CD Racing took home its third win of the season in round three of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, with Chris Dyson earning his second-consecutive victory at Road Atlanta. After earning his first pole award of the year, Dyson led from flag to flag in his No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang, tallying the 21st win of his Trans Am career in the Bennett/BridgeHaul Classic at the Mission Foods Atlanta SpeedTour.
Dyson took the green flag with teammate Matt Brabham beside him in the No. 20 GYM WEED Ford Mustang, but third-place qualifier Boris Said quickly took over the second spot in his No. 79 ECC/Anchor Bolt & Screw Dodge Challenger. While Brabham and Said battled over the second position, Dyson opened up a large gap over his competitors. Brabham was able to fight his way back into second on lap nine, and the two CD Racing cars began to drive away from the field.
David Pintaric in the No. 57 Kryderacing Ford Mustang was solidly holding onto the fourth position until lap 16, when he made contact with a wall and received front-end damage. This paved the way for Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford Mustang and Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette to round out the top five.
It appeared that CD Racing was on its way to a third-consecutive one-two finish until Brabham’s second-place Mustang suddenly fell off the pace and coasted onto pit road. Brabham was diagnosed with an engine failure, and his retirement resulted in a 16th-place finish overall, putting him ninth in class. Dyson’s No. 16 sister car held strong, and the two-time champion took the checkered flag for the 21st time in his career. Said followed Dyson across the finish line, with Drissi not far behind. Ruman was challenged by Keith Grant in the No. 40 Showtime Motorsports Camaro in the closing laps, but she held him off, finishing fourth with Grant behind her in fifth.
“I’ll tell you what, there’s no easy laps here around Road Atlanta, so you’ve got to keep your head up the entire time,” said Dyson. “Even though I had a lead, I had to stay on top of the car the whole way. Thank God it was such a great weekend. We got here and the car was fast pretty much right away, so we were able to just keep building. This is the best weekend we’ve had all season. I’m so proud of the guys at CD Racing for putting us up front. I couldn’t be happier, I’m so grateful. What a magical weekend for the team.”
Dyson’s win broke the tie with Ron Fellows for sixth on the all-time Trans Am TA class win list when he clinched his 21st victory today. Scott Pruett is fifth on the list with 22 wins. CD Racing has won all three TA races of 2023 and is on a five-race winning streak, which began at VIRginia International Raceway last year. Dyson has earned three of the five victories, and Brabham has earned two.
In his eight starts in the Trans Am Series, this is the first time Brabham has finished outside the top two. He has four victories.
Ken Thwaits, who was fourth in the standings coming into this weekend’s race, was unable to take the green flag due to a major crash in practice, which left his No. 7 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro too damaged to compete.
TA Masters Award:
Boris Said, No. 79 ECC/Anchor Bolt & Screw Dodge Challenger
COOLSHIRT Cool Move of the Race:
Billy Griffin, No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang
Serck Precision Clean Up:
Tomy Drissi, No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford Mustang
In XGT, Tyler Hoffman in the No. 42 BridgeHaul/Bennett Mercedes AMG GT3 led the field from start to finish. Second-in-class starter Danny Lowry in the No. 43 Bennett/BridgeHaul/PitBoxes.com Mercedes AMG GT3 was challenged briefly by Chris Evans in the No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang early in the race, but Lowry overtook Evans for the runner-up spot and held it for the remainder of the race. Evans later experienced an issue which left him overheating in the gravel trap and out of the race. Series newcomer Austin Hill in the No. 0 Southern Ohio Equipment/Aluma Trailers/Ferris Chevrolet Corvette was only able to complete nine laps before retiring. Nathan Byrd in the No. 88 Sonesta/Tilson/Hopegivers Porsche 911.1 GT3 Cup drove from last in class to secure the third and final spot on the podium.
“These Mercedes are hooked up” said Hoffman on the podium. “The Ricky Sanders guys got the car dialed in. The Bennett/BridgeHaul Mercedes is just top notch. To run a GT3 car with this series is just a total privilege and a ton of fun out there. It was good racing all the way through.”
Ricky Sanders in the No. 18 BridgeHaul/Bennett/PitBoxes.com Porsche 991.1 led the SGT class in one of Danny Lowry’s cars from green flag to checkers at Road Atlanta and scored his second-consecutive win as the drivers behind him fought for position. 2022 SGT champion Milton Grant, who started second in his No. 55 Springhill Suites/Sentry Self Storage Porsche 991.1 GT3 Cup, had a water pump belt failure that resulted in his early retirement and allowed his son Carey Grant to take over second in his No. 6 Grant Racing 2 Porsche 991.1 GT3 Cup. Lee Saunders in the No. 44 LandSearch LLC Ford Mustang came from the back to finish third in his second backup car of the weekend, loaned to him by GT competitor Billy Griffin.
“We had a good race,” said Sanders. “It’s great racing with these guys, they are always good competition. I’ve got to thank Danny Lowry for loaning me the car so that I could run, and of course his company, Bennett and BridgeHaul for their support. We couldn’t do it without them.”
2022 GT champion Billy Griffin led from flag to flag in his No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang, besting Michael Attaway in the No. 91 Bennett/BridgeHaul/PitBoxes.com Audi R8. Griffin was also awarded the COOLSHIRT Cool Move of the Race for loaning Lee Saunders a vehicle to compete in the SGT class.
“It was hot and fun,” said Griffin. “The car wouldn’t shift, so I had a really hard time. I’m glad we made it through. I just tried to stay out of the fast guys’ way and manage the car. I had a great time; I love this place.”
Michael Attaway, No. 91 Bennett/BridgeHaul/PitBoxes.com Audi R8
Wally Dallenbach in the No. 4 Ultimate Headers Ford Mustang showed speed throughout the weekend, qualifying 10th overall. Unfortunately, Dallenbach went off the pace on lap two and retired due to an engine issue, relegating him to 22nd overall.
The broadcast of Saturday’s race will air on MAVTV on Thursday, March 30 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
The Trans Am Series has a two-month hiatus before returning to the track May 26-29 at Lime Rock Park for the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.