Trans Am Series Event Preview: Road Atlanta 2024

March 20, 2024

Trans Am Series Event Preview: Road Atlanta 2024

Mission Foods Road Atlanta SpeedTour
Bennett/BridgeHaul Classic
Buy Tickets Here

Track Facts:
Opened: 1970
Length: 2.54 Miles
Layout: 12-Turn Road Course
Entry List: View

TA/XGT/SGT/GT
Qualifying:

Saturday, March 23
5:45-6:20 p.m.

Race:
Sunday, March 24
12:10-1:25 p.m.
Race Length: 40 Laps/75 Minutes

TV Broadcast:
LIVE on MAVTV and MAVTV Select

Highlights Show:
MAVTV
Thursday, March 28
9:00 p.m. ET

TA2®
Qualifying:

Friday, March 22
2:25-3:00 p.m. ET

Race:
Saturday, March 23
12:45-2:00 p.m.
Race Length: 40 Laps/75 Minutes ?

TV Broadcast:
LIVE on MAVTV and MAVTV Select

Highlights Show:
MAVTV
Thursday, March 28
8:00 p.m. ET

Round 2 in the ATL
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli heads to Road Atlanta for the Mission Foods Road Atlanta SpeedTour, the second race of the 2024 season. Trans Am has been visiting the 54-year-old facility since 1972, holding 40 races at the Braselton, Georgia track.

Home Game for Bennett and BridgeHaul
The entitlement sponsors of this weekend’s TA/XGT/SGT/GT and CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series races are the Atlanta-based, woman-owned Bennett Family of Companies and BridgeHaul, with both races dubbed the Bennett/BridgeHaul Classic.

With their corporate headquarters located in the Atlanta suburb of McDonough, Bennett has found fast success in the city with their Bennett-sponsored NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Hill earning the company three-consecutive hometown wins at nearby Atlanta Motor Speedway. Will the brand be lucky for our Road Atlanta contenders? Two drivers in this weekend’s races are sponsored by Bennett and BridgeHaul:

XGT
Ricky Sanders, No. 18 BridgeHaul/Bennett/Pitboxes.com Chevrolet Corvette
Danny Lowry, No. 42 Bennett/BridgeHaul/Pitboxes.com Mercedes AMG GT3

Scholarship Winners Begin 2024
Two drivers who were awarded the 2024 PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship will be making their first starts of 2024. Jenn Krpata (No. 93 Island Trees Auto Chevrolet Camaro) will make her Trans Am Series debut in the SGT class with her family-owned team after gaining experience competing in SCCA, NASA and SVRA over the last several seasons. In Trans Am’s CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, Michele Abbate will once again represent the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship class as she returns to Nitro Motorsports in the No. 30 GHOST Ford Mustang.

A New Iron Man
This weekend at Road Atlanta, Keith Prociuk in the No. 9 HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang will hit a milestone few reach in their Trans Am careers: 100 starts. Prociuk, who has been racing in the Trans Am Series’ CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series since 2014, will be recognized at Saturday’s podium with a 100-race commemorative trophy. Prociuk will become only the 20th driver in the series to compete in 100 events. Simon Gregg currently holds the record for most Trans Am starts at 215. Drivers participating this weekend with more than 100 starts include Tomy Drissi (No. 8 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro) with 171, Amy Ruman (No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette) with 151, Tom Sheehan (No. 97 Vixen Cycle Co./LTK Insulation Ford Mustang) with 139, and Boris Said (No. 2 Weaver Racing/STEEL-IT Dodge Challenger) with 101.

Past Winners at Road Atlanta
There are a number of drivers in this weekend’s field who have stood on the top step of the podium at Road Atlanta in the past. Chris Dyson and Billy Griffin are tied with the most wins of any entrants in this weekend’s competition with four. For both Dyson and Amy Ruman, Road Atlanta was home to their first-career Trans Am wins.

