Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
Contact Adam: Email
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
When the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli a West Coast Championship returns to Portland International Raceway on July 23-25, it will mark the 28th visit for Trans Am to the historic circuit.
While the National Series last raced at Portland in 2009, the Trans Am West Coast Championship competed at the circuit from 2017 through 2019. All three events won by ageless legend Greg Pickett, a Portland Trans Am winner back in 1984. (VIDEO: Full Race- Trans Am at Portland 2001)
Tomy Drissi – currently second in the National TA points – won the most recent Portland National Series race in 2009. The Hollywood, Calif., veteran also finished third at Portland in the 2018 West Coast race during his successful run to the championship.
Portland first hosted Trans Am in 1972, with a Two-Five Challenge race for sub-compact sedans. Peter Brock Enterprises dominated the series that year with Simonize-sponsored Datsun 510s. Lead driver John Morton won six of the 11 races, including Portland where he beat out popular NASCAR West Coast champion Hershel McGriff, driving Brock’s “guest” car.
Legendary Corvette campaigner John Greenwood won the first National Trans Am at Portland in 1975 despite starting 18th. Greenwood needed 18 laps to take the lead in his 427cc Corvette, and then led all but two of the final 33 circuits. It was Greenwood’s second of three victories that would carry him to the 1975 title.
The 1981 Portland race featured a 49-car entry won by Bob Tullius in his Group 44 Jaguar XJS. Tullius edged out the Corvette of Eppie Wietzes by 0.330-seconds, with John Bauer’s Porsche 911 a very close third as three former champions made up the podium.
Portland’s Neil DeAtley joined the Trans Am full-time in 1983, winning at his home track with Willy T. Ribbs taking the checkered flag in DeAtley’s Budweiser Camaro – nosing out Pickett’s Corvette by 0.600-seconds. Pickett came back the following year and won in a Jack Roush Mercury Capri – making Pickett the leading money winner in Trans Am history at the time.
Wally Dallenbach Jr. won back-to-back in 1985-86, taking races in a Roush Capri and a Protofab Camaro. The next dominant team was Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports, winning five Portland features with five different drivers. West Coast star Darin Brassfield won in 1990 and Irv Hoerr in 1991, both in Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes. Rocketsports later won the final three TA Nationals at Portland, with Gentilozzi in 2004, Klaus Graf in 2005 and Drissi in 2009, all driving Jaguar XKRs.
In between the Rocketsports victories, Ron Fellows ran off three consecutive triumphs from 1993-95, winning two in a Tom Gloy Mercury Capri and the later event in a Buz McCall Camaro.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship will have a full day of testing on Friday to get up to speed before the official race weekend starts on Saturday with and all-class practice starting at 11:40 a.m. Pacific followed by qualifying at 4:20 p.m. Pacific. The drivers will take the green on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific for 51 laps or 75 minutes.
Follow Live Timing and Scoring all weekend at www.gotransam.com/livetiming
The 2021 Progressive American Flat Track season will resume this weekend in something of an unofficial homecoming round for the paddock with the Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson at Port Royal Speedway in Port Royal, Pennsylvania, this upcoming Saturday, July 24.
Despite the event making its first-ever appearance on the series’ calendar, its importance was cemented with its announcement due to its location. Pennsylvania is almost inarguably the single greatest producer of elite flat track talent with an outsized percentage of the field claiming home ties of one sort of another to the state.
As such, any home-state advantage in the evolving championship chases are largely negated this weekend, particularly in the premier Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle class where the leading trio are all either native or resident Pennsylvanians. And as such, double defending Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), second-ranked Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and multi-time GNC Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) will pick up their battle for supremacy with a bit of extra motivation pushing them forward.
Bauman landed the most recent blow with his well-timed Lima triumph, but even so, Robinson remains on fire and Mees comes in with an extra week to heal following last weekend’s weather-related cancellation.
Looking a bit deeper, the continued progress of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) will be of interest as he continues to rack up podium finishes and threatens to turn this into a four-way title fight.
