TransAm is a dead horse
Detroit. Two weeks ago in "The Line" I had this to say about the current state of the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am Series:
"Is there anything more pathetic than the current iteration of the once historically significant and highly-regarded Trans-Am Series? The SCCA's obsession with keeping this series going just so they can blather on about having the 'longest running road racing series' (or whatever they call it) isn't doing any favors for anybody - not for the competitors, the fans or the glorious memories of when the series was great - which was a long, long time ago. There is just too much competition, especially with the ALMS GT2 class being as hot as it is right now. Memo to the SCCA: Mothball the Trans-Am. It's best to put it to sleep so as not to sully the memory of one of the greatest road racing series this country has ever seen. And unless you can convince at least four - count em', at least four - manufacturers to make a three-year commitment to resurrect the series, then let it rest in peace."
Last Saturday Tony Ave won what the SCCA is insisting on calling a Trans-Am race at Lime Rock Park. Besides Ave there were four other competitors. That's right, a total of five entries made up the "field" for a Trans-Am race. And to make matters worse, two of the five entries didn't even finish the race. The SCCA is quietly going about its business pretending that this is perfectly acceptable, hoping that no one will notice what a flat-out disgrace this is to the memory of one of the greatest road racing series this country has ever produced, not to mention to the sport itself. Unfortunately it's a little too late for that, because everyone within earshot of the sport knows damn well what's going on and not only is it disgraceful, it's disgusting on top of it.
We all knew there was trouble when a press release came over the Internet on June 30th announcing that any current SCCA Club Racing GT-1 competitor who agrees to run at least two of the remaining five Trans-Am races would receive a free entry to the 2010 National Championship Runoffs at Road America on Sept. 20-26. Meaning that the SCCA was willing to blow-up its own "qualifying" requirement for the Runoffs if any GT-1 competitor was willing to run in two Trans-Am races. That's desperation, folks.
Well, it's time for the charade to stop. The powers that be in the SCCA need to understand that this isn't a case of gamely attempting to keep a great series alive, it's just the opposite in fact. What these people are doing is besmirching one of the greatest road racing legacies ever created on this continent, and every event that they stage in the name of "Trans-Am" is destroying that legacy one painfully embarrassing "race" at a time.
And whatever constitutes the so-called "vision" that the SCCA management is bringing to bear on this situation is inconsequential, because they're clearly over matched and the result is an ongoing train wreck that's contributing to a burgeoning debacle of incalculable proportion. Their thinking defies all logic, is woefully misguided, wildly inappropriate and utterly indefensible at this juncture.
The bottom line is that there's simply no glory in what they're doing and there is no nobility in carrying on this sham one more minute.
Let's leave the "glory days" of the peak of the Trans-Am series right where they belong: Tucked away in our memory banks with an occasional glimpse only fleetingly coming to life at a particularly well-attended vintage racing weekend.
It was another time and another glorious era. And the memories of that era - and the Trans-Am Series itself - deserve so much better. AutoExtrmeist.com