Ave tops speed charts in Trans-Am Series practice at VIR Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., set the pace in today’s Round Three SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series practice at VIRginia International Raceway. RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Carlos de Quesada, Coral Gaples, Fla., were second and third, respectively.
Ave, the current Trans-Am Series Championship point leader, wasted little time heading straight to the top of the speed chart with a 1:48.814 (108.184 mph). Driving the No. 4 Lamers Racing/McMahon Group/Optech/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette, Ave only turned five laps during the 25-minute practice session due to less than ideal track conditions.
“The Rolex cars put a lot of mud on the track,” Ave said following practice. “So, we just wanted to go around and make sure everything was running okay, made sure the balance was good, and then we just stopped. But, I got some clear track so we were able to get a couple of good laps. We had a lot of cars on the track. If you didn’t catch open track, it was hard to get a good lap in. It was pretty slippery and muddy offline. I love this place. We run here a lot.”
Ave is a two-time pole winner at VIR and set the qualifying lap record in 2009 with a1:46.996 (110.022 mph). Ave is still looking for his first Trans-Am win at VIR. He has finished second in each of his last three Trans-Am races (2010, 2009 and 2002) at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course.
“I love to qualify,” Ave said. “I like qualifying more than the race. But, I want to win here. I’ve done three Trans-Am races here, led the most laps and finished second every time. I want to win the race for sure. But, qualifying, everybody knows I make a big deal out of that. I enjoy doing it.”
Lopez turned the second fastest time in his No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette with a 1:50.796 (106.249 mph). Lopez is the defending race winner from a year ago. He passed Ave on the last lap for the win.
Piloting the No. 22 Allegra Motorsports/Vitalz Jaguar XKR, de Quesada turned the third fastest time with a 1:51.348 (105.722 mph). After his performance in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, it appears that de Quesada is primed to capture his first Trans-Am Series win.
Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio, was fourth in the No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette with a 1:52.668 (104.484 mph), while Simon Gregg, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was fifth in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette with a 1:53.343 (103.861 mph).
J. Kurt Roehrig, of Greensboro, N.C., led the Trans-Am 2 (TA2) class with a best time of 2:01.794 (96.655 mph), followed by Gregg Rodgers, of Southlake, Texas, with a 2:06.730 (92.890 mph). Bob Stretch, of Arlington, Texas; J. Thomas Graham, of Clearwater, Fla., and Ricky Sanders, of Fayetteville, Ga., were third through fifth, respectively.
The second SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series practice session is set for 9:50 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, May 14, followed by Round Three at 6:15 p.m. (EDT). Sunday’s Round Three 31-lap, 101.370-mile race will begin at 1:30 p.m. (EDT).
1, TA, (4), Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:48.814, 108.184.
2, TA, (6), RJ Lopez, Santo Domingo, DR, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:50.796, 106.249.
3, TA, (22), Carlos deQuesada(R), Coral Gables, Fla., Jaguar XKR, 1:51.348, 105.722.
4, TA, (23), Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:52.668, 104.484.
5, TA, (59), Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:53.343, 103.861.
6, TA, (86), John Baucom, Charlotte, N.C., Ford Mustang, 1:53.591, 103.635.
7, TA, (18), Daniel Ramoutarsingh, La Romain Trinidad, , Jaguar XKR, 1:53.801, 103.443.
8, TA, (60), Ryan McManus(R), Westfield Center, Ohio, Ford Mustang, 1:54.379, 102.921.
9, TA, (00), Doug Harrington(R), Kemah, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:56.250, 101.264.
10, TA, (77), Glen Jung, Osteen, Fla., Mazda RX-7, 1:57.416, 100.259.
11, TA, (87), Doug Peterson(R), Rochester Hills, Mich., Jaguar XKR, 1:58.295, 99.514.
12, TA, (9), Jordan Bupp(R), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:58.546, 99.303.
13, TA, (28), Paige Alexander(R), Milton, Ga., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 2:01.168, 97.154.
14, TA2, (16), J. Kurt Roehrig(R), Greensboro, N.C., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2:01.794, 96.655.
15, TA2, (40), Gregg Rodgers(R), Southlake, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 2:06.730, 92.890.
16, TA2, (98), Bob Stretch(R), Arlington, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 2:09.044, 91.224.
17, TA2, (7), J. Thomas Graham(R), Clearwater, Fla., Ford Taurus, 2:15.894, 86.626.
18, TA, (70), David Jans(R), Mundelein, Ill., Ford Mustang, 2:19.197, 84.570.
19, TA2, (19), Ricky Sanders, Fayetteville, Ga., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 3:13.242, 60.918.
20, TA2, (53), Mel Shaw, , , , 3:35.188, 54.705.
21, TA2, (2), Ron Farris(R), Lynchburg, Va., Chevrolet Impala, no time.
22, TA, (3), Kenny Bupp, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, no time.
23, TA, (35), Bob Monette(R), Milton, Ga., Ford Mustang, no time.
24, TA2, (37), George Lutich(R), Palm Harbor, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, no time.
25, TA, (92), (R)Charles Wicht, Big Pine Key, Fla., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, no time.
26, TA, (99), Zach Monette(R), Milton, Ga., Ford Mustang, no time.
27, TA2, (07), Steve Dunn(R), Hanover, Pa., Chevrolet C6 Monte Carlo, no time