Also worth monitoring will be the relative performances of JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), and James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) as the Port Royal Half-Mile marks the first event utilizing the rule changes newly implemented with aims of leveling the playing field between race-only and production-based engines.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
It’s a similar story in AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines where six of the top eight-ranked riders -- including the top two -- will be angling to impress in front of their home-state fans.
Title leader Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) has opened up a healthy 39-point advantage that only stacks ever higher with each successive standout performance.
Fellow Pennsylvanians Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/Rausch Fuel Kawasaki Ninja 650), Cameron Smith (No. 44 Fredericktown Yamaha/Richie Reynolds Racing MT-07), and Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT) will all need to be at their best in hopes of pushing Texter as far down the order as possible in hopes of eroding his championship padding.
While that’s obviously easier said than done, it’s worth remembering that Lewis and Varnes did manage to finish ahead of Texter last time out.
The AFT Singles class is less of an intra-state affair with the top-ranked Pennsylvanian being Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), who currently sits sixth in the points.
Texter-Bauman is more than capable of contributing to a home-state victory sweep, however, considering she’s the winningest rider in class history and opened her ‘21 campaign with a double victory on Volusia Speedway’s similarly clay Half-Mile.
The chances for such a sweep improve up considerably if you allow for the inclusion of Australian Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), who makes Pennsylvania his home base during the race season. The championship leader by virtue of the tie-breaker over reigning AFT Singles champion Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), Whale has been in tremendous form as of late, notching up two wins and a runner-up over his last four attempts.
The only rider with an argument of being even hotter is Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), who has done the same over his last three attempts.
And with Daniels desperate to strike back and the usual assortment of a dozen or so riders with at least an outside chance at stealing away a win, Port Royal should deliver another high-drama AFT Singles Main Event.
The Port Royal Half-Mile also marks the return of Royal Enfield’s extremely popular BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. program which serves to highlight and celebrate women and motorcycle culture. There will be a special BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. exhibition and Q&A during the Fan Walk, in which fans will be invited to watch as the riders are interviewed about their specific racebike builds and their experiences as developing flat track racers.
There will be plenty of additional entertainment off track as well, highlighted by live music courtesy of Chasing Neon, who will bring their high-energy blend of live party music that ranges from country to classic rock and everything in between.
Fans looking to upgrade their racing experience are encouraged to reserve an all-day paddock access pass, allowing for free movement in and out of the pit areas for a true behind-the-scenes view of the Progressive AFT action. Limited quantities available.
Tickets are available for purchase now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3371#selectTickets. General Admission Infield tickets with open lawn seating are $25 ($65 with the addition of the all-day paddock access upgrade). General Admission Grandstand tickets go for $35 ($75 with paddock access) and Premium Reserved Grandstands are $45 ($85 with paddock access). Kids 12 and under are admitted for free ($40 with paddock access) with the purchase of an adult ticket.
The gates will open for fans at 3:00 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies set to begin at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT. Live coverage of the entire weekend’s racing activities will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
The Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson will air on NBCSN on Sunday, August 15, at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
For more information, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com.
To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
Writing can be, and is, the key to everlasting life!
Since the first season of Speedway Digest Thursday Night Thunder, we have had the opportunity to work with Waldorf Publishing to get to know some of their authors, many of whom have a passion not only for the written word, but for speed!
My former co-host Mykkal Mulalley-Kapalo and myself have been grateful to the teams and racers that we have spoken with on the program, and during this unparalleled pandemic, we hope to provide you, our readers, listeners, and fans, a little snippet into some of the people who help make this the greatest sport in the world.
Today, we are pleased to highlight Ryan Schwab-Segoria.
- What was your first car?
* My first car was a white 1994 Ford Bronco with red carpet interior. I love that car more than any other car that I’ve owned in the past or now. The speedometer capped out at 85 miles an hour, but on a good day, I could hit 90 before she started to rattle bad enough to shake my teeth. She was a great car, but at somewhere twelve miles to the gallon, it cost more to drive her than I was making.
