With four podium finishes in six events, Dillon Machavern quickly shot up into championship contention in the Trans Am TA2 powered by AEM category. He now trails championship leader Marc Miller by just 22 points following the double-header at the Detroit Grand Prix. Trans Am catches up with Machavern to talk consistency, the highs and lows of the Detroit GP and the performance of his new Prefix Choice Engine.
TRANS AM: You shot up to second in points in the TA2 points championship following Detroit. When you’re in the fight for a championship what importance does finishing with consistent results play? Do you sometimes rethink overtakes because the outcome isn’t worth the risk?
Dillon Machavern: When chasing a championship, constancy is everything. It’s all about maximizing points every time you hit the track. That being said sometimes maximizing points means not making a move and staying in position unless there is an opportunity to pass without forcing the issue. As a competitor it takes a lot of discipline to not go for the top step every race but in the long run it always pays off to avoid the risk.
What different preparations do you do prior to a street course than a regular road course?
DM: Other than car setup we don’t do anything different from track to track. The Stevens Miller team is a top-shelf organization and the reason for that is that we all show up ready to go no matter if it’s a preseason test day or the last race of the season. As I said before consistency wins championships and that means we are always prepared to the highest level.
TA: What made the Detroit GP course so challenging?
DM: The Detroit GP circuit and street courses in general are very difficult for a number of reasons. The obvious one is that you are on skinny public roads lined with concrete walls leaving no runoff and no room for error. I brushed the walls a few times exiting corners because in order to get everything out of the track you have to get off the corners really well and maximize the speed on the straights. The track is also extremely bumpy which can make braking very inconsistent especially in solid rear axle cars like my No. 77 Liqui Moly Mustang. The most important thing about a track like Detroit is maintaining focus the whole time
TA: There was a lot of action between the two races at Detroit, what goes through your head when you dodge an incident? How do you react as a driver to the incidents, specifically the spinout that nearly collected you?
DM: There is definitely an added level of awareness that an incident can happen at any time when on a street circuit. Since there isn’t a lot of real estate to avoid an inevitable spin or crash I tried to play it safe and give myself a little bigger gap to the car in front of me than I normally would to make sure I would have room to avoid if I had to — which ended up being very valuable a few times. That being said it is impossible to avoid everything and the car came out with a few rub-marks and broken body panels, but I was able to avoid the big incidents.
TA: You had two podiums at Detroit. What was the atmosphere like under your tent following the races?
DM: It was all smiles for the Stevens Miller and Liqui Moly guys! We didn’t have the best start to the weekend in practice and qualifying so to be able to rebound was awesome. We collected a lot of points and were able to share our success with a lot of guests which is always enjoyable.
TA: What performance differences have you noticed in the Prefix Choice engine?
DM: The Prefix engine package has been awesome all year. The power is great and the support from their staff has been extremely beneficial. I really put it to the test in the second race because the motor was overheating due to debris on the grill, and the engine didn’t skip a beat.