For the second weekend in a row, XGT’s Will Rodgers took both the overall pole and the checkered flag in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Western Championship. Rodgers led flag to flag at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in his No. 42 Chris Evans Race Cars & Design Chevrolet Camaro, facing challenges from XGT competitor Erich Joiner but never yielding the point position.
Greg Tolson took the win in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series, his second victory of the season, and has taken over the points lead in his class. Meanwhile, after accumulating the most points between Sonoma Raceway and Laguna Seca, Brody Goble was the winner of the inaugural Golden Gate Challenge, marking the end of the Western Championship’s California run. JC Meynet continued his streak of victories, earning his third-straight win in the GT class.
Notes of interest
Rodgers has competed in only two Trans Am races and has won the race and pole in both.
All three XGT cars finished in the top five.
This was Tolson’s second win of the season and has put him in the TA2 points lead.
JC Meynet has earned the GT pole and victory in every race this season.
BMVSC TA2 series
Brody Goble set the fastest qualifying time for the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series in his No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford/Cortex Performance Mustang with a lap time more than a second faster than last year’s pole in the class. However, after taking the green flag, Greg Tolson in the No. 70 GT Auto Lounge Ford Mustang was able to advance from his second-place starting position, making the pass on Goble in the corkscrew on lap two. Tolson and Goble ran nose-to-tail for the remainder of the race, running nearly identical lap times for the entire 45-lap competition. Goble made a few attempts at the pass in the final laps, but didn’t have the position to close the deal, crossing the finish line just behind a victorious Tolson. Tolson earned his second win in three races and scored enough points to take over the championship lead.
“This feels amazing,” said Tolson from the podium. “First and foremost, I want to give all the glory to Jesus Christ, our Savior. This was a fun race. I was able to get [Goble] early on in the corkscrew. Man, Brody was on me the whole time. I want to thank Nitro Motorsports for setting the car up and getting me through the weekend. It was a tough start in practice. We lost power steering and went off and broke a ball joint, so it was a rough start. But we won, and that’s all I could ask for. I want to thank my wife and kids at home, my parents; thank you for letting me be here. What a race; I’m so blessed to be on this podium and win.”
Although he fell just short of the race win, Goble’s second-place finish earned him enough points to clinch the Golden Gate Challenge when paired with his third-place finish at Sonoma Raceway. In addition to a custom trophy, Goble was awarded $2,500 cash and a free entry fee for a future Trans Am event.
“Hats off to Greg, he did an awesome job today,” said Goble. “I lost the lead early on when he dove down inside while I was just behind Joiner, and he did an amazing job. He didn’t make any mistakes. I was hoping he’d burn the car down a little bit, but we just had the exact same pace all day long. We were turning pretty solid laps there. I had few looks on the last lap or two, but I didn’t know if it was going to work out or not, so I had to look at the bigger picture and I didn’t want to throw away this Golden Gate Challenge. I just didn’t have it today, but we did an amazing job and it was a fun race. Thank you to my team, Brown Bros. Racing, and Tim Brown for helping us get here and doing everything these last two weekends. Thank you to Cortex Performance, my wife, and my dad. A ton of people go into making this car go around the track. It was great to have a decent couple of weekends here. I’m super happy to have that Golden Gate Challenge trophy and hopefully we can get them next time.”
Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 series top five
1. Greg Tolson, No. 70 GT Auto Lounge Ford Mustang
2. Brody Goble, No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford/Cortex Performance Ford Mustang
3. Michael LaPaglia, No. 31 Papini’s Garage/F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang
4. Tim Lynn, No. 17 RoofOptions Ford Mustang
5. Barry Boes, No. 32 BCR/Accio Data Ford Mustang
After Will Rodgers’ scorcher of a qualifying lap earned him the Motul Pole Award for the second race in a row, he once again led the field from start to finish of the 45-lap race. He was not without his challengers, as both Erich Joiner and team owner Chris Evans showed incredible speed in the XGT class, and a pack of TA2 cars were hot on his tail for the duration of the race. Joiner, who started second in his No. 10 goodboybob Coffee Roasters/Tool Porsche 991 GT3 R, was right on Rodgers’ bumper until a low tire pressure alert went off in his cockpit on lap 10. Wanting to play it safe in case he had a tire going down, Joiner headed to pit lane and was quickly assessed. With no tire pressure issues, he hightailed it back onto the track, resuming the race from the 18th position.
With blazing-fast times, Joiner picked his way back through the field, setting the fastest lap of the race after reclaiming second place on lap 29. Despite his immense speed and ability to close the gap with Rodgers, Joiner ran out of time before he was able to make the pass for the lead. Rodgers’ team owner, Chris Evans, started all the way back in the 21st position, but was able to work his No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang up to fifth overall, taking third in the XGT class.
“This was my second weekend in this XGT car built by Chris Evans and his guys and Jeff Jefferson, and the thing is a rocket ship; big hats off to those guys,” said Rodgers in Victory Circle. “These XGT cars are 850-horsepower badass machines. I’ve been honored to drive this car the last two weekends, so thank you Chris. It’s been a lot of fun. The race today with Erich was a lot of fun. I was getting some lap times, keeping track of them and managing the gap, hoping that we would have a race towards the end. His car was definitely better in places than mine, but I’m happy to get the second win in a row.”
1. Will Rodgers, No. 42 Chris Evans Race Cars & Design Chevrolet Camaro
2. Erich Joiner, No. 10 goodboybob Coffee Roasters/Tool Porsche 991 GT3 R
3. Chris Evans, No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang
For the third-consecutive race, JC Meynet was the top GT qualifier in his No. 28 Killer Shrimp Racing Corvette. He easily held competitors Kevin Michaels and David Hampton at bay, leading the GT class from beginning to end to take the class victory for the third time this year.
“First of all, I just want to say thanks to my wife and my crew, they’re awesome,” said Meynet. “Thanks to my teammate, Kevin [Michaels]; we work on these cars at my house all the time, it’s just a garage project, but they’re really good. I just love racing. Trans Am is a great series; everyone is friendly, professional, and there’s good competition. What can I say? I’ve had a good run: three pole positions, three first places. So far, so good.”
1. JC Meynet, No. 28 Killer Shrimp Racing Chevrolet Corvette
2. Kevin Michaels, No. 98 Killer Shrimp Restaurant Chevrolet Corvette
3. David Hampton, No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 CS
Full official race results can be found here.
The Western Championship returns to the track next month at Ridge Motorsports Park, June 9-11.