Trans Am makes history ahead of COTA finale

Trans Am makes history ahead of COTA finale

Trans Am

Trans Am makes history ahead of COTA finale

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It’s been said that everything is bigger in Texas. The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will prove that saying right as a Texas-sized field descends on Circuit of The Americas November 5-7 for the Heacock Classic, part of the Austin SpeedTour event weekend.

Seventy-eight Trans Am National Series and West Coast Championship drivers will unite for the second-largest field in Trans Am history, with an outstanding roster of 78 entries this weekend (Sebring 2016 had 79 entries).

The TA2 class continues its record-setting season of growth, with 50 entries slated for the season-finale event,  officially resetting the single-event record for the class and upping the mark from the Nashville round, which featured 38 cars.

The Trans Am National Series and West Coast Championship fields will unite for a weekend of intense action with two 100-mile races set for Sunday (Nov. 7). The enormous field of TA2 American Muscle cars will take the green at 10:50 a.m. Central followed by the TA/XGT/SGT/GT season finale at 1:50 p.m. Central. (Tickets)

“It’s incredible to see the growth this season,” said John Clagett, Trans Am Racing Company president. “Trans Am always delivers great racing with intense competition. We are excited to end the season on such a high note.”

With all class championships on both coasts already determined, the focus this weekend will be on which drivers will take runner-up and third place honors as well as who will score some new race winning hardware in Texas.

After winning seven races across the nation, Chris Dyson clinched his first Trans Am championship one round early. Dyson can rest easy as the No. 20 ALTWELL CBD Ford Mustang driver leaves his rivals Tomy Drissi and Ernie Francis Jr. to fight for champion runner-up.

For the first time in his eight-year Trans Am career, Francis Jr. will be fighting for second in the championship. The seven-time consecutive champion enters the weekend third in points, trailing Drissi by 17 (242 vs. 225). Francis Jr. has been consistently quick in qualifying, snatching up the valuable extra Motul Pole Award points four times this season, the most of any TA competitor. Though his car has been fast off the line, Francis Jr.’s No. 98 Future Star Racing Ford Mustang has had mechanical gremlins pop up in several races throughout the season that have ended his charge early.

Franicis Jr. will be pulling double duty at CoTA also competing in the three-round Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda finale. Through his roller-coaster of a season, Francis Jr. still has his head in the game to overtake Drissi in the championship.

“It’s been a tough season but nevertheless we are looking forward to the race at COTA,” said Francis Jr. “It’s always a fun track to go to and pulling double duty with FR will definitely be more interesting.  Racing three series this year (TA, FR Americas and SRX) and having some issues with our TA car has been challenging, however we plan on completing the full race season by giving it the best we got in Austin.”

Drissi’s response to his strategy to keep Francis Jr. behind him for the weekend was a simple one: “Go flat out with our elbows out and win!”

The XtremeGT class will see the most diverse competition between motorsport manufacturers since its inception. Championship elect for both the National and West Coast titles, Erich Joiner returns in the No. 10 Good Boy Bob Coffee Roasters Porsche 991 GT3 R. He will be challenged by a pair of Corvettes driven by Randy Hale (No. 31 Hale Propeller Chevrolet Corvette) and Texas-native Mike Weathers (No. 48  GSpeed Chevrolet Corvette). Both have second place finishes in the class this season.

Following a 31 year absence, Mike Sheehan will return to Trans Am in his iconic Lamborghini Gallardo to complete the XGT lineup.

Justin Oakes returns to the SGT field, making his home-track debut in the championship-winning No. 11  Droneworks Chevrolet Corvette. Oakes missed the last race in Virginia to participate in his first SCCA National Runoffs competition after he clinched the SGT title two rounds early.

Only three points separate the father and son duo of Milton and Carey Grant for second and third place in the SGT class. While the pair do work together on the track, they are ultra competitive with each other and come Sunday Carey will treat his dad like any other racer on the track, as he aims for ultimate family bragging rights by taking the championship runner-up title.

With SGT West Coast champion John Schweitzer moving into TA2, the door is open for Cindi Lux. Lux has three consecutive victories this season in the No. 45  LuxPerformance/BlackRockCoffee Dodge Viper, and she is looking to close out her season strong with her fourth win for the finale.

Natalie Decker is back in the No. 29 Wisclift Audi R8 for Ave Motorsports to finish out her ProAm SGT title run.

Austin hometown driver Sean Young is the lone entry for the GT class, driving the No. 74 Corsair Racing Ginetta GT 55 GT4.

The Trans Am Series takes to the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit on Friday for testing before the official weekend starts on Saturday with the Trans Am practice block starting at 11:20 a.m. Central. The drivers will take a break before the 15-minute split qualifying sessions start at 5:20 p.m. Central. The enormous field of TA2 American Muscle cars will take the green Sunday at 10:50 a.m. Central followed by the TA/XGT/SGT/GT season finale at 1:50 p.m. Central. Live timing and scoring will be available at www.gotransam.com/livetiming

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