- What do you drive now?
* I drive 2017 Nissan Sentra. It actually has AC and a working radio, so it’s basically NASA to me.
- What is your dream car that you wish to own?
* 1977 Blue Volkswagen Bus. It’s been my dream car for as long as I can remember.
- Do you see yourself ever buying a battery operated car?
* Absolutely. Living in California makes you realize just how much money you can drop on gas in a month. My car gets good gas mileage, but I’m still dropping thirty bucks a tank. It adds up fast. Having a battery-operated car would definitely help reduce the amount I spend on travelling.
- If you went on a road trip, what book would you bring?
* 11/23/63 by Stephan King. I can read that book a hundred times and still cry at the ending.
- What do you think about Elon Musk and his advances in technology?
* I’m a big fan of Elon Musk for the most part. I’m pretty eager to see what SpaceX does next and I’m waiting patiently for the Hyperloop to get finished. I’m also hoping his flamethrowers will return for sale.
Stay tuned for more insights into the amazing authors of Waldorf Publishing in the coming weeks.
Be sure to follow Ryan Schwab-Segoria on social media:
Chase Elliott Wins Camping World SRX Season Finale at Nashville; Tony Stewart Takes Inaugural Camping World SRX Series Championship
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott held off three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart to take the victory in the Camping World SRX Series season finale Saturday night at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Elliott crossed the stripe .439 of a second ahead of Stewart after battling his father, Bill, for much of the 77-lap race around the .596-mile oval in Music City.
“I had a ball. I got to race against two of my heroes,” Chase said. “I got to race against Dad there throughout the race and those are moments I will cherish forever. Just super thankful to be here.”
Chase started fourth in his No. 94 machine and by lap 32 was second to his father, who led from the start. Chase took the lead from Bill for the first time on lap 53, only for Bill to take it back a lap later.
“I don’t know who lit a fire under him,” said Chase about his father. “I had not seen that in him in years. It was amazing and a lot of fun. I thought it was going to be between he and I. I think he just got a little high into one and missed that restart. Other than that, it was so much fun.”
As the two continued to race side-by-side, Chase crossed the stripe ahead of Bill on lap 55 and then never relinquished the point. That didn’t mean Chase wasn’t challenged.
Stewart, who clinched the Camping World SRX Series championship before the second heat race ended, drove from fifth in the 12-driver field to begin engaging the Elliotts just past the midpoint of the race. Stewart passed Bill for second on lap 61 and promptly set his sights on Chase. While Stewart got close, Chase held onto the lead and held off Stewart.
“How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliotts?” Stewart said. “That’s pretty badass in itself, and we really appreciate NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports for letting Chase come run with us. It means a lot to us, it means a lot to Bill.”
Chase’s car number for the race was No. 94, which holds a special place for him and the entire Elliott family.
“My late cousin Casey Elliott ran the 94 for years and years,” Chase said. “It’s always special to run that number and glad we could get it into victory lane here at Nashville.”
Both Chase and Bill had prior experience at Nashville. Chase raced at the half-mile speedway countless times in a Super Late Model, winning the prestigious All American 400 in 2013. Bill competed in seven NASCAR Cup Series races at the track with a best finish of fifth in the 1983 Marty Robbins 420.
“I didn’t need to happen what happened there (on the final restart). I just didn’t get all the stuff off my tires like I needed to. I just rolled up the hill, I was in it, then I got in it, then I was fighting. I was trying to get back to Tony but then I lost my drive up off and I was really having a hard time controlling my wheel spin up off the corner,” said Bill, the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion who won the night’s first heat race by .218 of a second over Chase.
“Man, I tell you what, it was a lot of fun. I knew the way the tires were on these cars and the way Chase manages his stuff, he was going to be hard to beat. I know he didn’t have the best car, but he knows how to get it to the end.”
