Simon Gregg and Lawrence Loshak emerged victorious from their respective 100-mile Trans Am races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the First Energy Trans Am 100 and the Pura Vida Tequila Muscle Car 100 Presented by ETE Reman Transmissions, with both races constituting Round 6 of the 2016 Trans Am Championship. The two were joined in celebrations by Randy Mueller, in TA3, and Ernie Francis, Jr., in TA4, both in the multi-class First Energy Trans Am 100.
The Pura Vida Tequila Muscle Car 100 Presented by ETE Reman Transmissions
While second through sixth position in the 25-car TA2 field seemed in a state of constant flux, Loshak, in the No. 5 Pennzoil Platinum/ ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro, seemed in a class of his own. Loshak, who dominated the contest, started the race on pole, led every lap, fended off two restarts and set a new track record 1.26.889 lap on his way to capture his first career Trans Am victory in his 19th career start.
“I can’t praise the whole Mike Cope Racing team enough," said Loshak. “Jason, the head tech for my car, everyone on the crew, Pennzoil. The car was just fantastic. I didn’t have to slide around at all—the car was a spaceship this weekend. All weekend we’ve been fast, but we still had to drive the perfect race. It may have looked easy, but it wasn’t. I wanted to make my team proud and I wanted to make my sponsors proud—Pennzoil and ETE Reman who’s been behind me since day one. I’m just lost for words and so relieved because this first win has been tough in Trans Am. So finally we have that W and head home to Road America. Hopefully, we can repeat there and really climb up into the hunt for the championship."
Loshak, a five-time SCCA National Champion and Mark Donohue winner, is no stranger to victory elsewhere, but his win at Mid-Ohio represents something special for the Wisconsin native.
“It (winning) never gets old; they’re all sweet," said Loshak. “This has got to be up there. There are so many friends in here and the field is just so deep with names that I grew up idolizing, guys like Tommy Archer. Then there’s Gar Robinson, a defending champ, Shane Lewis. I never would have met Adam or Shane or Gar if it wasn’t for the Trans Am Series. I have to thank Trans Am, too—the whole owners’ group and the addition of Tony Parella. The future looks really bright in this series."
Tonis Kasemets, in the No. 03 Newman Wachs Racing Ford Mustang, joined Loshak on the podium, taking the second step in what was his first career Trans Am start. Kasemets began the race in second, fell as far back as sixth before making his way back up through the field.
The third and final step of the TA2 podium went to Justin Haley, in the No. 99 Braun Foundation Ford Mustang, who began the race also in third position, but also fell back early on, all the way to fifth position, before making the positions up through the final length of the race. Haley made a last corner pass on Adam Andretti for the coveted third position.
The TA2 top five was completed by Louis-Philippe Montour, in the No. 77 Speedlogix Dodge Challenger, and Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, in fourth and fifth, respectively. The final TA2 top ten featured, in order, Aaron Quine, John Atwell, Harry Steenbakkers, Gar Robinson, and Keith Prociuk.
Defending TA2 champion Gar Robinson leaves Round 6 with his points lead intact with 151 over new runner up Dillon Machavern with 136. Tony Buffomante falls to third position in the points with 129 while Justin Haley moves up to fourth with 124 and Louis-Philippe Montour also moves up to fifth with 119 points. Loshak leaves the round in sixth with 119 points.
The race saw two full-course yellows, from lap 14 to 16, to retrieve multiple cars off course, and laps 34 through 37, to retrieve the No. 07 of Jordan Bernloehr.
The First Energy Trans Am 100
For Gregg, driver of the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, the victory marks a return to the top step after a lengthy absence and marks his first win since Round 8 of the 2013 season at Virginia International Raceway. The victory is Gregg’s second at Mid-Ohio, his first coming in his championship winning 2012 season, and the fourth victory of his career.
“Simply, I needed a win," said Gregg. “It should help us out in the points quite a bit. I’ve had a few rough races this year and haven’t consistently been in the front— the crew did outstanding work this weekend and I’m so glad I got to pay them back with a win. This is a special track for me it’s, in my opinion, our most competitive track on the schedule—it’s so handling oriented, it keeps everyone together. You can’t just put your foot down and go along for the ride. Hopefully, this can be a springboard for us, just like it was in 2012."