TA
Boris Said, No. 2 Weaver Racing/STEEL-IT Dodge Challenger: 2021, 2002
Wally Dallenbach, No. 4 Ultimate Headers Ford Mustang: 2023 (TAH), 2022 (TAH)
Billy Griffin, No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang:  2023 (GT), 2022 (GT), 2020 II (GT), 2020 I (GT)
Chris Dyson, No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang: 2023, 2022, 2020 II, 2018
Adam Andretti, No. 17 Top Liner/Go Share Chevrolet Camaro: 2014 (TA2)
Amy Ruman, No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette: 2016, 2015, 2011

XGT
Ricky Sanders, No. 18 BridgeHaul/Bennett/PitBoxes.com Chevrolet Corvette: 2023 (GT)
Danny Lowry, No. 42 Bennett/BridgeHaul/Pitboxes.com Mercedes AMG GT3

SGT
Lee Saunders, No. 84 LandSearch LLC Dodge Viper: 2015

GT
Todd Napieralski, No. 39 SKF/Turn-Key/Bell’s Brewery Chevrolet Camaro: 2013 (TA3-A)

CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series
Rafa Matos, No. 60 Concord American Flagpole Ford Mustang: 2019, 2018
Adam Andretti, No. 41 Ultimate Headers Chevrolet Camaro: 2014

Georgia on My Mind
There are three drivers in this weekend’s field who are originally from the Atlanta area, with one from Atlanta proper and two from nearby suburbs Stockbridge and Kennesaw.

XGT
Ricky Sanders, No. 18 BridgeHaul/Bennett/PitBoxes.com Chevrolet Corvette (Stockbridge)

TA2
Ty Young, No. 22 Ty J Young Wealth Management Ford Mustang (Atlanta)
Patrick Paul, No. 34 Paul Racing Enterprises Ford Mustang (Kennesaw)

 

TA/XGT/SGT/GT

Menard Starts Season with Win
Paul Menard
showed up at Sebring International Raceway and drove his way to Victory Lane for the second time in his Trans Am career. Menard, who has been racing on and off in Trans Am since 2002, is embarking on his first full-time season while driving the No. 3 Menards/Master Force Tools Ford Mustang fielded by 3GT Racing, and he does so with an 11-point lead in the TA standings going into Round 2.

Dyson Hoping for Turnaround at Atlanta
Chris Dyson
in the No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang did not have the 2024 start he was hoping for, with a lap-one incident taking him out of the race and resulting in a last-place finish at Sebring last month. Fortunately, Road Atlanta is one place where Dyson has no trouble finding GYM WEED Winners Circle, as it is home to his first-career Trans Am win in 2018, and he’s followed that up with victories in 2020, 2022 and 2023, tying him with Billy Griffin for the most wins at the track of any entrant this weekend. Dyson is currently in pursuit of his fourth-consecutive TA championship, a feat which has only been achieved one time before by Ernie Francis Jr. While the Sebring troubles are certainly a setback, Dyson has proven he can rebound. Last year, Dyson lost power early in the season-opening race, resulting in a 10th-in-class finish. However, he was still able to secure the 2023 title on the strength of four victories, including Road Atlanta.

Amy Ruman Returns to Podium
Two-time TA champion Amy Ruman returned to the podium with an impressive performance resulting in a third-place finish at Sebring. This was the Ohio native’s first podium since VIR in 2022, which was followed by a challenging 2023, with mechanical and parts issues that were out of her family team’s control.

Like Dyson, Ruman earned her first-career win at Road Atlanta, standing on the top step of the podium for the first time in 2011. She has since won at the track two more times, most recently in 2016.

Norwood Auto Italia Adds Josh Hurley to Arsenal
GT team Norwood Auto Italia comes off of a successful Sebring run, with both of its drivers finishing on the podium. Chris Coffey in the No. 97 Norwood Auto Italia/Traffic Grafix Maserati MC GT4 won a hard-fought battle with Joey DaSilva in the No. 67 Ave Motorsports Toyota Supra to claim the top step of the podium, while his teammate, Colin Cohen in the No. 38 Norwood Auto Italia/Traffic Grafix Maserati MC GT4, finished third.

The team announced this week that Josh Hurley, who runs in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series in the No. 20 Greenlight Simulation/BCR Ford Mustang, would be joining their roster as driver coach and engineer. Hurley was the winner of Trans Am’s first Esports championship in 2020, and won at the virtual Road Atlanta that season. Hurley also clinched his first SCCA Pro Championship at Road Atlanta, winning the 2008 VW TDI Cup title.

