Trans Am Series Western Championship Event Preview: Thunderhill Raceway Park 2024

February 28, 2024

Trans Am Series Western Championship Event Preview: Thunderhill Raceway Park 2024

Track Facts:
Opened: 1993
Length: 2.866 Miles
Layout: 15-Turn Road Course
Entry List: View

Practice:
Friday, March 1
3:50-4:30 p.m. PT

Sunday, March 3
9:00-9:25 a.m. PT

Qualifying:
Saturday, March 2
9:25-9:50 a.m. PT

Races:
Race 1
Saturday, March 2
12:40-1:55 p.m. PT
Race Length: 35 Laps/75 Minutes?

Race 2
Sunday, March 3
12:40-1:55 p.m. PT
Race Length: 35 Laps/75 Minutes?

 

A New Season Begins
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship is about to see the green flag wave for the 2024 season. The series’ eighth year of competition kicks off at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California, which hosts the Western Championship for the sixth time.

In its first seven seasons of competition, the Western Championship has widened Trans Am’s geographical reach, providing a place for competitors in the western United States to compete. It’s also served as a proving ground for drivers wishing to hone their craft before heading to the National Championship. One such driver who made the move this year is 2023 XGT champion Will Rodgers, who will be competing in the National Championship in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series.

So Nice, We Race It Twice
Race weekends will see a format change in 2024, as now every event except the season-finale combination event at Circuit of The Americas will be a doubleheader weekend. The new format allows teams to compete in more races without the added travel expenses of additional race weekends. While this new schedule gives teams more track time and more opportunities to score points, it can also present challenges. A crash or major mechanical malfunction in Race 1 can affect the outcome of Race 2. The teams who will ultimately be most successful this season will be the ones who can quickly react and recover from setbacks in time for each weekend’s second race.

Welcome CUBE 3!
CUBE 3 Architecture steps up as the new title sponsor of the TA2 Series for the National and Western Championships, which will now be recognized as the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series. This marks the debut year of CUBE 3 Architecture as the "Exclusive Architectural Firm of the Trans Am Series, SVRA, and SpeedTour." Over the past 3 years, CUBE 3 has actively sponsored emerging TA2 talents, including young drivers like Evan Slater and Australian TA2 champion Nathan Herne.

Barry Boes Doing Double Duty
Barry Boes
in the No. 32 Accio Data/TRB Autosport Ford Mustang made his Western Championship debut last season, competing in three races and earning two top-five finishes. Boes, who has been competing in the National Championship since 2019, is embarking on full-season campaigns in both the National and Western Championships this year, and he’s had success so far. Last weekend at Sebring International Raceway, Boes was the Pro/Am Championship winner in the the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series race.

JC Meynet Switching Sides
JC Meynet
made an impressive showing in 2023, debuting in the Western Championship last year at Thunderhill and winning five races en route to becoming the GT champion in the most competitive season the class has seen to date. This year, Meynet is making the switch to the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, driving the No. 28 B-Bar Ranch/Killer Shrimp Chevrolet Camaro.

California Dreaming
Many of the drivers who compete in the Western Championship are from the state of California, with nearly half of this weekend’s entrants hailing from the Golden State. Those from closest to this weekend’s northern California track are Michelle Nagai from Newcastle, Tim Barber from Sonoma, Troy Ermish from Tracy and Tim Lynn from Makin Grade.

XGT
Michelle Nagai, No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro (Newcastle)

TA2
Matthew Rivkin, No. 21 Cool Boxx Chevrolet Camaro (Santa Rosa Valley)
JC Meynet, No. 28 B-Bar Ranch/Killer Shrimp Chevrolet Camaro (Woodland Hills)
Michael LaPaglia, No. 31 Papini’s Garage/F.A.S.T. Auto/Howe Ford Mustang (Murrieta)
Tim Barber, No. 33 DIG Motorsports Ford Mustang (Sonoma)
Troy Ermish, No. 38 Ermish Racing Ford Mustang (Tracy)
Tim Carroll, No. 46 CRDMFG.com Chevrolet Camaro (Santa Ana)
Tim Lynn, No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang (Makin Grade)
Kyle Kelley, No. 80 PK+k Properties/UPRacing.com Ford Mustang (Huntington Beach)
Viktor Czapla, No. 88 Cool Boxx Dodge Challenger (Agoura Hills)

Back For Another Checkered Flag
Four drivers taking the green flag this weekend have stood atop the podium at Thunderhill in the past. Greg Pickett in the No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang is the only competitor in this weekend’s field with multiple victories, winning in the TA class in 2019 and 2020.

TA
Greg Pickett, No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang: 2020, 2019
Steve Goldman, No. 13 LIG Racing Chevrolet Corvette: 2023

TA2
JC Meynet, No. 28 B-Bar Ranch/Killer Shrimp Chevrolet Camaro: 2023 (GT)
John Schweitzer, No. 00 Superior Builders Inc. Ford Mustang: 2021 (SGT)

Past Champions Return
This weekend’s field will consist of five past Western Championship title holders. However, only one champion from last year will return in 2024 to defend their title in the same class: Steve Goldman in the No. 13 LIG Racing Chevrolet Corvette. Goldman is the defending champion of the TA class, and also won the title in 2021. While last year’s GT champion JC Meynet returns to competition this year, he will be vying for the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series title this year.

TA
Steve Goldman, No. 13 LIG Racing Chevrolet Corvette: 2023, 2021
Greg Pickett, No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang: 2020, 2017

XGT
Chris Evans, No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang: 2022 (SGT)

TA2
JC Meynet, No. 28 B-Bar Ranch/Killer Shrimp Chevrolet Camaro: 2023 (GT)
John Schweitzer, No. 00 Superior Builders Inc. Ford Mustang: 2021 (SGT)

Trans Am Debuts
Three drivers will be making their first-career Trans Am starts in this weekend’s season opener.

TA2
Lonnie Hochstetler, No. 24 Mr. Honey/Motion CBD/5th Street Consulting Chevrolet Camaro

XGT
Rick Wright, No. 45 AR Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3
Rob Gordon, No. 72 Chris Evans Race Cars Ford Mustang

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