Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship competitors don’t have any time to rest, as they head 150 miles south to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Trans Am SpeedFest. This is the only back-to-back event weekend for the Western Championship in 2023, and it creates a unique challenge for competitors who experienced any damage or mechanical failures last weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
A total of 26 cars are set to compete in Sunday’s event. With 20 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series competitors entered, this will be the most Western TA2 competitors to take the green flag in an event at Laguna Seca.
Saturday, May 6
11:20-11:50 a.m. PT
Saturday, May 6
4:30-4:55 p.m. PT
Sunday, May 7
1:45-3:00 p.m. PT
Race Length: 45 Laps/75 Minutes
Golden Gate Challenge
Following the checkered flag at Laguna Seca, one driver will be named the winner of the inaugural Golden Gate Challenge. The competitor who has tallied the most points combining last week’s race at Sonoma Raceway and Sunday’s race will be awarded a special custom trophy.
Last week’s Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series winner, Jack Wood, leads the points with 110, but is not currently entered in this weekend’s event. Wood is followed by series regulars Ken Sutherland with 102 points and Brody Goble with 96 points. National Championship competitors Brad McAllister and Barry Boes are not far behind in fourth and fifth place, with 90 and 85 points, respectively. However, with a large and competitive field expected this weekend, everything can change due to the large points payout under the 2023 system.
Historic cars and drivers at Stonies
On Thursday, May 4 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. PT fans can come out to Stonies Taphouse & Bistro (1366 S. Main St, Salinas, Calif.) to see some Historic Trans Am vehicles and other classic cars. There will be a car show, music, ticket raffles, food and drink specials, and an autograph session with Historic Trans Am drivers from 5:40-6:10 p.m.
Past winners return
Six drivers in this weekend’s field are returning to Laguna Seca in the hopes of taking another checkered flag at the 11-turn road course. While most of the victories were achieved in Western Championship competition, Erich Joiner’s 2021 victory came in as a National Championship competitor.
Steve Goldman, No. 13 LIG Racing Chevrolet Corvette (TA: 2021)
Tim Lynn, No. 17 RoofOptions Ford Mustang (TA2: 2021)
Brad McAllister, No. 24 Straumann and Zimbus Ford Mustang (TA2: 2019)
Mitch Marvosh, No. 29 Wolf Entertainment/RAWsport Motors Ford Mustang (GT: 2019)
Erich Joiner, No. 10 goodboybob Coffee Roasters Porsche 991 GT3 R (XGT: 2022, 2021)
Chris Evans, No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang (SGT: 2022)
This weekend, Clay Koevary will make his first-career Trans Am start in the No. 55 Blue Sky Mortgage Chevrolet Camaro. A driver winning a race in their Trans Am debut is a frequent occurrence in the Western Championship, with both races this season boasting a winner in their first series effort. JC Meynet earned the GT class win at Thunderhill Raceway Park in his first start, and Will Rodgers won the overall race and XGT class at Sonoma Raceway in his Trans Am debut last weekend.
In 2022, drivers such as Roy Fulmer IV, Brody Goble and Xuanqian Wang all won in their first Trans Am outings.
Once again this weekend, half of the drivers entered in this weekend’s race are from the state of California. Bob Accardo Jr., who calls Livermore, California home, is the closest to the Salinas track.
JC Meynet, No. 28 Killer Shrimp Racing Chevrolet Corvette (Woodland Hills)
Kevin Michaels, No. 98 Killer Shrimp Restaurant Chevrolet Corvette (Malibu)
Erich Joiner, No. 10 goodboybob Coffee Roasters Porsche 991 GT3 R (Manhattan Beach)
Tim Lynn, No. 17 RoofOptions Ford Mustang (Kentfield)
Mitch Marvosh, No. 29 Wolf Entertainment/RAWsport Motors Mustang (Santa Barbara)
Michael LaPaglia, No. 31 Papini’s Garage/F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang (Murrieta)
Greg Tolson, No. 38 GT Auto Lounge Chevrolet Camaro (Rancho Cordova)
Bob Accardo Jr., No. 39 Accurate Arms/Race Marketing Chevrolet Camaro (Livermore)
Tim Carroll, No. 46 Carroll Racing Development Dodge Challenger (Santa Ana)
Jacob Yesnick, No. 62 Power Train Tech/McLeod/Accufab Mustang (Rancho Palos Verdes)
Michael Fine, No. 66 Architectural Glass Systems Inc. Chevrolet Camaro (Orangevale)
Kyle Kelley, No. 80 UPR.com/PK&K Chevrolet Camaro (Huntington Beach)
Ricky Leigh, No. 09 1909 Gastropub Temecula CA Chevrolet Camaro (Murrieta)
Previous race recap
Four unique classes were on display at the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship race at Sonoma Raceway, with three different classes occupying the overall race podium. Will Rodgers in XGT, Greg Pickett in TA and Jack Wood in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series won the Motul pole awards in their respective classes and went on to finish 1-2-3, each taking the victory in the first event of the Golden Gate Challenge. JC Meynet also dominated his class, earning the top qualifying spot and win in the GT class.