TA/XGT/SGT/GT News & Notes
Richard Grant
in the No. 30 Grant Racing Chevrolet Camaro recently raced in the SCCA Super Tour event at Road Atlanta. He finished fifth in GT1 in Race 1 and seventh in Race 2.

Once again, Adam Andretti will be pulling double duty this weekend at Road Atlanta. Andretti will pilot the No. 17 Top Liner/Go Share Chevrolet Camaro for Burtin Racing in the TA class, in addition to the No. 41 Ultimate Headers Chevrolet Camaro in TA2. Andretti also has one other role in this weekend’s event: birthday boy. Andretti will celebrate his birthday on Sunday, March 24th, the same day as the TA/XGT/SGT/GT race.

In addition to running his familiar No. 42 Bennett/BridgeHaul/Pitboxes.com Mercedes AMG GT3, this weekend, XGT’s Danny Lowry will also be racing in SVRA’s Group 6, driving a 1965 Ford GT 350.

Boris Said has two Trans Am victories at Road Atlanta, but has also visited Victory Lane at the track’s most prestigious event: the Petit Le Mans. Said drove to victory in the GT class in 2001. Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro also has a Petit Le Mans win, driving to victory in the PC class in 2017.

STANDINGS

TA
1. Paul Menard (109)
2. Wally Dallenbach (98)
3. Amy Ruman (93)
4. Tomy Drissi (88)
5. Keith Grant (85)

XGT
1. Danny Lowry (50)

SGT
1. Lee Saunders (82)
2. Richard Forsythe (71)
3. Joshua Carlson (64)
4. Kaylee Bryson (59)

GT
1. Chris Coffey (97)
2. Joey DaSilva (83)

TA Pick 6
1. Jon DeGaynor (80)
2. Richard Grant (76)
3. Billy Griffin (72)

GT Pick 6
1. Colin Cohen (73)
2. Jeff Lindstrom (71)
3. Todd Napieralski (62)

Complete Standings: View

 

TA2

Standings in for a Shakeup
Connor Zilisch
and Austin Green both sit in the top five of the overall CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series standings and the rankings for the Young Gun Award, which will reward the highest-finishing driver under the age of 25 with $20,000. However, both drivers are missing from the entry list this weekend, as they are running part-time schedules while they split their driving efforts between multiple racing series. This presents the opportunity for full-time drivers Rafa Matos in the No. 60 Concord American Flagpole Ford Mustang, who sits third in the overall points, and Thomas Annunziata in the No. 90 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang, who is currently fourth, to move up the standings and potentially put a buffer between them and sixth-place Thomas Merrill (No. 26 HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang) and seventh-place Adrian Wlostowski (No. 3 CMI/Spot-On-Serv Ford Mustang). In the Young Gun standings, a good run can allow Annunziata to take over the lead, as he currently has a 16-point advantage over fifth-place Ben Maier (No. 80 BOE Marine Ford Mustang). Tyler Gonzalez in the No. 40 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang currently sits in the top five of both the series and Young Gun standings and is entered this weekend, but he is not expected to run a full schedule this season.

Michele Abbate Paying Tribute
Michele Abbate
returns to the racetrack for the first time this weekend following an incredibly difficult off-season. Abbate's older brother, Sergeant Michael Abbate of the Nevada State Police, was hit and killed by a drunk driver while he and his colleague were assisting an unresponsive driver, who was also under the influence. His colleague, Trooper Alberto Felix, was also killed in the incident. Michael Abbate was passionate about racing and was the lead instructor and coordinator for the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course.

This weekend, Abbate will be carrying her brother’s name, as well as a thin blue line tribute on the side of her No. 30 GHOST Ford Mustang with the hopes of raising awareness for STOP DUI, a Nevada non-profit that keeps impaired drivers off the roads, both locally and nationally.

