Trans Am Series to open Lime Rock Park's season with 28-car field
May 21, 2013
As Trans Am makes its way East for the third race of the 2013 season, it brings with it a field far larger than any in recent years as the series continues to make progress in what has been a milestone season.
The Lime Rock entry is another step forward in a series of entry highs. Earlier this year at Sebring International Raceway, Trans Am featured a decade high entry of 38 cars. That effort was then followed up with a 28-car entry at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which featured a record high 16-car TA2 entry. Now, the 29-field is another move in the right direction for the longest running road racing series in North America.
Plenty of drivers head towards Lime Rock with momentum, but none more so than Doug Peterson, driver of the #87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette. Peterson comes into the Lime Rock weekend with three consecutive wins behind him, dating back to last year’s season finale at Road Atlanta.
“Our current run has just been awesome,” Peterson said. “I didn’t even realize we’ve won three in a row. I’m incredibly proud of the effort the team has put in. Tony Ave has prepared such a fast car and its been a lot of fun to drive and compete in.”
His three victories have allowed him to rack up an impressive point total, 42, 10 higher than runner-up, and teammate, Tony Ave. If Peterson is able to keep the current pace, he’ll be hard to catch in the race for the TA Championship.
Joining Peterson in the TA class for the race will be defending Champion Simon Gregg and the #1 Gregg Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette. Gregg is currently tied for third in the point standings with Cliff Ebben and the #36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group Ford Mustang. Gregg came in third at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last weekend after starting on pole and setting a track record for the TA class in qualifying.
Last year, Gregg won the Lime Rock event on his way to the 2012 Trans Am Championship, beating out Peterson by .774 seconds. Now, two of the more successful drivers in the past year will face off once again at Lime Rock as Gregg looks to defend his crown from the current points leader.
Peterson’s teammate, Tony Ave, will also be joining the field, and while former Champion had already stated that he’ll be sitting out a few races this year to help manage his widespread efforts in Tony Ave Racing, he is still as much of a threat as any driver on the entry list to win the event, just as he did in 2010 on his way to his first of two Trans Am Championships.
Also featured in the TA class will be last year’s runner up, Amy Ruman. Ruman’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was cut unfortunately short after her #23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette made contact with Blaise Csida’s #07 Gateway Racing Chevrolet Corvette, sending Ruman off-track and damaging the car. Now Ruman and her team are relentlessly working getting the #23 car back in action during the short turn around for Lime Rock.
A variety of veterans and rookies will also be making an appearance in the TA class. Among them will be veteran Ted Sullivan in the #13 Big Boys Toys Chevrolet Camaro. This will mark the first appearance for the Connecticut native since 1999, as he resumes a Trans Am career that stretches back to 1977.
Joining him will be a rookie to the TA class, Ken Davis, driver of the #64 DavisStone.com Chevrolet Corvette. Davis makes his first ever appearance for the Trans Am Series this weekend.
Along side them will be Jim Peruto, Denny Lamers, David Pintaric and Kerry Hitt. Pintaric and the #57 Kryderracing/WRP Investments Chevrolet Corvette enjoyed a fourth place finish last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, his best to date. If Pintaric can keep pushing similar results he may be able to pressure TA mainstays like Ebben, Gregg and Ruman, all of whom are above him in the point standings.
In TA2, points leader Cameron Lawrence will be looking to find his way back atop the podium. Lawrence, driver of the #11 Ctek/Motorstate/Northstar Chevrolet Camaro, won the season opener at Sebring but was unable to overcome Tony Buffomante last weekend as the two raced practically neck-in-neck for 40 laps of the 41 lap race. While Lawrence finished second, he admitted his desire to win.
“I’m excited I’m still the points leader, don’t get me wrong, but I really wanted to win the race, and we were catching up before that last caution,” Lawrence said. “We’ll take the lead to Lime Rock and hopefully push for another win.”
Lawrence will not be without competition. Between him and another victory will be a 15-car TA2 entry, including a plethora of talented drivers, including two-time defending Champion Bob Stretch. Stretch and the #98 Wheels America/Fix Rim Mobile Chevrolet Camaro were unable to make their way to the podium North of the border, as the #98 car made contact with the #27 Kryderracing/VirSec Chevrolet Camaro of Robert Huffmaster. However, Stretch is always a threat to win any race he participates in and will be more than ready to claim his first win of the year.
Huffmaster is currently second in the points standing to Lawrence and, while he’s a rookie to the series, he’s also yet to miss a podium.
In TA3, Trans Am’s production class, defending Champion Chuck Cassaro will find himself up against the #16 Carribean Food Delights Ford Mustang of Rob Bodle and the #9 Northern Light Porsche 996 of David Seuss. Only time will tell if Cassaro can keep his title, but the #76 StackData/Aeromotive/Metallica Ford Mustang has Cassaro ahead in the points for the time being.
The Trans Am weekend officially begins at 11:30 a.m. EST on Friday as the Series takes to the track for the first practice of the day, followed shortly thereafter by a second practice at 2:50 p.m. Qualifying will close out the busy day at 5:10 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Trans Am begins the 100.5-mile race, 67 laps on the Lime Rock course, at 1:30 p.m.