Trans Am Series Event Preview: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

August 2, 2023

Trans Am Series Event Preview: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

Track Facts:
Opened: 2021
Length: 2.17 Miles
Layout: 11-Turn Road Course
Entry List: View


Saturday, August 5
8:30 a.m. CT

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix
Saturday, August 5
3:40-4:55 p.m. CT
Race Length: 46 Laps/75 Minutes

TV Broadcast:
LIVE Coverage on MAVTV

MAVTV Replay:
Thursday, August 10
8:00 p.m. ET

The Sound of Music City
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is putting on its cowboy boots and heading to Nashville, Tennessee for a Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series standalone event at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Trans Am joins INDYCAR, INDY NXT, SRO, Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Cup North America and the Stadium Super Trucks for a weekend packed with racing and live music around the downtown street circuit. This year will mark the third and final time Trans Am will race on this particular course configuration, as the Tennessee Titans NFL team is getting a new stadium which will be constructed in the same location as some of the current circuit. An announcement is expected on Thursday, August 3 with details regarding the new course and a new event date, which will serve as the INDYCAR season finale in 2024.

Borchetta’s Back
While Scott Borchetta continues to recover from his crash at Road Atlanta earlier this year, he returns to Trans Am this weekend as a commentator for Saturday’s event, joining Jonathan Green in the booth for the race broadcast. The race will be broadcast live on MAVTV and streamed for free on YouTube and Facebook.

Borchetta is the owner of Scott Borchetta Racing, where Jade Buford has been filling in behind the wheel of the No. 48 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Ford Mustang. Buford scored a podium in Trans Am’s last outing, finishing third at Road America last month. Borchetta is also the founder of Big Machine Label Group and acquired Big Machine Distillery, the producer of Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers, which sponsors the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series. Borchetta scored his first-career Trans Am podium in last year’s event when he finished third in the second annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

Meet the Drivers
This weekend, fans will have two opportunities to meet the stars of Trans Am.

On Thursday, August 3 from 5:00-7:30 p.m., fans attending the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will have the chance to get up close and personal with Trans Am racecars and their drivers at FanFest, a free, family-friendly event. Located on Broadway between 2nd Street and 3rd Street, more than a dozen TA2 cars will be on display, accompanied by their drivers who will be signing autographs, taking photos and spending time with fans.

Adrian Wlostowski, No. 3 Hawk Performance/AMT Motorsport Ford Mustang
Adam Andretti, No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro
Connor Zilisch, No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro
Justin Marks, No. 8 Tootsies/Trackhouse/SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro
Thomas Merrill, No. 26 Bennett/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang
Jordan Bupp, No. 27 Nacarato Truck Ctr/Averitt Express/SLR-M1 Chevrolet Camaro
Nathan Herne, No. 29 CUBE 3/Berryman Ford Mustang
Parker DeLong, No. 42 BridgeHaul/Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang
Thad Moffitt, No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro
Jade Buford, No. 48 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Ford Mustang
Darin Mock, No. 51 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
Bruce Raymond, No. 54 Optima Batteries/FM3 Marketing Ford Mustang
Brent Crews, No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
Ben Maier, No. 75 Silver Hare Racing/Gel Blaster Chevrolet Camaro

Autograph Session:
Fans will also have the opportunity to meet the drivers of the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series at a driver autograph session on Saturday, August 5 at 1:30-2:15 p.m. The autograph session will be located in Lot D next to the Trans Am Paddock.

Lone Nashville Winner
Brent Crews
in the No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang will be the only driver in this weekend’s field who knows how it feels to stand on the top step of the podium at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Crews won the event in his first street course start in 2022, backing up his first-career Trans Am victory at Road America just weeks before. Crews has gone on to win at another street course since, earning the victory in Race 1 of the Detroit Grand Prix in June. He was actually on track to win Race 2 as well, leading 38 of 41 laps before a crash at the front of the field relegated him to an 11th-place finish. Currently leading the standings, Crews has racked up three victories so far in 2023 (NOLA Motorsports Park, Detroit Grand Prix Race 1, Road America), and hopes are high for the 15-year-old to repeat in Nashville.

Only three drivers who scored top-10 finishes in last year’s event are on this year’s entry list: Crews, Adam Andretti (No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro) who finished fourth, and Rafa Matos (No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang) who finished fifth. Matos also earned a seventh-place finish in 2021, making him the only driver in the field who has finished in the top 10 in both events.

