Trans Am Series Western Championship Event Preview: Spring Mountain
October 18, 2023
Length: 2.76 Miles
Layout: 18-Turn Road Course
Entry List: View
Saturday, October 21
9:00-9:30 a.m. PT
1:10-1:40 p.m. PT
Saturday, October 21
4:15-4:45 p.m. PT
Sunday, October 22
12:10-1:25 p.m. PT
Race Length: 37 Laps/75 Minutes?
What Happens in Vegas…
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship heads to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, just an hour outside of fabulous Las Vegas. This will be Trans Am’s first-ever visit to the “Motor Resort and Country Club,” which opened in 1998. This weekend, competitors will be taking on the 2.67-mile Charleston Peak North course, one of the facility’s 18+ configuration options.
27 competitors are entered in Sunday’s race, which will be the second-largest field in the history of the Western Championship. Sonoma Raceway currently holds the record, with 28 competitors entered earlier this year.
The Western Championship comes into Spring Mountain with several tight championship battles that will be waged this weekend. In the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series, Greg Tolson (No. 8 GT Auto Lounge Ford Mustang) currently leads Brody Goble (No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford/Cortex Racing Ford Mustang) by only 27 points, and two other competitors entered in Sunday’s event (Michael LaPaglia, No. 31 Papini’s Garage/F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang and Tim Lynn, No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang) are within 110 points of the leader, which is the maximum number of points available in a single race.
Will Rodgers (No. 32 Chris Evans Race Cars & Design Chevrolet Camaro) and Michelle Nagai (No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro) are just 67 points apart in the XGT class. Rodgers has won all three races he has entered this year, while Nagai scored her first-career Trans Am victory in Race 1 at Portland International Raceway in July.
In GT, JC Meynet (No. 28 Killer Shrimp Racing Chevrolet Corvette) and David Hampton (No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 CS) are separated by a mere 24 points, with Meynet holding the slight advantage. Meynet and Hampton each have three victories this season.
Debuts and Returns
Three drivers will be making their Trans Am Series debuts this weekend. In SGT, Tim Rankin will drive the No. 05 TCR IT Solutions/Accurate Construction Chevrolet Corvette. Matthew Rivkin in the No. 21 Cool Boxx Chevrolet Camaro and Viktor Czapla in the No. 83 Cool Box Dodge Challenger will make their first-career starts in the TA2 class.
Additionally, 2019 Western Championship GT title winner Roger Eagleton returns to the series after a long absence, entered this weekend in No. 33 DIG Motorsports Ford Mustang in the TA2 class.
Michele Abbate is Back
This weekend will see the return of former Western Championship competitor Michele Abbate. Abbate, who now races full time in the National Championship’s TA2 class with Nitro Motorsports, will pilot the No. 30 Ghost Energy/Lucas Oil/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang. The Las Vegas native competed full time in the Western Championship from 2019-2021, earning a best finish of second in 2021 (Circuit of The Americas), the same season in which she was the runner up for the TA2 title.
Abbate will have a teammate in Barry Boes (No. 90 Accio Data/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) who also runs full time in TA2 in the National Championship.
Brody Goble’s Comeback
Brody Goble in the No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford/Cortex Racing Ford Mustang started off his 2023 title hunt in the hole after missing the season-opener at Thunderhill Raceway Park. Since then, he has slowly been chipping away at the points, and comes into Spring Mountain only 27 markers behind, making it possible for him to leave with the lead going into COTA. Goble has scored two victories this season (The Ridge, Portland Race 1) and has finished on the podium in all but one event. There is no question as to whether Goble has the speed. The Canadian has started the race from the pole position in four of the five events he’s run this year.
Three drivers in this weekend’s event call the state of Nevada home.
Tim Rankin, No. 05 TCR IT Solutions/Accurate Construction Chevrolet Corvette (Henderson)
Michele Abbate, No. 30 Ghost Energy/Lucas Oil/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang (Las Vegas)
Bobby Hodges, No. 88 NATC/Garage Row Racing Ford Mustang (Carson City)
Michelle Nagai came from the back to win Race 1 at the Portland International Raceway doubleheader. Starting last after her qualifying lap was disallowed, Nagai flew through the field to score the overall race win in her first time competing in the XGT class. Brody Goble dominated the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series, setting the fastest qualifying lap and pacing the field, winning his second race of 2023. David Hampton scored his second-consecutive GT class victory.
Portland-area native Brad McAllister drove from last to first in a wild, attrition-filled Race 2. After several competitors experienced issues early in the second event of the doubleheader weekend, McAllister rebounded from a last-place starting spot to win his first race of 2023. Will Rodgers captured the victory in XGT despite suffering a brake failure, and Hampton swept the GT class by winning for the second time during the doubleheader weekend.
1. Greg Tolson (521)
2. Brody Goble (494)
3. Michael LaPaglia (489)
4. Michael Fine (426)
5. Tim Lynn (417)
1. Steve Goldman (205)
2. Greg Pickett (60)
1. Will Rodgers (200)
2. Chris Evans (169)
3. Michelle Nagai (133)
4. Kevin Roggenbuck (120)
5. Erich Joiner (63)
1. Rudy Revak (50)
1. JC Meynet (432)
2. David Hampton (408)
3. Larry Luck (235)
4. Martin Sarukhanyan (203)
5. Xuanqian Wang (59)
Complete Standings: View