Nashville marked only the second time Bill and Chase had raced against each other. The first time came on Oct. 20, 2013 in the Alabama Pro 125 Late Model race at South Alabama Speedway, where Chase won and Bill finished fourth.
“I’ve raced here before and I kind of had an idea of what I needed, and I think that helped as much as anything,” Bill said. “It was such a cool deal to be able to come here and do this and have a crowd like this.
“For me, I finally got what I wanted out of a racecar and I felt good out there. I thought, I’m on Medicare and I’m trying to keep up with these young kids. You’re trying to learn and gain, and every time you get into a racecar you learn something, you learn from your mistakes. Not being in one in a long time and kind of making a mistake in turn one, not cleaning up my tires good, that was it.
“To me, it was a great night. My hat’s off to everyone at SRX for what they did and I’m proud of those guys. I just hope that we, as a racing community, can embrace this and learn from it, especially what we saw here tonight at the Nashville Fairgrounds. I haven’t seen a crowd like this here in many, many years.”
Stewart won the Camping World SRX Series championship by 45 points over runner-up Ernie Francis Jr. Two feature race wins, June 19 at Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway and June 26 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, propelled Stewart to the championship, as he was the only multi-race winner.
“Winning this championship is awesome,” Stewart said. “I really appreciate Marcus Lemonis and everyone at Camping World for stepping up and helping us when we needed to get this thing off the ground, and all of our partners that have come on board. On all of these cars there are different sponsors, so a lot of people made this happen.
“Most of all, I’m really proud of this trophy from Cold Hard Art from Indiana that made that thing. To be the last guy to win an IROC championship and the first guy to win a Camping World SRX championship means a lot.”
The Camping World SRX Series championship caps an impressive tally of titles for Stewart. He is a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (2002, 2005 and 2011), an IROC Series champion (2006), an NTT INDYCAR Series champion (1997), a four-time USAC champion (1994 Midget title and 1995 Triple Crown) and a three-time karting champion (1980, 1983 and 1987). Stewart is the first and only driver to win championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars.
“You hate to point race, but at the same time with the two heat races to get points and know there was still the main event, it was very realistic to get this locked up in the heats. That was the focus, to get that done and out of the way to where, then, during the main event we didn’t have to worry about it. If we got wrecked or spun out or whatever, we didn’t have to worry about it,” Stewart said.
“This series had every variable that you wanted and looked for. You had good racing, you had different winners, you had awesome crew chiefs, awesome ringers, awesome local track champions. To have heroes and villains in the series, I don’t know how you can ask for more than that.”
The race’s 77-lap distance was a nod to country music star and Grand Ole Opry regular Marty Robbins, who raced at the Fairgrounds in the late 1960s driving his iconic purple-and-yellow No. 777 Plymouth Belvedere, primarily in in the Modified and Sportsman classes.
“The ghost of Marty Robbins is here somewhere,” said Ray Evernham, co-founder of the Camping World SRX Series and the man who restored Robbins’ racecar. “His number was 777, so we picked 77 laps for the race distance, and then that caution flag with seven laps left, that was for Marty. People ask what all the cautions are for, and I say it’s to close the field up. And they ask when are you going to throw them, and I say whenever I feel like it.”
The Camping World SRX Series featured world-class drivers from an array of motorsports backgrounds competing in identically prepared racecars on some of the most iconic short tracks in America. The six-race short-track series culminated at Nashville after opening its season June 12 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. It then visited back-to-back dirt tracks at Knoxville and Eldora before returning to pavement July 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis ahead of its penultimate event July 10 at Slinger (Wis.) Speedway.
Local all-star Doug Coby won at Stafford. Stewart swept the two dirt-track events. Road-racing specialist Francis scored a breakout win at Lucas Oil Raceway, and NTT INDYCAR Series veteran Marco Andretti won at Slinger to earn his first victory in a racecar featuring a roof and fenders.
