Practice and qualifying are complete for the first event of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship season. Track time at Thunderhill Raceway Park began with three practice sessions combining all of the series classes. Greg Pickett and Roy Fulmer IV swapped spots at the top of the leaderboard throughout the day, but Pickett’s lightning-fast, track-record breaking lap in qualifying earned him the first Motul Pole Award of the season.
Greg Pickett paced the opening practice session in his TA class No. 6 Altwell CBD/Gym Weed Ford Mustang with a time of 1m43.819s. Roy Fulmer IV, who is making his first Trans Am start this weekend, was second fastest in his TA2 class No. 86 Fulmer’s Auto Body/Nichols Construction Chevrolet Camaro with a time of 1m45.060s followed by Ken Sutherland’s TA2 class No. 68 Cascade Sotheby’s/Wyatt Fire Protection Camaro with at 1m48.259s. Kent Stacy’s No. 26 RF Racing/S3 Camaro (TA2, 1m49.393s) and Dave Kunicki’s No. 67 Blue Max Camaro (TA2, 1m49.472s) rounded out the top five.
Second practice was cut short due to an accident by the No. 60 Nelson Motorsports Chevy Monte Carlo of Rudy Revak in SGT. As a result, only a handful of cars were able to make a lap and times were not fully up to speed. Following the crash, Revak was transported to a local area hospital for evaluation.
Fulmer IV was the quickest in the final practice session of the day with a time of 1m45.505s, followed by Pickett (1m45.895s), Sutherland (1m47.409s), Andy Kwitowski’s No. 49 AK Construction/AK Development Camaro (TA2, 1m49.135s) and Jeff Holden’s No. 11 Mid Valley Transmission/Joe’s Racing Products Camaro (TA2, 1m50.979s). This session was also slightly shortened due to a crash by Kwitowski, who is expected to have his car repaired in time for tomorrow’s race.
In qualifying, Pickett took back the top of the leaderboard, earning the Motul Pole Award with a new track record of 1m41.865s. Fulmer IV was the top TA2 qualifier and will start tomorrow’s race from the second position after laying down a lap time of 1m43.469s. Sutherland was third fastest with a time of 1m45.807s, followed by Stacy (1m46.831s) and Holden (1m47.659s). Chris Evans in the No. 92 Chris Evans Inc. Ford Mustang was the top SGT qualifier, earning the ninth spot overall at 1m49.838s. Mike Sheehan qualified 16th and was the fastest of the XGT class in his No. 72 Ferraris Online LLC Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 at 2m05.970s.
“This is a fun track. There’s some good speed here,” said Pickett after his pole-winning lap. “Around here it takes four, maybe five laps to really get the tires to come in to where they need to be, so I think I got the pole on my fifth lap. I was coming up to take the flag again but my crew told me I got the pole. I didn’t want to be greedy but I might have gotten a couple more tenths out of a flyer on the next lap. This is a beautiful track and it has lot of technical areas where you really have to pay attention and run the right line. These cars are fun to drive here so thank you, Trans Am, for coming. And tell Chris Dyson he’s not the only Altwell Mustang out there that’s pretty fast,” he concluded with a smile.
“My dad and I have really been putting our time in preparing for this race so I can’t thank him enough for wrenching hard and not being afraid to try new things,” said Fulmer IV after laying down the fastest TA2 lap. “I’ve got a lot of experience at this track. This and Sonoma are my two home tracks; I’ve done multiple 25 Hours [of Thunderhill] and I was actually the youngest ever to do the 25 Hours at 13 years old. In order to win tomorrow I need to be very methodical with the tires and the brakes. I need to try not to cook the tires and over-push the car in the beginning. I’ve got to save it for the end.”
Full qualifying results can be found here.
The opening race of the Western Championship will be contested on Sunday, April 10 at 1:10 p.m. PT/4:10 p.m. ET. Keep up with the event with live timing and scoring, which will be available at https://gotransam.com/livetiming.