Music City Natives
Two drivers in this weekend’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix are Nashville-area natives who get to race close to home. Jade Buford is from Nashville, while Justin Marks is from just south of the Music City in Brentwood, Tenn. Two team owners also share Nashville roots, with Scott Borchetta of Scott Borchetta Racing calling Nashville home, and Ken Thwaits, owner of Showtime Motorsports, also from nearby Brentwood.

Justin Marks, No. 8 Tootsies/Trackhouse/SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro (Brentwood)
Jade Buford, No. 48 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Ford Mustang (Nashville)

Jordan Bupp Returns as a Survivor
Jordan Bupp
in the No. 27 Nacarato Truck Center/Averitt Express/SLR-M1 Chevrolet Camaro has been driving in the Trans Am Series since 2009, but he returns this weekend after a two-year hiatus. For the last nine months, Bupp has been battling cancer, but he was just recently declared cancer free. Bupp’s last race was the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in 2021, where he finished 10th. The cancer survivor has one win to his name, winning in the TA2 class at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. His father, Kenny Bupp, raced in the series from 1985 until 2018, earning one victory in 41 starts (TA class at Sebring International Raceway in 2016).

“I’m just so excited to be back in what feels like my home paddock,” said Bupp. “After battling and beating cancer, it feels so good to be able to run with such a competitive car and team. I owe a huge thank you to my dad, my wife for her relentless support, as well as my family, and Tom and Katy Ellis for allowing me the opportunity to compete.”

Big Weekend for Ben Maier
14-year-old Ben Maier has a big weekend ahead of him. In addition to racing in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series race, Maier will also be competing in the Stadium SUPER Trucks, which race on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. While this will be Maier’s first Trans Am start on the Nashville street course, he competed in the Stadium SUPER Trucks at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix last year as well, giving him some track time at the circuit.

Maier will also be in the media over the next week. He will be joining SpeedFreaks, which will air live on MAVTV on Sunday, August 6 after on-track action is complete for the weekend. Additionally, you can see him featured in an episode of On The Rise, which will premiere on Thursday, August 10 on MAVTV.

New Faces at Showtime Motorsports
The Showtime Motorsports driver lineup will have a different look this weekend, with two new drivers behind the wheel. Adam Andretti will drive the No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro, in for Evan Slater who went into concussion protocol following a hard wreck at the Detroit Grand Prix. Andretti finished fourth in the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix last year.

Ryan Phinny will make his Trans Am Series debut this weekend, driving the No. 4 Franklin Road/Fourth Capital Chevrolet Camaro. Phinny comes to Trans Am with experience in the American Le Mans Series, the Grand-Am Sports Car Series, Formula BMW Americas and, most recently, INDY NXT.

News & Notes
Brent Crews
will have more than just Trans Am on his mind this weekend, as he will also be participating in the Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Cup North America, driving the No. 24 Toyota GR86 for Nitro Motorsports in races on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Connor Zilisch has had a birthday since Trans Am last hit the track, and he enters this weekend’s race as a 17-year-old. Zilisch already has one street circuit victory this year, winning Race 2 of the Detroit Grand Prix.

Roy Fulmer IV will be making his Trans Am Series National Championship debut this weekend in the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Fulmer has made a total of eight starts in the Western Championship’s TA2 class, and most notably, won his very first race in the series when he debuted at Thunderhill Raceway Park in 2022.

Another new face in the garage this weekend is Dean Thompson, who will drive the No. 90 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang. The Mooresville, N.C. native has been working his way up the stock car racing ladder, running in the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series over the last three seasons. Thompson is filling in for Thomas Annunziata, who is racing in Mazda MX-5 Cup at Road America this weekend.

Defending champion Thomas Merrill has stayed busy since Trans Am raced at Road America a month ago. He returned to the Elkhart Lake, Wis. track to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America where he scored a podium finish of second in Race 2.

TA2 Standings
1. Brent Crews (746)
2. Thomas Merrill (711)
3. Rafa Matos (612)
4. Connor Zilisch (548)
5. Austin Green (476)
5. Darin Mock (476)

1. Brent Crews (746)
2. Connor Zilisch (548)
3. Darin Mock (476)
3. Austin Green (476)
5. Thomas Annunziata (443)

1. Austin Green (476)
2. Thomas Annunziata (443)
3. Thad Moffitt (395)
4. Caleb Bacon (362)
5. Nathan Herne (352)

Complete Standings: View

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