Stevens-Miller Racing will return to defend its 2019 Trans Am presented by Pirelli TA2 championship with a fresh line up of cars and drivers, and renewed support from Liqui Moly USA and Berryman Products.
Leading the Columbia City, Indiana-based SMR challenge to repeat as TA2 champion will be former NASCAR Trucks and Xfinity series driver Mike Skeen, who will drive the No. 77 SMR Liqui Moly / Turn 14 Chevrolet Camaro with additional support from DSC Sport.
Skeen replaces 2019 TA2 titlist Marc Miller who has returned to IMSA, as has former SMR teammate and TA2 championship runnerup Dillon Machavern.
“It’s great to be back in the Trans Am series and driving for Stevens-Miller Racing, said North Carolina native Skeen. “I’ve worked with (owner) Joe (Stevens) previously so I know the high level of professionalism he brings to the paddock.
“The level of competition in TA2 is very high,” Skeen continued. “For sure it’ll be a challenge, but as a team we’re up for it. Joe takes his approach to racing very seriously…”
“Mike is a great addition to our team,” said Stevens. “It’s hard to believe the season is already upon us. (We have) been hard at it all winter and will have a whole new look as, for the first time in more than five years, we will not start the season with a Dodge Challenger under our awning.
“It’ll be a season of new challenges and opportunities as we try to collect not just the National championship but also the Northern and Southern Cups as well.”
Also new under the SMR canopy are ex-Robinson Racing engineers Jim Fraser, Norm Johnson and Dave Warfel. “I’m pumped to have these guys come on board,” Stevens said. “This is the same group who helped Gar Robinson and Shane Lewis dominate in the past and claim two titles. Their addition will enhance our engineering capabilities across all of our cars.”
Returning to drive the No. 12 Berryman SMR Ford Mustang and No. 61 Pitt Race SMR Chevrolet Camaro, respectively, are Ohioans Alex Wright and John Paul Southern Jr.
“Alex had a great first year in TA2,” said Stevens, “and we’re thrilled to have him represent Berryman Products for 2020. He finished just outside the top 10 last season and this year he will focus on the Northern Cup Championship. I know he’s excited to get in the Mustang that Dillon Machavern drove to second in the championship last year.”
“I’m hoping to build on a good rookie season,” Wright said. “With a little more consistency and experience, I’m expecting some good results. I’m looking forward to representing Berryman Products, (and) the car is a real crowd-pleaser with that Big Daddy Ed Roth-designed Chemtooler on its side.”
Southern, meanwhile, will be returning for the season after his making his Trans Am debut in the 2019 Daytona finale. He is backed by the Pittsburgh International Race Complex and his SMR Camaro will carry the Pitt Race logo promoting the Pennsylvania track.
“I’m very appreciative to have a home with Stevens-Miller Racing this year,” said Southern, a former karter who has raced Formula 4 and F3 the last three seasons. “The chemistry that started at Daytona continued in the off season and (became) an opportunity to race for the Southern Cup championship with Joe and his team. I plan to take advantage of the resources that exist with the team and contribute to their position on the grid. I will work as hard as I can to deliver strong results in the No. 61 Pitt Race SMR Chevrolet Camaro.
“Daytona was a blast and I can’t wait for Sebring,” Southern added.
“Going for three titles will be no small feat, but I’m more than excited to give it all that we have,” Stevens said. “I want to thank all of our supporters and all of our part- and full-time staff who have worked so hard this winter to put our 2020 program together.
“Now it’s time to get down to it. The transporters are loaded and we’re ready to head to Sebring…”