Trans Am Series Event Preview: World Wide Technology Raceway

September 20, 2023

Trans Am Series Event Preview: World Wide Technology Raceway

Track Facts:
Opened (Current Configuration): 1997
Length: 1.6 Miles
Layout: 8-Turn Road Course
Entry List: View


Saturday, September 23
8:30-8:55 a.m. CT

Saturday, September 23
1:10-2:25 p.m. CT
Race Length: 63 Laps/75 Minutes

TV Broadcast:
LIVE Coverage on MAVTV Select
Same-Day Coverage on MAVTV at 5:00 p.m. ET

MAVTV Replay:
Thursday, September 28
8:00 p.m. ET


Meet Me in St. Louis
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to the St. Louis area for the first time in 38 years when the Gateway SpeedTour pulls into World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, just minutes from the famed Gateway Arch. The series raced on the same property in 1985, at what was then called the St. Louis International Raceway, in an event won by two-time Trans Am champion Wally Dallenbach Jr. Until now, it was the most recent Trans Am event held in the St. Louis area. Since 1985, the property has been completely renovated; teams will be taking on a completely different 1.6-mile, eight-turn ‘Circuit of St. Louis’ infield road course built in 1996 within the 1.25-mile oval used by the NASCAR Cup Series and NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

The St. Louis area is historically significant to the Trans Am Series’ formative years. Trans Am raced at Mid-America Raceway in Wentzville, Missouri in 1966 in what was just the second-ever race in series history. Located about 45 minutes to the west of St. Louis, Tom Yeager and Bob Johnson teamed up to win the Over 2.0-Liter class in the event, while Horst Kwech and Gus Audrey won the Under 2.0-Liter category. This was the first and only time Trans Am has ever competed in the state of Missouri.

The Roval’s Return
This weekend’s event will be Trans Am’s 612th race, but just its 36th event on a hybrid road course/oval circuit commonly referred to as a “roval.” Only 10 other oval facilities have hosted Trans Am on an infield road course since 1966:

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Daytona International Speedway
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • Michigan International Speedway
  • Phoenix International Raceway
  • Pikes Peak International Raceway
  • Sanair Super Speedway
  • Texas Motor Speedway
  • Texas World Speedway

Coming Together
This weekend, fans will get to experience an exciting all-class race combining the TA/XGT/SGT/GT field and the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series in one action-packed event. Each class will be competing against only each other, as always, but with speed variation between the classes and multiple close championships being fought for, managing traffic will make the event more challenging for competitors.

This is the first all-class race since a 2021 doubleheader event at Watkins Glen International. 2014 was the last year in which all of Trans Am’s classes ran together for a full season, with only half of the races combined in 2015. Since then, there have been only seven all-class events.

Local Celebrity Returns
St. Louis native and Trans Am commentator Ben Cissell stands out as a star among the SpeedTour staff, but back in his hometown of St. Louis, he’s a star of the Walk of Fame. Cissell grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Parkway West High School before taking the world by storm. In 1995, after spending one year studying music at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, he joined the Christian rock band Audio Adrenaline as the lead drummer and went on to travel the world. Regular performers at the annual Creation Festival, Spirit West Coast Festival, Agape Music Festival and Alive Festival, Cissell was with the band as they recorded six studio albums, sold over four million albums, received five Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins, and were awarded six GMA Dove Awards. He remained a member of Audio Adrenaline until the group disbanded in 2006. In 1999, Cissell was awarded a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame; he is also an honoree in the Parkway Hall of Fame.

Homeward Bound
Two drivers in this weekend’s field are from the states of Missouri and Illinois, making World Wide Technology Raceway a home track for them. Grant Palmer in the No. 10 BC Race Cars Ford Mustang is closest to home, with St. Charles, Missouri located only 30 minutes from the racetrack.

AJ Henrickson, No. 79 ECC/Anchor Bolt & Screw Dodge Challenger (Dundee, Ill.)

Grant Palmer, No. 10 BC Race Cars Ford Mustang (St. Charles, Mo.)