“The part of it I’m really impressed with is how well this team has adapted, come together, to prepare cars every week and how much fun the drivers have had, which is something I was really hoping for – the drivers have fun and the fans have fun,” Evernham said. “And it has been very humbling the way this has been supported by the fans. We’ve put on a good show. I feel like we’ve done a good thing for some of the short tracks across America, and some of those towns that needed a little bit of an economic boost. You bring national television to a town, that’s good, and just the support that we’re getting from the fans. If they’re telling me it’s good, I’m happy, because it didn’t matter whether or not I thought it was good. And every time you have a good idea, you’re wondering if it’s really a good idea or just that I think it’s a good idea. But the fans like it and that’s been the best thing for me.”
All the races were broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and streamed on Paramount+ Premium.
Heat Race No. 1 (12 minutes, 25 laps):
Note: Starting lineup determined by random draw.
1. Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led laps 1-17, 20-25)
2. Chase Elliott (Started 2nd; led laps 18-19; completed 25/25 laps)
3. Bobby Labonte (Started 3rd; completed 25/25 laps)
4. Marco Andretti (Started 5th; completed 25/25 laps)
5. Tony Stewart (Started 4th; completed 25/25 laps)
6. Tony Kanaan (Started 7th; completed 25/25 laps)
7. Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 6th; completed 25/25 laps)
8. Paul Tracy (Started 10th; led laps completed 25/25 laps)
9. Helio Castroneves (Started 9th; completed 25/25 laps)
10. Hailie Deegan (Started 8th; completed 25/25 laps)
11. Michael Waltrip (Started 12th; completed 25/25 laps)
12. Willy T. Ribbs (Started 11th; completed 25/25 laps)
Heat Race No. 2 (12 minutes, 24 laps):
Note: Drivers’ finishing positions in Heat Race No. 1 were inverted for start of Heat Race No. 2.
1. Helio Castroneves (Started 4th; led laps 16-24)
2. Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 6th; completed 24/24 laps)
3. Paul Tracy (Started 5th; completed 24/24 laps)
4. Bobby Labonte (Started 10th; completed 24/24 laps)
5. Tony Stewart (Started 8th; completed 24/24 laps)
6. Bill Elliott (Started 12th; completed 24/24 laps)
7. Tony Kanaan (Started 7th; completed 24/24 laps)
8. Chase Elliott (Started 11th; completed 24/24 laps)
9. Michael Waltrip (Started 2nd; led laps 1-5; completed 24/24 laps)
10. Marco Andretti (Started 9th; completed 24/24 laps)
11. Hailie Deegan (Started 3rd; completed 24/24 laps)
12. Willy T. Ribbs (Started 1st; completed 24/24 laps)
Feature Results (77 laps):
Note: Starting lineup was based on average finishing positions in Heat Race Nos. 1-2.
1. Chase Elliott (Started 4th; led laps 53, 55-77)
2. Tony Stewart (Started 5th; completed 77/77 laps)
3. Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led laps 1-52, 54; completed 77/77 laps)
4. Bobby Labonte (Started 2nd; completed 77/77 laps)
5. Paul Tracy (Started 7th; completed 77/77 laps)
6. Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 3rd; completed 77/77 laps)
7. Michael Waltrip (Started 10th; completed 77/77 laps)
8. Tony Kanaan (Started 8th; completed 77/77 laps)
9. Helio Castroneves (Started 6th; completed 77/77 laps)
10. Hailie Deegan (Started 11th; completed 77/77 laps)
11. Marco Andretti (Started 9th; completed 77/77 laps)
12. Willy T. Ribbs (Started 12th; completed 56/77 laps)
Camping World SRX Series FINAL Championship Standings:
1. Tony Stewart (237 points)
2. Ernie Francis Jr. (192 points, -45)
3. Bobby Labonte (182 points, -55)
4. Marco Andretti (171 points, -66)
5. Helio Castroneves (164 points, -73)
6. Tony Kanaan (162 points, -75)
7. Paul Tracy (121 points, -116)
8. Michael Waltrip (111 points, -126)
9. Bill Elliott (105 points, -132)
10. Willy T. Ribbs (67 points, -170)
Note: Points are awarded in both heats and the feature. In each heat, the winner receives a maximum of 12 points. Second place earns 11 points with every position in descending order receiving one fewer point, with the 12th-place finisher earning one point. Points increase in the feature, with the winner receiving 25 points, second place 22 points, third place 20 points, fourth place 18 points, fifth place 16 points, sixth place 14 points, seventh place 12 points, eighth place 10 points, ninth place eight points, 10th place six points, 11th place four points and 12th place two points.
