Dyson looks to grow championship advantage in Atlanta

Dyson looks to grow championship advantage in Atlanta

Trans Am

Dyson looks to grow championship advantage in Atlanta


A roaring field of 52 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli cars return to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this weekend, March 26-28, headlining the Atlanta SpeedTour for the second round of the 2021 season. The event will feature two races on Sunday, kicking off with the TA race that will also see the SuperGT and GT class machines in action, with TA2 closing out the weekend.

Chris Dyson opened his 2021 Trans Am account with a TA class victory at Sebring in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang. Over the past three seasons Dyson has won twice at Road Atlanta, including 2020’s season finale.

This weekend, Dyson will be looking to extend his family dynasty at the fast and flowing Georgia circuit. His father, Rob Dyson, won the SCCA GT2 National Championship there in 1981 in a Datsun 200SX, and Chris Dyson clinched his first IMSA championship at the track in an LMP675 MG-Lola at the 2003 running of the Motul Petit Le Mans.

“We ended last year on a high note and the good work the team did over the winter allowed us to hit the ground running this year,” Dyson said. “It was great to start the 2021 season with a win — going from last to first without the help of a full-course caution is something I’ll remember forever. But we have a long season ahead of us and the competition in this series is formidable, so I’m not taking anything for granted.

“Road Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks, and over the 20 years of my professional racing career I’ve always run strongly there. The Trans Am this weekend will be my 17th race at Road Atlanta. In addition to the Trans Am wins last year and in 2018, in my 13 races in prototypes I won the ALMS class in 2012 and finished on the podium seven times. I’ve run more laps around Road Atlanta than I could possibly remember, and every lap is exciting.”

In pursuit of his eighth championship, Ernie Francis Jr. will play ironman this weekend, running a total of four feature races at Road Atlanta between Trans Am and the Formula Regional Americas Championship. Francis Jr. is looking to make up championship ground in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Future Star Ford Mustang after falling to second at Sebring following a pole-position start. The two-time Road Atlanta Trans Am winner hopes to add to his impressive win tally with another run to victory this weekend.

In addition to the TA points leader Dyson, there are several drivers in the deeply talented 17-car TA field who have their eye on the Road Atlanta victory, including three-time Road Atlanta winner Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette; veteran champion Boris Said in the new No. 2 WeaverRacingTechnique/SRI Dodge Challenger; NASCAR Cup team owner Justin Marks in the No. 99 Ave Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette; and 2019 Road Atlanta podium finisher and reigning West Coast XGT champion, Simon Gregg.

Gregg will also look to add to the robust family legacy at Road Atlanta, as his father Peter won the inaugural Trans Am race on the Georgia circuit in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche in 1973. This season, Gregg has dedicated his Camaro to his father’s namesake, wheeling the No. 59 Peter Gregg Foundation Chevrolet Camaro prepped by Burtin Racing.

Burtin Racing is no stranger to success at Road Atlanta, executing consecutive one-two finishes in the TA class in 2019 and again in 2020. Gregg marks one of three TA cars under the Burtin Racing tent at Road Atlanta. Leading the charge for the Atlanta-based team, is Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro, who finished on the podium twice last year during the Road Atlanta double-header.

New to Burtin Racing is 2020 XGT champion Ken Thwaits. Thwaits’ Showtime Motorsports squad will serve as a satellite team in Nashville for Burtin Racing. The combined effort will allow for Thwaits to get more familiar with his new full-time TA ride and for the teams to share resources. Thwaits finished on the podium last weekend at Charlotte in the Trans Am ProAm Challenge driving the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro.

“Last year was great fun and it was fantastic to get to know everyone and familiarize myself with the various tracks in the Audi. I really caught the Trans Am bug last year but there’s no doubt it’s a whole different ball game running in the TA class as opposed to the GT3 cars. The Trans Am cars are bigger power platforms, there are more competitors that we’re up against – some seriously talented drivers in the likes of Ernie (Francis Jr.), Chris Dyson and Tomy Drissi.

“It’s safe to say I’ve been around Camaros and a collector for a very long time, but never one quite like this one,” said Thwaits. “It’s an absolute monster with a huge amount of horsepower to transfer to the track. While I’m still getting to know it, the car was fantastic at Charlotte and if we run as well this weekend, I’ll be delighted.”


The production class made up of 10 SGT and GT class will take the green in a split start at Road Atlanta during opening 100-mile feature on Sunday. Leading the charge will be Sebring race winners Billy Griffin (No. 14 GriffinAutoCare/SheehansTowing Ford Mustang GT4) and Philip Di Pippo (No. 94 Sasco Sports Ford Mustang).

The weekend opens with optional testing on Friday. Saturday starts with practices for each class with qualifying beginning at 4:45 p.m Eastern. Sunday’s TA/SGT/GT feature race begins at 12:15 p.m. ET, while the TA2 race is set for 4:25 p.m. Eastern.

To watch all the action live from the Atlanta SpeedTour weekend starting with qualifying, click here to download and subscribe to the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.