After back-to-back races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this month, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli drivers had a weekend off before returning to race action for the Ryan Companies Road America Classic this weekend. Featuring four classes and a robust 57-car field, the weekend marks Trans Am’s 47th visit to the iconic 4.04-mile, 14-turn Wisconsin circuit.
Racing as part of the NASCAR Xfinity event, Trans Am will showcase two 25-lap (101.2-mile) contests on Saturday: the Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge featuring the TA2 powered by AEM class; and the Ryan Companies 100 that will see the Trans Am, SuperGT and GT classes taking part.
With five weekends remaining as the Trans Am season winds down, championship races are in full swing across all classes, with Road America poised to play a pivotal role.
Last year in the TA/SGT/GT race, Boris Said, in the Monster Energy/Weaver Concepts Dodge Challenger, outlasted Chris Dyson for the TA class victory.
Looking for another winning run, Said has teamed up with Burtin Racing for Road America and will be wheeling the No. 3 GoShare/Elavon/Axalta Chevrolet Camaro normally driven by Tomy Drissi, who is temporarily sidelined due to an injury.
“We are very excited that we were able to come to an agreement with GoShare, Elavon and Axalta to put Boris Said in the car at Road America,” said Burtin Racing’s Claudio Burtin. “He is a very well-known wheelman and road racer, and is familiar with these cars. Boris is currently in Australia swimming with the sharks, and he will be swimming with the TA sharks at Road America this weekend!”
Adding one of the most successful and experienced drivers to the TA lineup offers up even more competition for the tight points race featuring current leader Dyson (No. 20 Plaid Crafts Ford Mustang) and Mid-Ohio winner Ernie Francis Jr. (No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang). A mere five points separates the pair atop the TA standings.
In the TA2 powered by AEM class, Marc Miller (No. 40 Prefix / Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger) leads by a healthy 61 points after back-to-back wins at Indy and Mid-Ohio.
But the three drivers in pursuit of Miller are separated by only five points: Dillon Machavern in the No. 77 Liqui-Moly / Prefix Ford Mustang; defending champion Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro; and Scott Lagasse Jr. in the No. 92 SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars Chevrolet Camaro have all rattled off multiple podium finishes and will look to challenge Miller up front.
“Road America is one of those tracks where the Dodge is strong, and I think with the changes we made, we have a good chance of repeating a victory,” Miller said. “But, these TA2 drivers are all over us. They are so fast and so tough that we have to keep focused on where we’re good and where we are strong, then capitalize on that.”
While Miller’s main rivals have a target on his back, he also has to worry about NASCAR XFinity drivers Christopher Bell, Justin Haley and Brandon Jones, all outfitted in Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustangs once again. Bell and Haley competed alongside Miller two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio, turning very close times to the championship leader.
Last season, Cindi Lux, the 13-time road racing champion, set a class track lap record in SGT with a quick time of 2m16.845s, but missed the top step of the podium by just seven-tenths of a second. Lux returns this weekend, fully intending to add some victory hardware to her long list of accomplishments.
“I thrive on turning my motivation into dedication,” said Lux. “I need to race smart — which sounds easy. However, with the level of competition in the SGT class, you need the entire package. But I found some tricks at Road America that seem to work especially on the long runs. First priority is to make sure you have something left at the end. I’ll be very focused on that this weekend.”
Milwaukee’s Jeff Courtney has entered the GT class with the No.99 Matrix/RecStuff.com/ Kendra Maserati GT4, returning to the series after winning the season opener at Sebring.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli field will participate in a promoter test day on Thursday before clocking official times in practice Thursday afternoon. Friday kicks off with a pair of morning practice sessions, followed by split back-to-back qualifying sessions in the afternoon.
The weekend ends with the Ryan Companies present the Muscle Car Challenge TA2 feature starting at 8:00 a.m. Saturday (all times Central), followed by the Ryan Companies 100 for TA, SGT, GT starting at 11:40 a.m.
For live timing and scoring, event photos and post-race recap videos visit GoTransAm.com. For live race updates follow @GoTransAm on Twitter.