On this Day in Trans Am History: Oct. 8 2006
October 8, 2020
Oct. 8 2006 Topeka
Jorge Diaz Jr. led all but one lap to win the Thunder in the Park, the season finale of the 2006 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.
The series held only two races that season, both at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas, with GT-1 competitors joining Trans Am regulars. Paul Gentilozzi won the opening round on Sept. 4. Diaz led a race-high 13 laps in the earlier race but his gearbox failed, opening the door to Gentilozzi, who went on to win the championship.
In October, Amy Ruman won the pole with a lap of 1:38.748-seconds in the No. 23 McNicholls Corvette and led the opening lap. Starting fourth, Diaz then took over in the No. 08 Jaguar XKR and led the rest of the way.
Jaguars swept the podium. Gentilozzi finished second in the No. 10, followed by Phillip Simms in the No. 18.
Ruman went on to finish fourth.
Other current competitors in the 15-car field included John Baucom, sixth in a Ford Mustang; and Tomy Drissi, eighth in a Jaguar;
Diaz averaged 84.748 mph in the 25-lap, 62.5-mile race on the 2.5-mile circuit. There were two cautions for four laps.
The race ended an impressive run of 41 years of continuous operation for Trans Am, dating back to its debut in 1966. This would be the last Trans Am race until March 22, 2009, when the series returned to form at Road Atlanta, beginning a streak of consecutive seasons that continues to the present day.