Doug Peterson wins at Road America over 47 car field, retains Championship lead
June 21, 2014
Doug Peterson emerged victorious from the VP Small Engine Fuels 100 Miles of Madness at Road America, Round 6 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship, outlasting Amy Ruman, Cliff Ebben and Tony Ave in what was a tight leader’s group in the TA Class. Likewise, in TA2, Cameron Lawrence endured what became an endurance race on the fabled Wisconsin track with challenges from Adam Andretti and Joe Ebben.
“I’m just glad we got the win,” said Peterson. “Amy made her move right before we went under yellow the first time, and I kept pace with her and waited for an opening. The car set up was perfect—and it needed to be, I had to race every green lap as hard as I could. At the same time, we had to keep an eye on the weather to see if the rain was going to come back; between that and the traffic, which opened up some opportunities and was a hindrance at times, it made for a very interesting race.”
The race started at 6:30 p.m. CDT after the conclusion of the NASCAR Nationwide race at Road America. The day began with Peterson on pole in the No. 87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette followed closely by Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, and Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang.
The TA frontrunners continued in that order until the sixth lap of the race when Ruman made her move on Peterson and springboarded into first place, taking control of the race. Peterson’s opening to challenge for the lead was quickly slammed shut as the course went under yellow to retrieve two cars stuck off course in dangerous positions during lap 7.
The TA2 race began with similar fervor as both Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 ECC Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, and Joe Ebben, in the No. 14 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang, closed the gap on leader Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 1 Trick Titanium Chevrolet Camaro, at one time going through turn five three wide with no apparent leader.
Come lap three, Andretti made his move, overtaking Lawrence for the lead, and then, only two laps later, Ebben did likewise moving up to second and pushing the defending TA2 Champion, Lawrence, back to third. However, Lawrence quickly rebounded, overtaking Ebben the next lap and resumed his pursuit of Andretti going into the seventh lap and ensuing caution.
The course went green again at the beginning of the lap 14 and Peterson capitalized shortly thereafter, moving up into first. Meanwhile, Tony Ave, in the No. 04 Roehrig Enders Suspension Chevrolet Corvette, continued making his way up the field from his starting position of 16th, eventually moving up to third after the restart.
During the 19th lap of the race, Ave would take his charge a step further, overtaking Ruman upon a second restart, following only his teammate Peterson. Ruman would follow Ave, pursuing him closely, but would spin doing so, falling back to ninth position on the 20th lap.
Ave followed Peterson up until lap 23, when the No. 36 of Ebben overtook him for second position, a spot Ebben managed to hold for the final two laps as Peterson, Ebben and Ave crossed the finish line one-two-three— resulting in a sweep for Tony Ave Motorsports as all three cars were either built or prepped by the Championship winning team.
John Baucom, in the No. 86 Baucom Motorsports/ Roadraceparts.com Ford Mustang, would finish fourth and Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, finished fifth.
Amy Ruman would work her way back up through the field, finishing sixth.
Peterson now has a 14 point lead over Ruman, with 167 points to her 153. Simon Gregg continues to hold third with 143 points.
In TA2, Lawrence overcame Andretti for the lead during the 12th lap, after the restart as well, and managed to hold on for the remaining 13 laps, but it wasn’t an easy feat.
“It was a fun race, but at the same time this was probably the hardest TA2 race for me to date,” said Lawrence. “Hopefully it made for a good show. I was sketchy in points, we were all scraping for every bit of track we could get; I know I messed up at a couple points and locked it up in few too. It turned into trying to capitalize on everyone’s mistakes and trying to make the fewest. I ended the race with flat spots on all four tires, cords showing—it took every bit of car that we had today, brakes, setup—it took all the hard work that the crew gave all week and all year to pull off this win. This wasn’t my best performance, so it’s not my best win, but it was definitely the toughest. We were lucky enough to come away with the win.”
Andretti would finish second to Lawrence while rookie Ron Keith, in the No. 25 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, finished third after putting in a cool and confident performance in which he only varied between fourth and third.
NASCAR Nationwide driver Ty Dillon, in the No. 12 Trick Titanium Chevrolet Camaro, finished fourth in what was his Trans Am debut after starting sixth. Bob Stretch, in the No. 98 Fix Rim/ Wheels America Chevrolet Camaro, finished fifth.
Lawrence’s victory was his second in a row and fifth on the season, increasing his points total to 190, 35 over runner-up Adam Andretti, with 155 points. Kevin Poitras moved up to third in the standings with 130 points.
In TA3 American Muscle, Trans Am rookie Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 9 Breathless Performance Chevrolet Camaro, captured his second consecutive victory in Trans Am’s production-based class. Francis, Jr. started second in the class behind the No. 39 Tremec/ SKF/ Backstreet/ Chevrolet Performance Chevrolet Camaro, of Todd Napieralski, and followed him for the first four laps of the race before taking first position, which he held for the remainder of the race. Napieralski would finish third, and the No. 37 JOMAC Bodies and Cranes/ Deb’s Peppers Ford Mustang of Rich Jones finished second.
TA3 International featured a victory by Clint Sawinski, in the No. 94 Temp Air Porsche Super Cup, in his Trans Am debut. Sawinski started the race in third position but assumed first after the No. 67 of pole sitter Jason Berkeley and the No. 93 of teammate Jerry Greene went off course and were unable to continue. Sawinski held off Norman Betts, in the No. 82 Hoosier/VP Fuels Chevrolet Corvette, for the eventual victory with Betts finishing second.
Trans Am will now enter a one month mid-season break in preparation for THE 3Dimensional Services Next Dimension 100 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 17, for Round Seven of the 2014 Trans Am Championship.
Until then, keep up with all the action at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.