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
There was plenty of passing in Sunday’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli combined feature race at Brainerd International Raceway.
Future Star Ernie Francis Jr. drove from the back of the grid to take the overall victory in the Ryan Companies US presents the Jed Copham Tribute Weekend, while Rafa Matos rebounded from an incident to capture the TA2® triumph.
Francis started 24th in the No. 98 Future Star Racing Ford Mustang. He quickly moved through traffic, needing only six laps to take third. From that point, he bided his time through a pair of restarts and passed Chris Dyson on the inside on Lap 19 to take the overall and TA lead – earning him the Chill-Out Systems Quantum Cooler Move of the race. (Video: Ernie Francis Jr. Drives from Last to First in Trans Am at Brainerd-Race Recap)
“We really had a dominant car out there today,” said the 23-year-old seven-time champion. “The car was dominant all weekend. The car felt like it was on rails the whole race. We got up to the leaders and worked our way by them. I was able to run a nice, steady pace and pull away from them. Hopefully, we can take the momentum to the next one at Watkins Glen.”
Incredibly, it was Francis’ first victory of the season in seven attempts. That upped his career total to 24 wins in TA – and his 47th including his 23 class triumphs.
“It’s been so tough – we’ve been waiting so long for this win,” Francis said. “We’ve been struggling all year long. We had so many opportunities earlier in the season, but it just didn’t go our way. I’m so happy we could go from the back to win this. It’s been a great weekend so far. I finished off the SRX season last night and got second in the championship.”
Fast qualifier Tomy Drissi led the opening 17 laps in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet before being passed on a restart by Dyson and Francis. Drissi held on to take second, 19.219 seconds behind Francis.
"It was a great race," said Drissi. "It was an unusual day, we set up our car to come in sooner. Ernie (Francis Jr). was just the class of the field today. It was a lot of work to gain just two points on (Chris) Dyson."
Dyson passed Drissi to lead a lap before losing the position to Francis. He was running second in the No. 20 ALTWELL CBD Ford Mustang directly behind Francis when he spun off on lap 24, dropping to 15th in the combined field. Dyson then worked his way back to finish third overall, 53.585 seconds behind Francis.
"Ernie (Francis Jr.) had a better car today," said Dyson. "I thought I could have kept Tomy (Drissi) at bay, but I kind of just handed it to him today. We have some problems we need to work on with the car, and hopefully get it right for the upcoming races. But, at the end of the day the responsibility lies with me. We paid the penalty for not racing here last year, so we were just playing catch up all weekend. I am happy to salvage a third-place result and more points toward the championship."
Ken Thwaits started on the pole in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Ford Mustang. He survived a spin to finish sixth overall and fourth in TA. He was the top Masters competitor in the TA category.
Amy Ruman joined Francis at the back of the grid for the start due to missing qualifying after a broken driveshaft in the No. 23 McNichols Company Corvette. Without a replacement (they had the part on back order), Ruman’s weekend was saved when the Copham family stepped up and sold her the driveshaft from former TA competitor Jed Copham’s car. With her weekend saved, she worked her way up to place 10th overall and fifth in TA.
"Today's finish was all about teamwork and perseverance," Ruman said. "I can't thank my team enough for how hard they worked overnight to get us to the start of the race and a full finish today. We had to modify a driveshaft that we received from the Copham family from Jed's old Trans Am car. They were nice enough to let us buy that off them. We cut that down and modified it to fit for this race. It wasn't a perfect fit but we are just happy to take home a solid fifth-place finish in the McNichols No. 23."
