SGT’s Chris Evans Claims Overall Win at Portland
July 17, 2022
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 17, 2022) – The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship had an exciting day at Portland International Raceway, with three classes represented in the top-three finishing positions when the checkered flag waved. Chris Evans in the SGT class dominated much of the event to take the overall win, followed by Motul Pole Award winner Erich Joiner’s XGT car in second and Ken Sutherland third, taking the win in the TA2 class.
The green flag waved with Joiner’s No. 10 goodboybob Coffee Roasters Porsche GT3R in the point position, followed by the No. 69 Brown Bros Ford Mustang of Brody Goble in second place. The start of the event was chaotic with drivers going off course and cutting the chicane, and by lap two, Sutherland in the Cascade Sotheby’s/Wyatt Fire Protection Camaro had taken over the runner-up position. Joiner led through the race’s only caution on lap six and subsequent restart on lap nine, but by lap 12, fifth-place starter Evans in the No. 92 Chris Evans Inc. Mustang had battled his way to the front of the field and made the pass for the lead. Goble, who won the Western Series’ last event at The Ridge in his first Trans Am start and was favored as a contender for the TA2 win, drove off course, and while he was able to right himself, he needed to come to pit road for a new tire and dropped back to 15th.
Evans and Joiner were the rabbits to chase for the reminder of the race, with the SGT and XGT drivers pulling out to a dramatic gap in no time. Sutherland led the TA2 class, settling into the third position, while Kent Stacy in the No. 26 TargetTradingAcademy.com Camaro, Roy Fulmer IV in the No. 186 Fulmer’s Auto Body/Nichols Construction Camaro and Jeff Holden in the No. 11 RELAXandCBD.com/Dakota Lithium/Mid Valley Transmission Camaro jockeyed for position behind him.
Evans continued at a blistering sub-1:14 pace, but with eight laps to go, Joiner began an aggressive run to catch him, closing a four-second gap down to less than half a second. By the white flag, Joiner was within a car-length of Evans, but he ran out of time to make the pass, settling for second overall with the XGT victory. Evans earned the race and SGT win, tallying his third class victory this season. Sutherland finished third and was the top TA2 car in the race, followed by Fulmer IV and Holden, who composed the rest of the TA2 podium. Despite his early issues, Goble was able to work his way back up into the seventh position.
“I have a lot of laps here, so I think that might have been the edge today,” said Evans from the top of the podium. “I really want to thank [Trans Am Series owner] Mr. [Tony] Parella for his vision and courage to follow it in creating the Western Championship. We want to keep building up this West Coast series. I also want to thank Central Welding Supply, Jefferson Racing and my whole crew. This is our third victory of the season; we won at Laguna and Sonoma earlier this year. At Laguna, it’s lucky that Erich was in XGT and not SGT, because we wouldn’t have been standing up there. I saw the back of his car 3 times: Once on the start, and when he lapped me twice, so he’s a great talent. Hats off to him, we had a great run today.”
“I wish we had a couple more laps, but boy, Chris [Evans] was driving the wheels off that thing,” said Joiner while accepting his XGT win trophy. “Today was really, really good, but Chris really had me. I’d say about mid-race, I knew I just couldn’t get him, so I decided to hang back and just cool my tires down a little bit. I kept asking the guys, ‘How many more laps?’ and with maybe eight laps to go, I said ‘Okay, here it comes!’ I took a big run at him into Turn 10, and there was a TA2 car in between us there. The gap was just too wide, it was just too far. It was a good race, a good drive. Congratulations to Chris.”
“It was a great race, the car handled great,” said Sutherland on the TA2 podium. “We didn’t quite know what we had going in or how this would play out. Obviously, Brody [Goble] was really fast, but he made a little mistake going into the chicane at the start. That gave us an open window to just drive out the windshield, and that’s what we did. I have a lot of laps on this track, and it was really greasy, but I just kept my head down and kept going. I’m super impressed with Roy [Fulmer IV] here, it’s his first time ever at this track and he finishes second; that’s super impressive. Looking forward, this is just what we needed to do for points. We came in, did well, lead the most laps and won a race. We didn’t get the pole, but we’ll see what we can do in Utah. I have to thank Cascade Sotheby’s, they’re our major sponsor. I also have to thank our car owners, Patty and Kurt; I couldn’t do this without them. And, of course, my family, my wife and my daughter. Most of all, I want to thank Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.”
The Trans Am Western Championship goes on hiatus until October 14-16 when it returns to the track at Utah Motorsports Campus for the only doubleheader event of 2022.
Full race results can be found here.