Sheehan and LTK Mike Cope Racing Battle Back for P12 at VIR
October 10, 2023
Alton, VIRGINIA – October 9, 2023 – The penultimate race of the 2023 Big Machine Spiked Coolers TA2 season was a sparkling performance for Tom Sheehan in Virginia.
Tom and the No. 97 LTK Insulation Technologies Mike Cope Ford Mustang team pushed and persevered at VIRginia International Raceway. From the onset of the 30-lap race at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course, Tom was laser-focused.
Like an HVAC expert who puts LTK’s line of products to work, Tom and his team put their heads together. Before race day, they worked ardently to extract the most out of their unmistakable yellow Ford Mustang.
One of LTK’s core values includes innovation creating advantages. From the onset of Round 12, “The Ironman” turned up the wick with each on track session.
Tom qualified P24 in the field of 33 cars. On race day, faced with the challenge of a charge up the leaderboard he did so with confidence and poise.
From the start of Sunday’s 30-lap race, early contact sent Tom down from P24 to P33 on Lap 1. Despite the contact, like an LTK Fast-Fit jacket coming through for a business owner, Tom answered the bell.
Driving up to P29 on Lap 3, the race’s first full course caution ensued. This resulted in a Lap 8 restart where Tom gained six positions, moving up to P23.
Another full course caution on Lap 12 set up a restart two circuits later, as Tom lined up in P22. During the race’s longest green flag stint of nine laps, Tom drove from P22 to 18.
On Lap 23, the third full course caution slowed the field down for just two circuits. Once the race was back underway on Lap 25, Tom restarted P17, seeking maximum points.
Each lap proved fruitful for Tom and his team, driving up to P12 by Lap 29. After persevering through two tough outings at Watkins Glen and Gateway, Tom and his team’s determination paid off, placing P12.
Sunday’s race was stellar for Mike Cope Racing with all five entries placing inside the Top 16. Namely, Tom’s P12 was a testament to the resolve and resiliency of his team.
Following Sunday’s race, Tom offered his thoughts to our race reporter.
“We salvaged the day out of the weekend,” Tom said. “The Mike Cope Racing guys kept working on the car. They didn't give up on it. By race day, we had a pretty good car and a pretty consistent pace all day. I got kind of shoved up in the melee at the start. That was unfortunate. It put us in the rear. But there were a bunch of cautions."
“We got a few bites at the apple and kept digging, running our laps as guys kept chucking it off and making mistakes. It was a mistake-free day that just paid off and the car is in pretty good shape.”
With a car that is in Bristol fashion, Tom prepares for the season finale at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). In eight starts, Tom’s best qualifying effort is P7 while his best finish is P8, both accomplished in 2019.
Following a strong outing at VIRginia International Raceway, Tom hopes to parlay momentum at the Central Texas road course.
“We'll get down there and see if we can build on this car and unload it a little bit better,” Tom said. “And it'll give me a little bit more confidence in it and have a good day at COTA. We’ve got one more to go. We've just got to buckle down, focus and try to get our best finish.”
This 3.426-mile, 20-turn FIA Grade 1 road course in Austin, Texas challenges the best in any motorsports discipline. Namely, drivers are immediately put to the test with an uphill frontstretch leading to Turn 1 known as “Big Red.”
Turns 2 through 10 are serpentine, particularly with the esses in Turns 7 through 9. Although Turn 10 seems pedestrian, Turn 11 is a hard braking, left hander that tests drivers and machines.
A long backstretch provides a great passing opportunity going into the left hander in Turn 12. Then, Turns 13 through 17 are technical, sweeping corners leading into the tempting Turns 18 and 19.
COTA’s shortest straight sets up a difficult but potential passing opportunity in Turn 20 before reaching the start/finish line stripe. Generally, TA2 drivers log a lap time between 2 minutes and 10 seconds to 2 minutes and 22 seconds.
The final round of the 2023 TA2 season begins on Friday, November 3, with two test sessions. A midday practice session along with group qualifying sessions encompass on track activities for Saturday, November 4.
On Sunday, November 5, the clocks turn back an hour in observance of Daylight Savings Time’s conclusion. More importantly, the TA2 season finale, a 30-lap or 75-minute race, kicks off approximately at 9 a.m. ET.
This year, Trans Am races are available for live streaming on Trans Am and SpeedTour's YouTube channels, with full playbacks immediately available after the race. Additionally, the races can be seen in edited, 60-minute features broadcasted on MAVTV's Thursday night primetime slot at 8 p.m. ET.
Follow Tom’s social media channels via his Facebook page, Damon Racing, Instagram account (@TomSheehanTA97), and X account (@TomTA2_97). For more information on LTK Insulation Technologies and the line of high-quality products, please visit https://ltkinsulationtechnologies.com.
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