On This Day in Trans Am History: July 2, 2017
July 2, 2020
July 2, 2017
Making only his second start in the TA class, Cameron Lawrence scored the overall victory in Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli in the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic at Brainerd International Raceway.
Driving the blue No. 6 Corvette fielded by Jim Derhaag, Lawrence missed qualifying due to his TA2® obligations and started ninth in TA. He was up to fourth by lap five when the event’s lone full-course caution came out for the stopped car of James Pesek.
When racing resumed, Lawrence needed four laps to take third from Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Company Corvette, and then got around polesitter Vinnie Allegretta in the No. 41 Corvette.
At that point, Ernie Francis Jr. held a comfortable lead in the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang. However, a stuck throttle caused the leader to spin with three laps remaining. That gave the lead to Lawrence, who went on to win.
“It was really tough,” said Lawrence, who did not even sit in the car all weekend before the start of the race. “Luckily, I drove the same chassis in the June Sprints in 2014, and we were fortunate enough to win both races. I had plenty of laps in the TA2® race and that helped me get my markers and references down and get familiar with the track again. I didn’t even race here last year. It was difficult, but starting in the back, you learn a lot from everybody. There are plenty of good drivers in TA, so watching Amy, Vinnie and Ernie helped me.”
Allegretta finished second, 11 seconds back, while championship-bound Francis recovered from his spin to finish third.
Track owner Jed Copham placed a career-best fourth in the No. 44 BC Race Cars/Tesar Engines Corvette, one position ahead of two-time champion Ruman.
Pesek’s misfortune opened the door for his father JR Pesek to win in TR4, while Tim Kezman took TA3 honors ahead of Mark Boden and Tom Herb.
Lawrence, a two-time TA2® champion, did double duty at the Minnesota circuit, finishing fifth in TA2® driving a Camaro. He went on to finish fourth in the championship. His busy Fourth of July weekend also included racing in an IMSA event at Watkins Glen.
For his career, Lawrence won the 2013 and 2014 TA2® titles and 21 races – all but one of them in the TA2® Powered by AER division.
The event marked the final Trans Am race at Brainerd prior to the upcoming event on July 10-12. Lawrence also returned to Trans Am competition in 2020 following a two-year hiatus, driving the No. 8 3Dimensional Services Ford Mustang in TA2®.