The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will hold Round 8 of the 2022 season when Ryan Companies presents the Trans Am 100s at Road America. The event will bookend the final pair of back-to-back races of 2022, following two exciting races last weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This weekend will see ultra-competitive racing, with extremely large fields in both of this weekend’s 100-mile races.
The TA, XGT and SGT classes all have season-high entries this weekend, with 13 TA cars, three XGT cars and seven SGT cars composing a field of 23 cars for Saturday’s event. TA2’s 50-car entry list ties an all-time high for the class, previously achieved at Circuit of The Americas in 2021, which was a combined National and Western Championship event. 2022 is a season of growth for the TA2 class, with five of the top-six all-time entry counts occurring this year.
Past winners seek road to victory
This weekend at Road America, a number of past winners return with the hope of capturing the checkered flag once again. Chris Dyson in the No. 20 ALTWELL Ford Mustang won the TA event back-to-back in both 2021, the year he won the TA championship, and 2020. Also in 2020, Mike Skeen in the No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang won the TA2 event, Ken Thwaits in the No. 7 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro won in XGT, and Lee Saunders in the No. 44 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper won in SGT, and all three won their class championships that year. In 2019, Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang won in TA2, and Aaron Pierce in the No. 26 LSI Inc./Sam Pierce Corvette won in TA3/SGT. Boris Said in the No. 79 ECC/Anchor Bolt & Screw/Weaver Dodge Challenger won the TA race in 2019. Cliff Ebben in the No. 36 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Mustang won in 2016, 2011 and 2009. Doug Peterson in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang and Cameron Lawrence in the No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro won in both 2014 and 2013 in TA and TA2. In those two years, both of them won their respective class championships.
Wisconsin natives at home at Road America
This weekend’s entry list for Road America includes several drivers who call the state of Wisconsin home. In TA, Paul Menard from Eau Claire returns to the Trans Am Series in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro for the first time since his victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Trans Am veteran and three-time winner at Road America Cliff Ebben hails from Freedom. Ron Malec in the No. 98 Ron Malec Performance Corvette is making his Trans Am Pro/Am debut and is right at home at Road America with a hometown of Elkhart Lake. Malec has previously won the SCCA June Sprints, and is best known for being the seven-time championship-winning car chief for NASCAR Cup Series star Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports. Denny Lamers in the No. 66 McMahon Group/Strumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Mustang is from Fremont. In TA2, Evan Pecore in the No. 94 Diversion Motors/ValuPro Camaro is from Newton, and David Budres in the No. 95 Competition One/Manic/Simpson Dodge Challenger is from Beloit.
CBS Sports Network air times
This weekend’s races from Road America will air on CBS Sports Network the week following the event.
TA/XGT/SGT/GT will premiere on Saturday, July 9 at 2 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Sunday, July 10 at 10 p.m. ET.
TA2 will first air on Sunday, July 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation later that evening at midnight, ET.
Kaz Grala returns following impressive Trans Am Series debut at Mid-Ohio
Last weekend at Mid-Ohio, NASCAR driver Kaz Grala made his first-career Trans Am start in the Weaver Racing Concepts No. 2 Technique Chassis/STEEL-IT/Weaver Dodge Challenger. Grala, who set the record as the youngest winner and polesitter in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway in 2017, earned the Motul Pole Award and set a new track record in qualifying before leading the most laps of the race. Unfortunately, Grala experienced a differential issue just past halfway and was forced to retire. Originally not entered to run in this weekend’s event, team owner Pancho Weaver has given the young driver a chance to finish what he started.
David Pintaric faces highs and lows of Road America
David Pintaric in the No. 57 Kryderacing Ford Mustang returned to the podium last weekend at Mid-Ohio, bouncing back from both health and mechanical issues early in the season to finish third at his home track. Pintaric struggled early in the season to recover from COVID-19, and then began working out the bugs in a new race car before taking a three-race hiatus during the West Coast swing and Lime Rock Park events. Back on the podium, Pintaric hopes to remain there at Road America, having found success at the SCCA June Sprints at the track. The Ohioan also won the SCCA Runoffs at the Wisconsin road course in 2012. However, the driver also experienced an extreme low at the circuit in 2012 in a Viper Cup Series race, surviving a violent airborne crash. He credits the engineers at SRT and Dodge and their development on the car for saving his life.
CD Racing has back-to-back 1-2 finishes, welcomes Thomas Merrill to the No. 21
Chris Dyson’s CD Racing has earned 1-2 finishes in both of the last two events, with Dyson leading Matthew Brabham at his home track of Lime Rock Park, and Brabham winning ahead of Dyson last weekend at Mid-Ohio. The team hopes to replicate this feat once again at Road America, this time with back-to-back TA2 winner Thomas Merrill, who will be pulling double duty this weekend. Merrill will pilot CD Racing’s No. 21 allgram Ford Mustang in the TA event, while looking for three wins in a row in the No. 26 BridgeHaul/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang in TA2. Merrill currently sits second in the TA2 point standings, just seven points behind leader Rafa Matos.
Dyson is optimistic about his chances this weekend, winning the TA event at Road America in the series’ last two showings at the track. Dyson also has two wins at the track in the American Le Mans Series in 2003 and 2012, as well as a 2015 victory in the Pirelli World Challenge in a Bentley Continental GT3.
