Trans Am Western Championship Kicks Off Second Half of Season in Portland
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship is past the halfway point as the series heads to Portland International Raceway for Round 5 of the eight-race season. Portland is one of only two racetracks still on the schedule from the Western Championship’s inaugural season in 2017 (the other being Circuit of The Americas) and has been visited every year except during the 2020 pandemic. This will be the Western Championship’s fifth outing at the 1.97-mile circuit, which is the shortest track Western competitors will visit this year.
Last time on track
The Western Championship most recently hit the track at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington last month. It was a day for first-time entrants, with both class winners victorious in their first Trans Am starts. TA2 driver Brody Goble in the No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford Mustang had a dominant run, leading from flag to flag in his Trans Am race debut, while Xuanqian Wang in the No. 22 AURALIC North America McLaren 570S GT4 overcame early mechanical issues to win the SGT class by attrition in the final laps. Both competitors return to the track this weekend to back up their triumphant debuts.
Past Portland winners return
This weekend, two drivers entered in Sunday’s race return to Portland International Raceway to attempt to earn another victory at the track. Brad McAllister in the No. 24 Periodontal Associates/JDRF Ford Mustang won the TA2 event in 2019 on his way to securing that year’s championship, while Tim Lynn in the No. 17 Roof Options Ford Mustang earned the TA2 victory in 2021.
Oregon natives pour into Portland
The entry list for this weekend’s event has six drivers hailing from the state of Oregon, including three Portland natives: Xuanqian Wang, Howard Johnston, and Matt Crandall. Other Oregonians include Brad McAllister and Ken Sutherland, who are both from Sherwood, and Chris Evans from Powell Butte.
Debut driver hoping to continue trend
One driver enters the Trans Am paddock for the first time this weekend and is hoping to continue a trend the Western Championship has seen this year. Ricky Leigh in the No. 09 1909 Gastropub Chevrolet Camaro will be making his Trans Am debut in the TA2 class. First-time entrants have seen a lot of luck this year, with Brody Goble and Xuanqian Wang winning in their series debuts at The Ridge. Roy Fulmer IV kicked off the 2022 season with a pole and win in his series debut at Thunderhill. Will Leigh be the next new entrant to stand at the top of the podium? We will find out on Sunday.
Crossed flags: Halfway points update
With the Trans Am Western Championship season now halfway complete, contenders for the championship in each class are becoming clear.
The TA2 battle is hot, with Jeff Holden in the No. 11 RELAXandCBD.com/Dakota Lithium/Mid Valley Transmission Camaro leading with 111 points after back-to-back wins at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Sonoma Raceway. Ken Sutherland is second, just 14 points back in his No. 68 Cascade Sotheby’s/Wyatt Fire Protection Camaro, and Dave Kunicki is third in the No. 67 Blue Max Camaro, 18 points behind Sutherland.
In XGT, Mike Sheehan in the No. 72 Ferraris Online LLC Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 leads Erich Joiner in the No. 10 goodboybob Coffee Roasters Porsche GT3R by 11 points, with Bob Mueller in the No. 28 Octavio Tequila Porsche GT3R scored third, just two points behind Joiner.
In SGT, Chris Evans in the No. 99 Chris Evans Inc. Ford Mustang leads over Howard Johnston in the No. 32 IWS Acquisition Group Ford Mustang by only five points. Michael LaPaglia is a distant third in the No. 31 North City Standard Gravel/Papini’s Ford Mustang.
In TA, Greg Pickett in the No. 6 ALTWELL CBD/Gym Weed Ford Mustang currently leads the TA class standings.