Miller grabs the pole in tight TA2 qualifying at COTA

Images by Chris Clark

Miller grabs the pole in tight TA2 qualifying at COTA

Trans Am

Miller grabs the pole in tight TA2 qualifying at COTA

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Qualifying times could not have been tighter in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 class Saturday at Circuit of The Americas. When the dust had cleared, just over one tenth of a second covered the first two rows of the grid for Sunday’s 100-mile TA2 presented by AEM feature.

While Marc Miller needs only to take the green on Sunday to clinch the TA2 championship, he pushed his No. 40 Prefix/Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger as if everything was on the line. He reeled off two laps before setting off on a flyer, the resulting 2m15.038s clocking earning the experienced Stevens-Miller Racing driver his third pole-position start of the season.

“I love this track. My very first Grand Am win was here at COTA, so it has a soft spot in my heart,” said Miller. “The only trophy I really want to talk about right now is the first-place race trophy. As far as I am concerned, we haven’t won this championship until the checkered drops tomorrow and I’m on that top step.”

For the first half of qualifying, Misha Goikhberg’s times in the No. 10 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro were just inside the top 10. But after a pit stop to cool his Pirelli PZero tires, the Canadian driver clicked off a 2m15.150s lap that was five one-thousandths of a second faster than Edward Sevadjian (No. 38 Leadfoot Racing Chevrolet Camaro) and earned him a front row start.

On cool tires in the closing minutes of TA2 qualifying, Goikhberg almost stole the pole.

“We didn’t have much of a plan for qualifying besides go out there and set fastest time in the first two laps,” said Goikhberg. “Unfortunately, I got a bit greedy out there and dropped down to around sixth place in times. I came in to pit and the team and I decided to go back out for one more Hail Mary lap, and it was a good decision in the end.”

Driving a brand new Chevrolet Camaro, Sevadjian was the wild-card in TA2 qualifying. Eclipsing Scott Lagasse Jr. by six one hundredths of a second with a time of 2m15.155s, the Texas native will start third. Earlier this season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sevadijan won the SVRA’s Vintage Race of Champions title co-driving with Trans Am legend Willy T. Ribbs.

“It’s our first time out in this car,” Sevadjian said. “I didn’t expect to do as well as we did, so we are all excited right now. I feel like I left just a little bit out there — we missed the pole by such a small margin. We are going to go to work and hopefully we can be on the podium at the end of this race.”

Dillon Machavern (No. 77 Liqui-Moly / Prefix Ford Mustang) rounded out the top-five times with a fast lap of 2m15.578s.

West Coast Championship

In the duel for the West Coast TA2 title, Brad McAllister came out the winner on the day, his No. 24 PortlandImplantDentistry.com Ford Mustang qualifying 10th overall with a 2m16.922s best that was second-fastest of the seven West Coast contenders.

Pre-race points leader Anthony Honeywell (No. 76 Honeywell Competition / TFB Performance Chevrolet Camaro), meanwhile, will start Sunday’s race three rows back in 15th overall.

However, it was Ethan Wilson, in the No. 25 BC Race Cars / Western Grinding Services Chevrolet Camaro who was fastest in the TA2 West Coast lineup, sixth overall, claiming pole position and the three points for qualifying.

The COTA race is the West Coast series finale and with Honeywell and McAllister just two points apart, the title is on the line in tomorrow’s TA2 feature.

TA2 QUALIFYING

Thirty-three TA2 powered by AEM drivers will take the green for the 100-mile Muscle Car Challenge starting at 11:05 a.m. CDT on Sunday.

For live timing and scoring, event photos and post-race recap videos visit GoTransAm.com. For live race updates follow @GoTransAm on Twitter.

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