Dyson will have a packed schedule this weekend, as he is also entered in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in the No. 35 Concord American Flagpole Camaro for Emerling-Gase Motorsports. Dyson has one previous Xfinity Series start at Mid-Ohio in 2019.
Grant family trifecta
Last weekend at Mid-Ohio, father Milton Grant (No. 55 Sentry Self Storage/ Springhill Suites Porsche 991.1) and son Carey Grant (No. 6 Grant Racing 2 Porsche GT3 Cup) shared the SGT podium, with Milton earning the class win and Carey finishing third. This weekend, Milton’s brother Richard Grant joins the family affair in the No. 30 Grant Racing Corvette in the TA class. Milton currently leads the SGT point standings over Lee Saunders, who has two runner-up finishes this year and is looking for his first win of the season.
Cindi Lux back on track at Road America
Cindi Lux, driver of the No. 45 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper in the SGT class, returns to the track this weekend after a planned two-race hiatus following her class win at Sonoma Raceway. Lux has had past success at Road America, winning the SCCA June Sprints twice in 2004 and 2006, once in a Corvette and once in a Viper. To celebrate Lux Performance’s return to Road America, Lux will be doing a t-shirt giveaway for fans on Saturday morning. In addition to giving away over 100 T-shirts and other team swag to spectators, she will be hosting a technical talk and meet-and-greet for fans. For more details, visit Lux on social media.
“Even though Road America is 2,100 miles from Portland, Oregon, I feel like it is one of my home tracks,” said Lux. “I have spent so much time on this track in the past 18 years between racing and doing manufacturer testing and launches.”
The battle for second heats up in TA class
Chris Dyson currently holds a 56-point lead in the TA point standings, but despite his past success at the track, a large field full of previous winners and powerhouse contenders will offer the biggest challenge he’s faced so far this season.
Behind Dyson, the competition for second is a three-way battle between Ken Thwaits, Tomy Drissi, and Amy Ruman. Currently in second is Thwaits, who holds just a two-point advantage over Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford Mustang. Ruman is just two points behind Drissi in her No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette.
Full point standings can be found here.
Returns, debuts and double duty drivers at Road America
This weekend’s record-tying field at Road America will see several drivers making their debuts in the TA2 class. Marc Sharinn and son Tyler Sharinn are both making their debuts on different teams, with Marc in the No. 27 Silver Hare Racing Camaro and Tyler driving the No. 00 MMR Racing Camaro. David Budres will also make his debut in the No. 95 Competition One/Manic/Simpson Challenger. The team and driver earned a podium at the SCCA June Sprints at Road America and hope to keep the momentum going at the track this weekend. Peter Portante will make his Trans Am debut in the No. 80 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang.
Thomas Merrill will be moonlighting for CD Racing in the TA class, while Marc Austin, driver of the No. 11 MAD Sim Lab/Flying A Motorsports/Snap-on Camaro, will also drive the No. 11 MAD Race Sim Lab Mercedes AMG GT3 in XGT.
Winning NASCAR team owner Justin Marks will make his first start of the 2022 season, taking the green flag in the No. 99 SLR/M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro. This will be Marks’ first start since WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 2021. Other drivers making their first start of the year are Brad Gross (No. 13 Manufacturing News Camaro), Bruce Nesbitt (No. 50 BrakeOMeter/Orion Motorsports Ford Mustang) and Austin Green (No. 96 Fields Racing/M1 Racecars Camaro).
Rafa Matos holds on to points lead
2018 and 2021 TA2 champion Rafa Matos continues to hold onto the lead in the championship standings, but his margin is slimmer than it was going into Road America in his most recent championship season. With seven points over Thomas Merrill, the gap is much smaller than the 35-point advantage he enjoyed last year. With two wins to his name this season and two championships under his belt, the Brazilian has proven that he can get the job done. Matos has earned three podiums this season and has only finished outside the top eight once in the first seven events, finishing 34th at Road Atlanta following an engine issue.
Thomas Merrill, since recovering from a disappointing 23rd-place finish at his home track of Laguna Seca, has had an exceptional last three events, earning a pole and runner-up finish in Sonoma and back-to-back wins at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio.
Rookie Standings & Young Gun update
The Wilwood TA2 Rookie Standings and Peter Gregg Foundation Young Gun Standings continue to be one of the toughest races of the season, with several strong contenders fighting for precious points. Evan Slater in the No. 35 Cube3 Architecture Camaro sits fourth in the championship standings and continues to lead the Rookie Standings, holding a 19-point advantage over Brent Crews in the No. 70 Nitro Motorsports Mustang. Crews has earned three podiums so far this year and appears to be knocking on the door of his first victory in the series.
Connor Mosack leads the Young Gun standings by only three points over Slater, and with three poles and two podiums, he’s looking to translate the speed of his No. 28 High Point University/Nic Tailor/SLR-M1 Racecars Camaro into a victory. Crews is once again just 19 points behind Slater, and Rhett Barkau in the No. 01 BarkauCars.com/Berryman/NAPA Dodge Challenger is fourth, chasing his first podium of the year.
Full championship, rookie and Young Gun standings can be found here.