On this Day in Trans Am History: Oct. 15, 2016
October 15, 2020
Oct. 15 2016
After coming close to victory the year before – only to fall short – Paul Fix returned to New Orleans’ NOLA Motorsports Park determined to win and continue his bid for the 2016 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli championship.
The Williamsville, New York driver came through with a flag-to-flag victory in the No, 50 StopFlex/Classic Tube/CarCoach/Techron Corvette prepared by Tony Ave Racing, throwing the Trans Am title chase into a virtual dead heat with two races remaining.
“I spun out while leading the year before, after leading the majority of the race,” Fix recalled. “I spun while I was approaching a lapped car. I relinquished the lead, and said, ‘That’s not going to happen again.’
“The NOLA track was tricky, especially in regards to the front straight heading into Turn 1. Being in such low land, the track surface moved around a bit. When we went back in 2016, they had ground down a lot of the bumps leading to Turn 1, but they were still pretty pronounced. It was a pretty technical track – very flat – but those bumps were the key. There weren’t any reference points, it was very difficult with no elevation change whatever and took a great deal of concentration. We had a great setup on the car, and I was able to drive into Turn 1 without even thinking about all those bumps.”
Fix won the pole, edging up Cliff Ebben’s No. 36 Stumpf/Lamers Ford Mustang by .021-seconds.
Defending race winner and TA champ Amy Ruman started third in the No. 23 McNichols Corvette got by Ebben at the start and then set her sights on Fix. More than half of the race went under green before a caution closed up the field. Ruman challenged Fix on the restart, but was unable to get by. Fix went on to win by 5.7-seconds.
“It was great to come away with that win, because that led to some really good momentum for us going into the last few races of the season,” Fix said.
Jim McAleese took third in a Corvette, followed by the Mustang of John Bancom; the Cadillac of David Pintaric; and the Corvette of Simon Gregg.,
A winner at New Jersey earlier in the season, Fix ended the year strong by capturing three of the final five races. A winner at VIR in September, Fix followed up the NOLA victory by winning at Circuit of The Americas. Fix entered the Daytona finale with a nine-point lead, won the pole and led the early portions of the race. However, two stops for cut tires resulted in a 13th-place finish, dashing his hopes. Meanwhile, Ruman captured her third victory of the campaign. She edged Fix for the championship by only nine points, after beating him by 31 points in 2015.
Detroit’s Big Three shared the remaining classes in the NOLA weekend.
Tony Buffomante won TA2® from the pole in a Ford Mustang, leading every lap for his fifth victory of the season.
Steve Streimer took TA3 in a Dodge Viper, beating Lux Performance teammate Cindi Lux.
Dave Ricci captured TA4 in a Chevrolet Camaro. It was the first loss of the season for Ernie Francis Jr., who captured the pole by nearly three seconds in the No. 98 BetaTools/Liquid Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
Fix was hoping to race at Lime Rock or VIR this year, but New York State’s travel restrictions have kept him home. Not that he’s sitting around, waiting.
“We’ve been so busy at the office, which is a blessing,” Fix said. “We make a lot of medical equipment here, so we were lucky enough to get the exemption to stay operational back in March. We’ve been busy all year. I had high hopes to coming to a bunch of events this year, but couldn’t with business as it is, and the travel restrictions. Maybe we can go to COTA, since Texas is not on New York’s restricted list. But everything’s still up in the air at the moment.”
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