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

Pos No Cl PIC Driver Diff. Gap Laps
1 98 TA 1 Ernie Francis Jr / Southwest Ranches Fla. 0.000s 0.000s 43
2 20 TA 2 Chris Dyson / Pleasant Valley N.Y. 1.217 1.217 43
3 17 TA 3 Adam Andretti / Brownsburg Ind. 4.031 2.814 43
4 23 TA 4 Amy Ruman / Stow Ohio 9.510 5.479 43
5 57 TA 5 David Pintaric / Canfield Ohio 1 Lap 1 Lap 42
6 59 TA 6 Simon Gregg / Ponte Vedra Fla. 1 Lap 0.161 42
7 19 TA 7 Kerry Hitt / Harrisburg Pa. 1 Lap 6.399 42
8 46 SGT 1 Mark Boden / Winnetka Ill. 2 Laps 1 Lap 41
9 35 SGT 2 Ken Thwaits / Franklin Tenn. 2 Laps 1.754 41
10 44 SGT 3 Tim Kezman / Franskville Wisc. 2 Laps 0.335 41
11 16 SGT 4 Tom Herb / Barrington Ill. 2 Laps 2.184 41
12 55 SGT 5 Milton Grant / Germantown Tenn. 3 Laps 1 Lap 40
13 2 TA 8 Boris Said / Escondido Calif. 12 Laps 9 Laps 31
14 64 GT 1 Larry Funk / Oberlin Ohio 12 Laps 5:38.699 31
15 7 SGT 6 Brian Kleeman / Baltimore Md. 18 Laps 6 Laps 25
16 86 TA 9 John Baucom / Wesley Chapel N.C. 21 Laps 3 Laps 22
17 3 TA 10 Doug Peterson / Bonita Springs Fla. 34 Laps 13 Laps 9
18 9 TA DNS Jeff Hinkle / Destin Fla. DNS
19 9 SGT DNS Chris Outzen / Sudbury Ma. DNS

TA2 Class Results

Pos PIC CLS No Name Laps Diff Gap Led Make
1 1 TA2 40 Marc Miller / Holland Mich. 40 0.000 -2.875 40 Dodge Challenger
2 2 TA2 92 Scott Lagasse Jr / St Augustine Fla. 40 2.195 2.195 0 Chevrolet Camaro
3 3 TA2 88 Rafa Matos / Boca Raton Fla. 40 2.875 0.680 0 Chevrolet Camaro
4 4 TA2 81 Thomas Merrill / Salinas Calif. 40 13.510 10.635 0 Ford Mustang
5 5 TA2 10 Misha Goikhberg / Woodbridge Ont. Canada 40 14.084 0.574 0 Chevrolet Camaro
6 6 TA2 52 Lawless Alan / Van Nuys Calif. 40 17.116 3.032 0 Ford Mustang
7 7 TA2 25 Aaron Pettipas / Bedford NS CA 40 28.246 11.130 0 Chevrolet Camaro
8 8 TA2 31 Elias Anderson / Driftwood Texas 40 38.110 9.864 0 Ford Mustang
9 9 TA2 97 Tom Sheehan / Bow N.H. 40 38.837 0.727 0 Ford Mustang
10 10 TA2 43 Roberto Sabato / Toronto Ont. Canada 40 46.055 7.218 0 Ford Mustang
11 11 TA2 83 Alex Wright / Mount Vernon Ohio 40 46.655 0.600 0 Dodge Challenger
12 12 TA2 12 Brian Swank / Cumming Ga. 40 46.971 0.316 0 Chevrolet Camaro
13 13 TA2 11 Drew Neubauer / Austin Texas 40 58.363 11.392 0 Dodge Challenger
14 14 TA2 87 Doug Peterson / Bonita Springs Fla. 40 1:14.269 15.906 0 Ford Mustang
15 15 TA2 29 Mitch Marvosh / Ventura Calif. 39 1LAP 22.378 0 Chevrolet Corvette
16 16 TA2 41 John Cloud / Naples Fla. 39 1LAP 29.948 0 Chevrolet Camaro
17 17 TA2 32 Barry Boes / Dripping Springs Texas 39 1LAP 0.766 0 Ford Mustang
18 18 TA2 60 Tim Gray / Eden Praire Minn. 39 1LAP 10.935 0 Ford Mustang
19 19 TA2 28 Riley Herbst / Huntersville N.C. 37 3LAPS 2LAPS 0 Ford Mustang
20 20 TA2 59 Max Nufer / Wilwood Mo 25 47.493 38.111 0 Chevrolet Camaro
21 21 TA2 9 Keith Prociuk / Chicago Ill. 24 20.747 0.869 0 Chevrolet Camaro
22 22 TA2 99 Justin Haley / Mooresville N.C. 22 52.982 27.208 0 Ford Mustang
23 23 TA2 77 Dillon Machavern / Charlotte Vt. 21 9.449 0.746 0 Ford Mustang
24 24 TA2 26 Ty Gibbs / Huntersville N.C. 16 6LAPS 4LAPS 0 Ford Mustang
25 25 TA2 69 Aaron Quine / Wadsworth Ohio 15 6.822 0.820 0 Chevrolet Camaro
26 26 TA2 17 Jacob Mosler / St Augustine Fla. 10 23.896 0.258 0 Chevrolet Camaro
27 27 TA2 05 Steven Lustig / Chester N.J. 5 2LAPS 1LAP 0 Chevrolet Camaro
28 28 TA2 00 Jeff Wood / Athens Ohio 0.000 -22.970 0 Diodge Challenger
29 29 TA2 24 Brandon Jones / Mooresville N.C. 0.000 0.000 0 Ford Mustang
30 30 TA2 34 Christopher Bell / Norman Okla 0.000 0.000 0 Ford Mustang

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