Barry Boes On Top
Barry Boes
in the No. 27 Team SLR-M1 Racecars Ford Mustang currently sits atop the Pro/Am standings after topping the class at the season opener at Sebring International Raceway. He also comes into this weekend’s race with excellent statistics and recent experience at Road Atlanta. Two weeks ago, he scored a GT2 win in Race 2 of the SCCA Super Tour event at the track. In total, Boes has won five of his last six races in the GT2 class, with previous SCCA victories at Sebring and NOLA Motorsports Park. Boes also earned top-five finishes in both of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Western Championship races in the season-opening Thunderhill doubleheader.

Another Pro/Am competitor, Bruce Raymond in the No. 54 Optima Batteries Ford Mustang, also has found success at Road Atlanta in the past, winning at the track in the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Group 10 in recent years. Raymond was SVRA’s Group 10 champion in both 2019 and 2020.

Road Atlanta SCCA Super Tour
Boes isn’t the only driver to experience recent success at Road Atlanta, as several other competitors in the TA2 Series also competed in the SCCA Super Tour event at the track.

John Weisberg, No. 11 Iron Smoke/Red Line Oil/Carbotech Chevrolet Camaro
Finished third in GT2 in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2

Caleb Bacon, No. 18 CB Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro
Finished second in GT1 in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2

Patrick Paul, No. 34 Paul Racing Enterprises Ford Mustang
Finished fifth in GT2 in both Race 1 and Race 2

Jared Odrick, No. 81 CB Motorsports Ford Mustang
Finished third in GT1 Race 1 and fifth in Race 2

Jake Drew Debut
Jake Drew
will be making his first-career Trans Am Series start this weekend, stepping into the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro previously occupied by Connor Zilisch. Drew was the 2022 ARCA Menards Series West champion, and has also made six starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The 24-year-old has three ARCA road course wins, scoring two at Portland International Raceway and one at Sonoma Raceway, both in the season he won the championship.

The Silver Hare Racing team certainly knows how to win at Road Atlanta, as Zilisch earned his first-career Trans Am win at the track last season. The team also opened 2024 with a victory, with Zilisch winning the season opener at Sebring International Raceway in the car last month.

Like Father, Like Son
Boris Said Jr.
 will be sporting new colors this weekend on his No. 75 Silver Hare Racing Camaro. He will be driving a blue and white HendrickCars.com livery through the rest of the season. The paint scheme matches a car that his father, Boris Said, will drive in what is intended to be his final NASCAR race, the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway in June.

TA2 News & Notes
Usually atop the pit box, Nitro Motorsports team owner Nick Tucker earned a trophy for his accomplishments behind the wheel last weekend. Tucker competed in IMSA’s Pilot Challenge as part of the 12 Hours of Sebring and finished third in the TCR class with teammate and Trans Am alum Andy Lally.

Another TA2 competitor also had a fantastic weekend at the 12 Hours of Sebring: Connor Zilisch won his second IMSA race of the season, victorious in LMP2. He was previously a part of the winning LMP2 team at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Darin Mock will be unveiling a new paint scheme this weekend with a new sponsor, ProFabrication, Inc. The owner of the company, Steve Sousley, is a former NASCAR team employee of Mock’s father, Butch Mock. The two developed a lifelong friendship, and ProFabrication, Inc. now supplies headers and exhaust systems to nearly every circle track and road racing series in America, which will soon include Trans Am’s TA2 Series.

Tyler Gonzalez in the No. 40 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang is coming off a Mazda MX-5 Cup win last week at Sebring International Raceway.

STANDINGS

TA2
1. Connor Zilisch (110)
2. Tyler Gonzalez (101)
3. Rafa Matos (97)
4. Thomas Annunziata (88)
5. Austin Green (85)

YOUNG GUNS
1. Connor Zilisch (110)
2. Tyler Gonzalez (101)
3. Thomas Annunziata (88)
4. Austin Green (85)
5. Ben Maier (72)

ROTY
1. Josh Hurley (54)
2. Gavan Boschele (48)
3. Ethan Barker (42)
4. Gio Ruggiero (36)

TA2 Pro/Am
1. Barry Boes (109)
2. Roberto Sabato (98)
3. Keith Prociuk (98)
4. Chris Durbin (88)
5. Jim Gallaugher (84)

TA2 Pick 6
1. Thomas Ellis (57)

Complete Standings: View

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