Ave Goes Back-to-Back-to-Back in Trans-Am Series at Mosport Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., scored his third consecutive SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series victory and his ninth in the past 12 months in another dominating performance on Sunday at Mosport International Raceway.
Ave started his No. 4 Lamers Racing/Beebe Racing/Optech/PME Chevrolet Corvette from the pole position, exercised extreme caution on the initial race start under wet conditions and got a clean restart following an eight-minute red flag for a multi-car incident on the opening lap. As a result, he led every lap and cruised to a comfortable, 14.961-second victory over local racer, Blaise Csida, of Stouffville, Ontario.
It was Ave’s first career Trans-Am victory and tops off an outstanding run of victories since his first career win in the series last June at Miller Motorsports Park. It also allowed the defending series champion to extend his lead in the driver standings to 124 points, 525-401, over Simon Gregg, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with four of nine races now in the books.
“We had, I think, a much better car than everybody today, so we just had to kind of stay out of trouble,” Ave said. “The start was interesting. It was pretty wet on slicks and unfortunately some guys tore some stuff up, but during the red flag for that, it had dried up and the track was good after that. I just sort of drove around. We had tried some things that we hope will work for us in the future, so it was good from that standpoint. I’ve never won at Mosport before and I really like it here, so I’m glad I won.”
After scoring a career-best Trans-Am result of third in last year’s race at Mosport, Csida took another step up the podium with a second-place run aboard his No. 07 Gateway Racing Inc. Chevrolet Corvette after starting from the outside of the front row. The result capped a mammoth weekend for Csida, whose team fielded four Trans-Am entries and also participated in the three-hour “Sundown” endurance race on Saturday night at Mosport.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better result other than first place, but Tony is so fast and he’s got so much more time on the car than I do,” Csida said. “I’m lucky if I drive twice a year, so I don’t have the seat time or the experience. We’re working on the car. We are faster than we were last year, but we’ve still got a long way to go to catch Tony.”
After a tough start to her 2011 Trans-Am season, Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio, returned to familiar territory at Mosport with a third-place run in the No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette. It was the fifth time Ruman has matched her career-best result, which she established with a third-place outing at Road Atlanta in 2009 and equaled three times last season.
“We were battling,” Ruman said. “On the restart, I felt like I was a little quicker than those guys, but I just wanted to settle in and see how the track was, the conditions, but it dried pretty quickly. It’s my first time here in the Trans-Am Series. I raced here in the Pro Spec Racer Ford Series here in 2002, but it’s a little different and I didn’t really remember the track too much. I tried to stay with them, but I had a feeling them might get out in front of me a little bit.
“We were consistent throughout the race with our times, so I’m happy, especially coming back from such a tough race at VIR and another tough race at Sebring and I didn’t run Miller. I’m happy to be back in my third spot up here in Trans-Am. This year, we’re going to move up. I’ve got a good feeling. We’ve still got some good races left, so hopefully we’ll be in the top spot sooner or later here.”
Gregg came home fourth in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, snapping his streak of Trans-Am podium results at two. Series rookie David “Fireball” Jans, of Mundelein, Ill., overcame a punctured tire to score a career-best Trans-Am result of fifth. The performance also enabled him to move into third in the championship standings.
In the Trans-Am 2 (TA2) category, Bob Stretch, of Arlington, Va., collected his second straight TA2 winner’s paycheck in the No. 98 Wheels America Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Stretch nursed his ailing Camaro home over the final few laps to beat Bill Prietzel, of Hubertus, Wis., in the No. 32 Quality Auto Repair Inc. Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Stretch trails Gregg Rodgers, of Southlake, Texas, by 89 points, 367-278, in the TA2 driver standings.
“It feels pretty good to get a win after some of the struggles we’ve had with our car,” Stretch said. “It didn’t perform as well as it did at VIR last weekend, but my saving grace was I know the place fairly well. That made it. It was really a miracle it made it to the end.
“On the restart, it either blew some exhaust off or I think it blew a spark plug wire off and it was running on six or seven cylinders. That was the biggest problem. We’ve got a fuel starvation problem that we’ve got to solve as well, so between those two things, it really struggled.”
The three drivers involved in the opening-lap incident which brought out the red flag: Daniel Ramoutarsingh, of La Romain, Trinidad; Ian Patterson, of Petersburg, Ontario, Canada; and Elmer Shannon, of San Francisco, Calif.; all avoided injury in the incident.
Next up for the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series is another trip north of the border to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada on the weekend of August 5-7.
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada - Results from Sunday's 41-lap, 100.819-mile SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series Round 4 race at Mosport International Raceway, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. TA, (1) Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 41.
2. TA, (2) Blaise Csida(R), Stouffville, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 41, -14.961.
3. TA, (6) Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 41, -1:02.249.
4. TA, (3) Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 41, -1:16.614.
5. TA, (9) David Jans(R), Mundelein, Ill., Ford Mustang, 38, -3 laps.
6. TA2, (11) Bob Stretch(R), Arlington, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 37, -4 laps.
7. TA, (10) Jonathan Brett(R), Mt. Elgin, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 36, -5 laps.
8. TA2, (13) Bill Prietzel(R), Hubertus, Wis., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 36, -5 laps.
9. TA, (12) Greg Clifton(R), Toronto, Ontario, Chevrolet Camaro, 28, Mech.
10. TA, (7) John Baucom, Charlotte, N.C., Ford Mustang, 26, Mech.
11. TA, (4) Daniel Ramoutarsingh, La Romain Trinidad, , Jaguar XKR, 0, Crash.
12. TA, (5) Ian Patterson(R), Petersburg, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 0, Crash.
13. TA, (8) Elmer Shannon(R), San Francisco, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette, 0, Crash.
Time of race: 1 hours, 3 minutes, 07.255 seconds.
Average speed: 95.834 mph
Margin of victory: 14.961 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-41, #4 Tony Ave
Fastest race lap: #4 Tony Ave, 1:18.368 (112.959 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #4 Tony Ave, 1:15.952 (116.552 mph)