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Francis Jr., Boden and Funk Take Trans Am Wins at Mid-Ohio
Ernie Francis Jr. leads TA class
Ernie Francis Jr. leads TA class
The FirstEnergy Mid-Ohio 100, featuring the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Trans Am, SuperGT and GT classes, saw a dogfight at the front of the field for the entire 43-lap race Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. 

In the end Ernie Francis Jr. managed to keep Chris Dyson in his rear-view mirror to capture his second victory of the season. In the SGT class, Mark Boden took the green flag from pole and never looked back, opening a lead of over 23 seconds over second place Ken Thwaits before the race-ending yellow came out.

21 entries took the green flag in the TA/SGT/GT event, held in conjunction with the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Mid-Ohio. The first race on the Saturday card, the teams dealt with dramatically different weather circumstances than they had earlier in the weekend, with cloudy and cool conditions for the early-morning event. The field included a late entry – sports car legend Boris Said, making his 2019 series debut in the No. 2 SRI Performance Dodge Challenger that had arrived at Mid-Ohio late Friday.  

Pole sitter Ernie Francis Jr. started his No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang in the TA and overall pole position, looking to repeat his Mid-Ohio win of 2018. But Chris Dyson, winner of two straight TA class races and driving the retro-liveried No. 20 Thetford/Norcold Ford Mustang, would not allow Francis Jr. a moment of comfort on the tight, twisty and technical 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio circuit.

The duo fought hard throughout the race, with Francis Jr. able to post a three-second lead early, but Dyson came back mid-race with a succession of quick race laps as the pair separated from the rest of the field. Doug Peterson – pulling double duty this weekend in both TA and his regular TA2 drive – tried valiantly to stay in the fight but headed for pit lane on Lap 10 with a mechanical issue, handing third position to Adam Andretti in the No. 17 Engineered Components Co./Anchor Bold Chevrolet Corvette. 

On Lap 39, the GT class entry of Larry Funk (No. 64 Business Advisory Services Ford Mustang) went wide out of Turn 9 and hard into the barrier in Turn 10, leaving a significant debris field that could not be cleaned before the race end, with the checkered flag waving at the 65-minute mark. Ohio natives Amy Ruman and David Pintaric finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Said seemed poised for a charge through the field, climbing as high as fourth before mechanical issues placed him back in the field with a 13th place finish.

"I was pretty excited to see if we would get back to green flag racing,” said Francis Jr. “It would have been an awesome shoot out to the end. (Chris) Dyson and I were very close in our lap times. The lapped traffic held us up at the end. We had a really great race and our Ford Mustang was awesome. I can't thank everyone at Breathless enough, we were fasted in just about every session. The car was flawless all weekend, I’m happy about this win and it’s good for us in the points. I can't wait to take it to Road America.”

"We had a bit of too much understeer, so I was a little too conservative, “said Dyson, who set a new race record lap at 1:21.923 on Lap 34). “I thought I was going to give Ernie a good run there to the end since we were back and forth all weekend. We were so close and I think that is how this championship is shaping up. We will be neck and neck the entire time. We had a great car and we were quick all weekend. We can't wait to get to Road America now."

Meanwhile, the SGT race was a tale of dominance by Mark Boden in the No. 46 Beverage Flavors International Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, who held a sizable lead over Ken Thwaits in the No. 35 WilwoodBrakes/ FranklinRdApparel Audi R8 LMS. Neither Thwaits nor No. 44 Lemons of Love Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car driver Tim Kezman could post a charge at Boden, who captured his second win of the season.

"The car was absolutely on rails today,” said Boden. “The conditions to start the race were perfect. There are a few tricks to this place when the track is right. You have to focus on what you are doing and not what is going on behind. I love racing here - it’s one of my favorite tracks! The car was perfect to push as hard as I could to come home with championship points.”

Ernie Francis Jr. also takes home the Trans Am COOLSHIRT Systems Cool Move of the Race.

