custom builds, arrive and drive programs, maintenance programs, consulting, driver mentoring, set-up and shock dyno. Learn more at

Mike Cope Racing Enterprises is based in Clearwater, Florida.

Mike Cope Racing Enterprises partners include: Quarter Master, Hawk Performance, Schoenfeld Headers, Wilwood, Port City Racecars, ButlerBuilt, Integra Shocks and Keyser Manufacturing.

MCRE Sponsors:

Bestline Superior Lubricants,

Since its incorporation, BestLine has developed a new line of full synthetic lubricants and lubricant additives that dramatically reduce friction, heat and mechanical wear to an extent never before seen or tested. BestLine refers to its proprietary technology as "Micro Lubrication Technology, (TM)" or "MLT."

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