Race two of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) concluded with Brody Goble in the No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford Mustang capturing his second win of the 2022 season. After brake issues while leading derailed his fight for a win in yesterday’s race one, Goble led from green flag to checkers, dominating the event to take the top step of the podium in a caution-free race.
After posting the fastest lap time in yesterday’s race, Goble earned the first starting position in race two of the doubleheader weekend at UMC. Starting beside Roy Fulmer IV in the No. 186 Fulmer’s Auto Body/Nichols Construction Camaro, the two were inseparable for nearly the entire race. Running within a second of each other in close competition, Goble held the advantage, but Fulmer pushed him hard, running in his tire tracks and never taking the pressure off. It wasn’t until five laps to go when Goble was able to get a little bit of breathing room after Fulmer’s overheated tires hit some fluid on the track in Turn 5, and by the final lap, the No. 69 coasted across the finish line with an 8.5s gap between himself and Fulmer’s second place.
Third and fourth in the TA2 class was a fervent battle between the top two points contenders, Jeff Holden in the No. 11 RELAXandCBD.com/Dakota Lithium/Mid Valley Transmission Camaro and Ken Sutherland in the No. 68 Pittman & Brooks, P.C. Camaro. With Holden starting the race fourth overall and Sutherland starting fifth, the two were constantly challenging each other, swapping positions multiple times throughout the race. Running nose-to-tail, Sutherland held the advantage for most of the event, and the two raced hard until the final turn of the final lap when they made contact, sending Holden spinning into the frontstretch wall. Sutherland was scored third in class and Holden was scored fourth. Holden will hold a 12-point lead going into the season finale at COTA. Parker DeLong in the No. 4 Parker DeLong Racing Mustang earned his second-consecutive TA2 top five in his debut weekend in the series.
“It might have looked a little bit uneventful from the outside, but Roy [Fulmer IV] stuck with me the entire time,” said Goble in Victory Circle. “I was super impressed with his pace, and he did not make it easy, even if it looked easy. We were within a second of each other for 90 percent of this race, and just at the end, we were able to stretch out a bit and take a little bit of the pressure off. It was a long time to go green and challenging to drive an entire race with that much pressure on. It was an awesome job by Roy, and little bit of redemption for us. Yesterday we started first as well, and we had we had a brake bleeder that backed off and I only made it about 10-15 minutes before the pedal went to the floor and we had to pit. Luckily it happened in a spot with some runoff. So, this was redemption for the boys and the Brown Bros. Racing team. I have a lot of partners to thank for allowing me to make it down here: Brown Brothers Ford, of course, Morrisport Advanced Driving, Fiske Wheels, Lubrico Warranty, and a ton of other guys that have helped me get to this point. I’m super thankful to get it done for the boys.”
Goble still has miles of driving ahead of him, as he will be driving the team’s transporter back home Sunday evening.
“Tim Brown, who is our team owner, wasn’t able to make this race at the last moment as he tested positive for COVID-19 the day before we were going to load up. It’s the first race that we have not all been together at for years. I ended up driving the tractor trailer to the track myself and I’m driving it home.”
“It was a great race; Brody [Goble] was definitely making me work to keep up with him, and that was no easy task,” said second-place Fulmer. “That guy is very consistent, and a super awesome dude to race with. I’ll race with Brody any day of the week. Toward the end, I kind of over-pushed the car a little bit; my tires were overheated and there was some sort of oil in between Turns 3-5. It shot me out on the exit to Turn 5, and Brody was able to gap. I couldn’t make it back up.”
In the XGT class, Chris Evans in the No. 92 Chris Evans Inc. Ford Mustang held the lead throughout the race over Howard Johnston in the No. 32 IWS Acquisition Group Mustang, but the race was not without its challenges for Evans. Starting the race third overall and first in class, Evans missed his line and went off track on lap one due to a dust cloud from a contender driving off track. Dropping back to eighth, it took five laps to work his way back into the top five, and by lap eight he had recovered his starting position. Evans held that spot until going off track again on lap 15 and was forced to fight his way past Sutherland and Holden to claim a third overall finish and his class victory. Johnston finished eighth overall.
“I had to pass some guys over and over again,” said Evans from the podium. “Somebody had an off and both spotters told me to just drive through the dust, but they didn’t tell me there’s a turn in the middle of the dust. I was completely blind, but over to the left side of my eye, there went the track, and I was pointed in the wrong direction. I had no choice but to just kind of straighten it out, collect it up and get back on. I think I passed a couple guys who were right back there. We got back by those. Then somebody laid a patch of something and I lost traction. I caught back up and I think they both got by again. Once I got the faith in the traction back again, we kind of closed in. All in all, this was our first time at this racetrack, we turned our best lap time, and the car loads back in the trailer, so I’m a fan. We’re going to Texas.”
Michael LaPaglia in the No. 31 Papini’s/Johnson Tuning/FAST Ford Mustang won the SGT class, finishing 13th overall.
“It was a good race, but it was a little lonely out there today,” said LaPaglia. “I had some good fun out there with some TA2 guys and just tried to stay out of the way when the leaders came around. We fixed a problem we had yesterday with our surge tank, and we got to run 75 hard minutes, which was good. Being the only SGT car takes some of the pressure off. We got some good data on the car to get ready for COTA, so all in all, it was a success. I think there’s a field of like 14 cars in SGT at COTA, so hopefully everyone shows up and we can be competitive to win. I want to thank everyone from Trans Am for putting on this event. This is an awesome venue.”
Following the race, seventh-place Dave Kunicki in the No. 67 Blue Max Camaro was awarded the ChillOut Keep Cool Move of the Race.
The Western Championship next heads to Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for the season finale combination event with the National Championship November 4-6. Champions will be crowned at the series awards gala on November 6.