Dyson’s Championship Hopes Brighter
Chris Dyson
in the No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang has led the point standings in TA for much of the 2023 season, but the championship has still been hotly contested, with multiple-race winners such as CD Racing teammate Matthew Brabham and Justin Marks, as well as the always-competitive Amy Ruman, all within reach of stymying his run for his third-consecutive title. This weekend, however, those drivers are absent from the entry list, giving the 2021 and 2022 champion breathing room. With his closest competitor running this weekend, Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford Mustang, 141 points behind him, Dyson won’t be able to clinch the 2023 title at WWTR. However, a good run will put the championship all but within his grasp.

Young Gun: Almost Locked and Loaded
TA2 points leader Brent Crews in the No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang has the ability to wrap up the 2023 Young Gun title this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. He currently holds a 223-point advantage over Connor Zilisch in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro, and if he exits this weekend with a 220-point margin, he will clinch the award, earning $20,000. 15-year-old Crews has earned four victories this season: NOLA Motorsports Park, Detroit Grand Prix Race 1, Road America and Watkins Glen International.

The Newest Young Guns
This weekend will see the Trans Am Series debut of two drivers, both Young Guns in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series. 22-year-old Grant Palmer in the No. 10 BC Race Cars Ford Mustang and 19-year-old Jace Denmark in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang will both be making their first starts in the series, but already have a great deal of racing experience and accolades.

St. Louis local Palmer is the 2020 SCCA Super Tour FX Class champion and competed in the 2021 Road to Indy Series (now USF Pro Championships) development program with Exclusive Autosport in USF2000. Palmer got his start racing at the age of 14 in karts and was Vice Champion in both local and regional series by the age of 15.

Denmark is an Arizona native that has been racing for more than 13 years, also getting his start in karts. In 2022, he finished third in a tight three-way fight for the Road to Indy USF2000 Championship, winning races on the Streets of Toronto, at Road America, the St. Petersburg Grand Prix and Portland International Raceway.

22-year-old Dean Thompson in the No. 80 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang will be making his second-career TA2 start. He currently competes full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and part-time in the ARCA Menards Series. Thompson has made two starts on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval in the Truck Series.

TA2 Rookie Race
The rookie battle between Austin Green in the No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang and Thad Moffitt in the No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro remains tight, as the two sit just 52 points apart. Both drivers have career-best finishes of second, with Green earning runner-up results at both Sebring International Raceway and Watkins Glen International, and Moffitt scoring his second-place finish in Race 2 of the Detroit Grand Prix.

News & Notes
After returning to the track in Trans Am’s last outing, Michele Abbate in the No. 30 Ghost Energy/Lucas Oil/Nitro Ford Mustang earned her best finish of the season, 12th, at Watkins Glen.

Owner of Mike Cope Race Cars, Mike Cope, will see his son Travis Cope hit the track for the first time this season in the No. 52 Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang.



1. Chris Dyson (802)
2. Tomy Drissi (661)
3. David Pintaric (645)
4. Amy Ruman (628)
5. Justin Marks (599)

1. Danny Lowry (455)
2. Chris Evans (246)
3. Nathan Byrd (204)
4. Randy Hale (114)
5. Will Rodgers (70)

1. Lee Saunders (572)
2. Ricky Sanders (432)
3. Milton Grant (317)
4. Carey Grant (207)
5. Josh Carlson (129)

1. Michael Attaway (395)
2. Billy Griffin (259)
3. Jack Rinke (64)
4. Florian Eyme (57)

1. Brent Crews (877)
2. Rafa Matos (798)
3. Thomas Merrill (756)
4. Connor Zilisch (654)
5. Darin Mock (627)

1. Brent Crews (877)
2. Connor Zilisch (654)
3. Darin Mock (627)
4. Austin Green (605)
5. Thad Moffitt (553)

1. Austin Green (605)
2. Thad Moffitt (553)
3. Nathan Herne (460)
4. Thomas Annunziata (455)
5. Ben Maier (447)

Complete Standings: View

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