TA and SGT Class Results

198TA1Ernie Francis Jr / Southwest Ranches Fla.0.000s0.000s43
220TA2Chris Dyson / Pleasant Valley N.Y.1.2171.21743
317TA3Adam Andretti / Brownsburg Ind.4.0312.81443
423TA4Amy Ruman / Stow Ohio9.5105.47943
557TA5David Pintaric / Canfield Ohio1 Lap1 Lap42
659TA6Simon Gregg / Ponte Vedra Fla.1 Lap0.16142
719TA7Kerry Hitt / Harrisburg Pa.1 Lap6.39942
846SGT1Mark Boden / Winnetka Ill.2 Laps1 Lap41
935SGT2Ken Thwaits / Franklin Tenn.2 Laps1.75441
1044SGT3Tim Kezman / Franskville Wisc.2 Laps0.33541
1116SGT4Tom Herb / Barrington Ill.2 Laps2.18441
1255SGT5Milton Grant / Germantown Tenn.3 Laps1 Lap40
132TA8Boris Said / Escondido Calif.12 Laps9 Laps31
1464GT1Larry Funk / Oberlin Ohio12 Laps5:38.69931
157SGT6Brian Kleeman / Baltimore Md.18 Laps6 Laps25
1686TA9John Baucom / Wesley Chapel N.C.21 Laps3 Laps22
173TA10Doug Peterson / Bonita Springs Fla.34 Laps13 Laps9
189TADNSJeff Hinkle / Destin Fla.DNS
199SGTDNSChris Outzen / Sudbury Ma.DNS

TA2 Class Results

11TA240Marc Miller / Holland Mich.400.000-2.87540Dodge Challenger
22TA292Scott Lagasse Jr / St Augustine Fla.402.1952.1950Chevrolet Camaro
33TA288Rafa Matos / Boca Raton Fla.402.8750.6800Chevrolet Camaro
44TA281Thomas Merrill / Salinas Calif.4013.51010.6350Ford Mustang
55TA210Misha Goikhberg / Woodbridge Ont. Canada4014.0840.5740Chevrolet Camaro
66TA252Lawless Alan / Van Nuys Calif.4017.1163.0320Ford Mustang
77TA225Aaron Pettipas / Bedford NS CA4028.24611.1300Chevrolet Camaro
88TA231Elias Anderson / Driftwood Texas4038.1109.8640Ford Mustang
99TA297Tom Sheehan / Bow N.H.4038.8370.7270Ford Mustang
1010TA243Roberto Sabato / Toronto Ont. Canada4046.0557.2180Ford Mustang
1111TA283Alex Wright / Mount Vernon Ohio4046.6550.6000Dodge Challenger
1212TA212Brian Swank / Cumming Ga.4046.9710.3160Chevrolet Camaro
1313TA211Drew Neubauer / Austin Texas4058.36311.3920Dodge Challenger
1414TA287Doug Peterson / Bonita Springs Fla.401:14.26915.9060Ford Mustang
1515TA229Mitch Marvosh / Ventura Calif.391LAP22.3780Chevrolet Corvette
1616TA241John Cloud / Naples Fla.391LAP29.9480Chevrolet Camaro
1717TA232Barry Boes / Dripping Springs Texas391LAP0.7660Ford Mustang
1818TA260Tim Gray / Eden Praire Minn.391LAP10.9350Ford Mustang
1919TA228Riley Herbst / Huntersville N.C.373LAPS2LAPS0Ford Mustang
2020TA259Max Nufer / Wilwood Mo2547.49338.1110Chevrolet Camaro
2121TA29Keith Prociuk / Chicago Ill.2420.7470.8690Chevrolet Camaro
2222TA299Justin Haley / Mooresville N.C.2252.98227.2080Ford Mustang
2323TA277Dillon Machavern / Charlotte Vt.219.4490.7460Ford Mustang
2424TA226Ty Gibbs / Huntersville N.C.166LAPS4LAPS0Ford Mustang
2525TA269Aaron Quine / Wadsworth Ohio156.8220.8200Chevrolet Camaro
2626TA217Jacob Mosler / St Augustine Fla.1023.8960.2580Chevrolet Camaro
2727TA205Steven Lustig / Chester N.J.52LAPS1LAP0Chevrolet Camaro
2828TA200Jeff Wood / Athens Ohio---0.000-22.9700Diodge Challenger
2929TA224Brandon Jones / Mooresville N.C.---0.0000.0000Ford Mustang
3030TA234Christopher Bell / Norman Okla---0.0000.0000Ford Mustang

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