Matos Remains Unrattled in TA2® Comeback
In TA2®, Matos pulled away to lead the early laps in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang. But while Francis was challenging Dyson for the TA lead, Matos slipped from first to sixth in TA2® after contact from Michael Self on a Lap 18 restart. The Brazilian needed nine laps to come back, passing Thomas Merrill in Turn 6 to regain the class lead – with his pass earning ChillOut honors.
The victory marked Matos’ third of the season – and 13th of his career – while expanding his lead in the TA2® points race. (VIDEO: Matos Unrattled in TA2 Comeback- Race Recap)
“Man, it was a hot one,” Matos said. “I thought we were done for a moment after I got hit from Michael Self – he made a mistake on the restart, missed his braking point and hit my door. That was pretty bad, but luckily the car wasn’t damaged. I thought I had some damage for a lap or two. The car started overheating, but somehow, the temperature started getting lower and it was back to normal. Just an amazing day for us. I had high expectations for this weekend. Again, the 3-Dimensional Services guys did an awesome job. Extending the points lead, this couldn’t be a better weekend for us.”
Mike Skeen was also involved in Matos’ incident with Self, sustaining major right-front bodywork damage. Undeterred, he held on and finished second in the No. 1 Liqui-Moly/Turn 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro, 4.512 seconds back.
“I didn’t know the extent of the damage,” said Skeen. “At first, I thought we were going to get away with it when I saw Self move over and make contact [with Matos]. I thought I could sneak through to the left but there was a huge cloud of dirt and I couldn’t see anything. Then I saw Self coming back over and we just collected him. Frustrating for sure, but I don’t think any of us had anything for Rafa today. His car was hauling the mail. There was nothing we could do, but that restart made it interesting. This was about the best we could have done today, I’m glad I was able to bring it home.”
Merrill passed Matos to take the TA2® lead following the contact on the restart. He managed to lead nine laps before encountering brake problems on the No. 81 HP Tuners/Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang that eventually put him out of the race.
Tyler Kicera completed the TA2® podium in the No. 75 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro, followed by Connor Mosack in the No. 28 NicTailor/IFS M1-SLR Camaro and Adrian Wlostowski in the No. 3 Hawk Performance/F.A.S.T. Auto Camaro.
"These races are all about staying on track and being there at the end, and that held true for us today," said Kicera. "I picked my way through the field, and was able to get a gap. I started to fall off there at the end so it was all about maintaining. Huge thank you to Maurice and Laura Hull for the opportunity."
Doug Peterson earned TA2® Masters honors by placing ninth in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro.
Next up for the Trans Am is the Music City Grand Prix, featuring the TA2® class, joining the IndyCar Series in Nashville, Tenn., on August 6-8.
The next race for the combined TA/TA2/XGT/SGT and GT classes will be a doubleheader weekend at Watkins Glen International on Sept. 11-12.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship will travel to Portland International Raceway next weekend (July 23-25) with the Portland SpeedTour.
Watch the full race replay on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App: https://bit.ly/34qQfCG
Top 10 Overall Results
- TA Ernie Francis Jr No. 98 Future Star Racing Ford Mustang
- TA Tomy Drissi No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro
- TA Chris Dyson No. 20 ALTWELL CBD Ford Mustang
- TA2 Rafa Matos No. 88 3 Dimensional Services Ford Mustang
- TA2 Mike Skeen No. 1 Liqui-Moly/Turn14Distribution Chevrolet Camaro
- TA Ken Thwaits No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Ford Mustang
- TA2 Tyler Kicera No. 75 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro
- TA2 Connor Mosack No. 28 NicTailor/IFS M1-SLR/Fields Chevrolet Camaro
- TA2 Adrian Wlostowski No. 3 Hawk Performance/F.A.S.T. Auto Chevrolet Camaro
- TA Amy Ruman No. 23 McNicholsCo/CornerTechCNCSolut Chevrolet Corvette