Trans Am Series Event Preview: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

June 23, 2022

Trans Am Series Event Preview: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Track Facts:
Opened: 1962
Length: 2.24 Miles
Layout: 13-Turn Road Course
Race Direction: Clockwise

TA/XGT/SGT/GT

Qualifying:
Friday, June 24
TA: 5:35-5:50 p.m. ET
XGT/SGT/GT: 5:50-6:05 p.m. ET

Race: Saturday, June 25
Streamed Live
1:15-2:25 p.m. ET
Race Length: 45 Laps/70 Minutes

TA2®

Qualifying: Saturday, June 25
Group 1: 3:20-3:35 p.m. ET
Group 2: 3:40-3:55 p.m. ET

Race: Sunday, June 26 
Streamed Live
10:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. ET
Race Length: 45 Laps/70 Minutes

Trans Am Sails into Summer at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will hold Round 7 of the 2022 season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the first official weekend of summer. The competition is as hot as the weather forecast now that the season is past the halfway point, and the top contenders for the championship in TA, XGT, SGT, GT and TA2 are emerging. However, with six TA2 races and five TA races remaining, the championship is nowhere near decided in any class.

Past Mid-Ohio Winners Looking to Repeat
A number of previous Mid-Ohio winners are looking to put another notch in the win column at the 2.24-mile road course. Chris Dyson and Rafa Matos are hoping for back-to-back victories, having both won the race in their respective class in last year’s championship seasons. Matos also won at the track in 2018, the year he won his first TA2 title. Thomas Merrill won the TA2 event in 2020, and Paul Fix, driving in the Trans Am Heritage class this year, won the TA event in 2015. 2014 was a big year for this weekend’s entrants, with Doug Peterson winning in TA, Adam Andretti winning in TA2, and Lee Saunders winning in TA3-I.

One recurring theme: A number of drivers have won at Mid-Ohio and gone on to win the championship that season. In TA2, three of the last four seasons’ Mid-Ohio victors were the class champion the same year (including Marc Miller in 2019, who is not entered in this year’s race). Is Mid-Ohio a key component in bringing home the title?

ARG Invites U.S. TA2 Competitors to Compete in 2022 Australian Trans Am Series Season Finale at Bathurst
Australian Racing Group, which operates the Turtle Wax Trans Am Series in Australia, is offering a unique opportunity for competitors in the United States-based Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 class to participate in the Australian Trans Am Series season finale at the Bathurst International Mount Panorama circuit on November 11-13.

The 3.86-mile/6.213-kilometer Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst is a spectacular 23-turn track with 541 feet/165 meters of elevation changes, and is regarded as one of the best and most unique race circuits in the world. This is the first time such a broad invite has been issued to United States competitors to race TA2 cars at Mount Panorama, which boasts top speeds of 173 mph/280 km/h for the class. The Supercheap Auto Bathurst International event is composed of three fast-paced sprints (16 laps, eight laps and eight laps) for a total of 123.52 miles/198.8 kilometers of exciting racing.

Trans Am Races Stream Live for Free, No App Required
For those wishing to tune in to the events at Mid-Ohio this weekend, the Trans Am Series races will air live on the Trans Am YouTube page and Facebook page, and a full schedule of events, including the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda and Formula 4 United States Powered by Honda will be available on the new SpeedTourTV YouTube page.

CBS Sports Network Air Times
This weekend’s races from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will air on CBS Sports Network the week following the event.

TA/XGT/SGT/GT will premiere on Sunday, July 3 at 2 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Monday, July 4 at 1 a.m. ET.

TA2 will first air on Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Sunday, July 3 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

 

TRANS AM

Ohio Natives Take Aim at TA Podium
This weekend, all of the Ohioans on the Mid-Ohio entry list are competitors in Saturday’s TA/XGT/SGT/GT event, vying for spots on the TA and GT podiums. Two-time champion Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette hails from Stow and is hoping to turn around her luck and return to the podium after frustrating pre-race parts failures at both Sonoma Raceway and Lime Rock Park. David Pintaric in the No. 57 Kryderacing Ford Mustang hails from Canfield and is returning after a three-race hiatus. Ryan McManus in the No. 07 The McManus Agency Corvette is a TA Pro/Am entry from Medina. GT competitor Seth Lucas in the No. 29 Ave Motorsports Audi R8 returns to Mid-Ohio after making his Trans Am debut at the track last year, finishing third in the SGT class.

Dyson Looking to Extend Winning Streak, allgram Mustang Committed for 2022
Chris Dyson
in the No. 20 ALTWELL Ford Mustang enters this weekend on an impressive four-race win streak, and after earning the race win in 2021 at Mid-Ohio on his way to winning the championship, he seems poised and capable to extend it on Saturday.

This week, Dyson’s CD Racing team announced that the No. 21 allgram Ford Mustang will run full-time for the remainder of the season. Humaid Masaood has competed in three of the season’s first six races, but business commitments have prevented him from running the full schedule. With sponsorship from allgram, the second car in the CD Racing stable will run the remainder of the season, and Matthew Brabham has been tapped as the substitute for any remaining events that Masaood cannot attend, including this weekend. Brabham made his 2022 debut in Dyson’s car at Lime Rock Park, earning a second-place finish behind his team owner. The Indy Lights regular also won last year’s season finale, subbing for Dyson at Circuit of The Americas.

NASCAR Winners Making Series Debut
Three drivers will be making their series debut in the Trans Am race this Saturday at Mid-Ohio, two of whom hail from the world of NASCAR. Kaz Grala, who has made starts in all of NASCAR’s top-three series in 2022, will drive the No. 2 Technique Chassis/Steel-It/Weaver Dodge Challenger in the TA class. Grala, a winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has one previous start at Mid-Ohio, racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018.

Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, driver of the No. 00 StarCom Fiber Chevrolet Camaro, will also be making his Trans Am debut this weekend in TA. He began his 40-year NASCAR racing career in 1982 and has 723 starts in NASCAR’s top-three series. His most recent start came at Daytona International Speedway in 2021.

TA/XGT/XGT/GT Points Update
Chris Dyson
extended his lead in the TA class with a victory at Lime Rock Park, making him five-for-six this season. Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford Mustang is tied for second with Ken Thwaits in the No. 7 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro. Drissi had a solid hold on second place and was holding his own in the points race against Dyson, but a crash in qualifying at Lime Rock prevented him from starting the race and earning valuable points. Amy Ruman sits just one point behind Drissi and Thwaits in fourth, followed by Humaid Masaood.

In the XGT class, Randy Hale in the No. 31 Hale Propeller Corvette leads over Jason Hart and Michael Weathers, who both drive the No. 48 Gspeed Corvette. Hale holds a 17-point lead over Hart and 18-point lead over Weathers. Hale has two wins (Road Atlanta and Lime Rock) to Weathers’ one victory at Laguna Seca.

Milton Grant in the No. 55 Sentry Self Storage/Springhill Suites Porsche 991.1 sits at the top of the SGT class standings with 45 points, but Dirk Leuenberger in the in the No. 25 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper and Cindi Lux in the No. 45 Black Rock Coffee Dodge Viper are both within striking distance with 37 points and 35 points, respectively.

The race in the GT class is firmly held by Billy Griffin in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan Towing Ford Mustang. With 67 points, he is 49 points ahead of the closest competitor, Natalie Decker in the No. 29 N29 Technologies LLC Audi R8.

A full breakdown of the top championship contenders can be found here.

 

TA2

TA2 Continues to Break Records
This weekend, the TA2 class heads to Mid-Ohio with 35 entries, a track record for the class. The TA2 class has run standalone races (as opposed to combined races with TA) at Mid-Ohio since 2015, which was the second-biggest field for the class at the track (31). In the seven standalone races, there have been six different winners (Rafa Matos in 2021 and 2018, Thomas Merrill in 2020, Marc Miller in 2019, Tony Buffomante in 2017, Lawrence Loshak in 2016, and Gar Robinson in 2015).  

Series and Season Debuts at Mid-Ohio
This weekend will see a number of notable Trans Am Series debuts, as well as a few drivers making their first TA2 starts of the season. Eric Norris, son of legendary actor, martial artist and racer Chuck Norris, is making his Trans Am debut in the No 27 SLR/M1 CForce Water Camaro. Eric is the 2002 ARCA Menards Series West champion, and has previously raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series. He began his driving career racing against his father in the SCORE Off-Road Series. Eric is also a notable stuntman, earning a 2015 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for Sons of Anarchy.

Chandler Smith is a Toyota Racing Development Driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports and currently ranks fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings. Smith has three Truck Series victories, including one earned earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Smith will drive the No. 80 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang this weekend.

Tyler Ankrum is another NASCAR winner, with one victory to his name. Ankrum has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 2018 and earned a win at Kentucky Speedway in 2019. He currently drives for championship-winning Hattori Racing Enterprises.

Guy Cosmo will make his Trans Am debut this weekend in the No. 89 3Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang, which Mike Skeen has driven to two victories this season. Cosmo is a top-tier sports car racer, and has competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, SRO Pirelli GT4 American Series, American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Road Racing. He also has experience on the open-wheel side in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro and USF2000.

Making his first start of the season and second-career start is Ike Keeler in the No. 15 R&R Motorsports Ford Mustang. Chris Cook is also making his season debut and first start in the National Championship in the No. 21 Turnkey Motorsports/Chevy Performance Camaro. Cook has seven previous starts in the Western Championship with four second-place finishes. Finally, Luke Rumburg is making is making his second-career start and first of the season. Rumburg is a Young Gun who has previous experience in NASA (American Iron) and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

Big Finishes in Other Series for TA2 Drivers
Two TA2 drivers have had huge finishes since their last Trans Am race, solidifying their prowess as multi-discipline racers. Thomas Merrill, driver of the No. 26 BridgeHaul/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang, had the opportunity to make his debut in the elite 24 Hours of Le Mans. He and teammates Cooper MacNeil and Julien Andlauer earned a spot on racing’s most famous podium with a second-place finish.

Corey Heim, driver of the No. 90 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang, earned his second-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at World Wide Technology Raceway. Heim competes part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports and earned his first win at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. The Davidson, N.C. native last competed in TA2 at Sonoma Raceway, earning a fourth-place finish.

TA2 Points Battle Continues to Evolve
The 2022 TA2 season has been ultra-competitive, with nine different podium finishers and four different winners in six races. Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3Dimensional Services Group Mustang continues to hold the points lead in TA2 with two victories to his name (Sebring and Sonoma), with Thomas Merrill now in second following his Lime Rock win, just 16 points behind. Tyler Kicera is third in his No. 77 LIQUI MOLY/Turn 14 Distribution Camaro with one victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Past champion Cameron Lawrence is fourth in his No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro, followed by Mike Skeen, who has two victories in his No. 89 3Dimensional Services Group Mustang (Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca).

A full breakdown of the top championship contenders can be found here.

Rookie Standings & Young Gun Update
Evan Slater
now leads both the Wilwood TA2 Rookie of the Year standings and the Peter Gregg Foundation Young Gun standings, which awards the top driver under the age of 25 with $20,000 at the end of the season. With 110 points, Slater holds a 34-point lead over second place Brent Crews in the ROTY points, but in the Young Gun standings, he holds a mere 15-point advantage over Connor Mosack.

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