On Friday, the sky was a gray slate ceiling over Circuit of The Americas, but contained the moisture and allowed a full day of on track action. Among those making it a good day was Thor Johnson, who pushed his 1959 Lotus 19 to first in his Group 4 class. Susan Patterson – profiled Friday – struggled with her newly acquired 1964 Triumph Spitfire, finishing ninth of 10 entries in Group 1 F Production.
Big names continued to show their heels to the field, and this was no more evident than in the Group 2 qualifying race where polesitter Geoff Brabham led all six laps of the sprint. Brabham steadily pulled away from the field, leaving his car owner and teammate Ron Hornig to duke it out in a brawl for the runner-up spot with Graham Adelman in his Apex Vintage-prepared 1968 Brabham BT23. Both Geoff and Ron drive virtually identical 1971 Brabham BT35s. The first three finishers are all in the Formula B class.
Groups 10, 11 and 12b all ran together to produce some of the most interesting competition. Theo Bean continued to impress in his ex-Geoff Brabham 1988 IMSA Nissan GTP. This time, Randy Johnson in a 2007 Pescarolo 01 Le Mans prototype edged Bean. The two ran nose-to-tail throughout the six-lap contest. Bean’s brother Patrick (pictured) brought his 1990 Chevrolet Intrepid home third overall.
An interesting factor in Theo Bean’s speed is that Geoff Brabham spent time with the 23-year-old aspiring professional racer on Friday morning. He shared his thoughts on setting up the car, even calling one of his old engineers to pick his brain about spring settings. The team applied the input and Bean immediately picked up more than a second in his lap times.
Boris Said continued to dominate Group 10 in his 1999 Corvette, running laps a full four seconds faster than his nearest competition. The Mazda Motorsports Heritage Collection cars are also in run group. Highest placed was Jeremy Barnes in the 1990 Mazda RX7 who finished seventh overall in the field of 26. Robert Davis in the Mazda 787 prototype Group 11 entry was ninth overall. Ken Saward, driving the third Heritage Collection car – the Mazda 767B – was 11th. That Mazda prototype was a Le Mans 24 entry in 1988 and 1989.
On Saturday, the big races of the day are two Trans Am contests. The primary class, TA, which runs with the smaller production cars of TA3 and TA4, will be the first race. Paul Fix won the pole for the contest, which awarded enough points to put him ahead of defending series champion Amy Ruman – by a single point. The TA2 class will run a separate race to close out the day.