Gregg began the race in third position, behind polesitter Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group/ Lamers Ford Mustang, and defending champion Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, but managed to capitalize on both drivers’ misfortune, with Ruman entering the pits only 2 laps in and Ebben following suit on the 16th lap.
Gregg was joined on the TA class podium by Ohio-native David Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V, who captured his second consecutive podium, buoying his championship credentials— propelling him into 2nd position in the Championship only 21 points behind current points leader Amy Ruman. Pintaric was also awarded The Coolshirt Systems Cool Move of the Race for his efforts moving up from sixth position on grid to second, including one of the final passes of the session over Baucom securing the second step on the podium.
John Baucom, in the No. 86 RoadRaceParts.com Ford Mustang, secured his second podium of the championship season and, including his invitational win in Detroit, third of the year. The TA class top five was completed by Kerry Hitt, in the No. 19 Advanced Composites Cadillac CTS-V, and Jim McAleese in the No. 03 McAleese and Associates Chevrolet Corvette.
In TA3 Randy Mueller, in the No. 08 Bizbloom.com BMW M3, secured his second win, and fourth podium of the year, despite starting fourth in the ten-car TA3 field.
“I didn’t get to qualifying in the way I wanted to," said Mueller. “I started in p4; it’s not where I wanted to be but it ended up working out well. At the start of the race, I got a nice, clean start and I actually just weaved up in between the guys. I feel like I was pretty good on the cold tires and then the race just kind of fell our way, managing traffic and then the yellow helped us out. We’ve been having a tough time this weekend. One of my teammate’s cars isn’t running properly; and my guys have been up all night, every night. So for us to be able to pull this off, I’m so happy for them. So thankful for our sponsors, Bimmerworld, Bizbloom, Red Line Oil, Performance Friction, and Motion Control Suspensions."
Mueller moved up two positions on the first green lap, then managed to pass Conor Flynn, in the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Automotive Porsche 997, for the lead on the second lap—a lead he would not relinquish. Flynn would hold second position as the field went under a full-course yellow for the first time; however, Mueller and Flynn stood as the only members of the TA3 field not lapped by TA traffic before the yellow flag—effectively making the competition for first a two-car race. Ultimately, Flynn would finish second for his fourth podium of the year.
Polesitter Randy Kinsland, driver of the No. 11 Crossroads Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, would secure third position on the podium, his second podium of the year. The TA3 class top five was completed by defending champion Lee Saunders, in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper, and Mark Boden, in the No. 47 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 997.
In TA4, Ernie Francis, Jr., continued his streak of perfection in the TA4 class from behind the wheel of the No. 98 Breathless Performance Ford Mustang. The win puts Francis at a perfect six-for-six in his pursuit of a third-consecutive championship.
“This has been a good season for us," said Francis. “We’ve had a really good, strong, consistent car every single race. We’ve had some pretty good luck so far this season; this makes it six wins in a row and that’s pretty impressive. We’re really hoping to try and make it a streak all the way to the end of the season. Tristan gave us a little bit of a battle today. Every time we cleared traffic, we were able to open a gap a little bit so we weren’t too worried. It really sucks what happened to him and his car out there and hopefully they can get out to the next race. We’re really hunting for this championship, and hopefully we can get it all done."
Francis was joined on the podium by Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Tremec/SKF/Backstreet Chevrolet Camaro, and Tristan Herbert in the No. 33 DC Prime Steak and Lobster/ Tilton Chevrolet Camaro, who finished second and third, respectively.
The race only completed 38 of the 45 slated laps, with the course going under a final double-yellow after the No. 50 of Paul Fix re-entered the track and was immediately collected by the No. 33 of Herbert and No. 12 of Todd Peterson coming around the corner in turn 11. With all cars immobilized and time already a factor from a previous full-course caution from laps 14 to 22, race officials checkered the race.
Trans Am will return to the track on Saturday, August 27, for Round 7 of the 2016 Trans Am Championship at Road America—the Trans Am 100, featuring TA, TA3, TA4, and the ETE Transmissions Muscle Car 100 Presented by Pura Vida Tequila.
|1||59||TA||1||Simon Gregg / Ponte Verde FL||Derhaag Motorsports/Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:23.713||33|
|2||57||TA||2||David Pintaric / Canfield OH||Kryderacing/Cadillac CTSÂV||38||01:24.319||27|
|3||86||TA||3||John Baucom / Waxhaw NC||Roadraceparts.com/BaucomMtrspts/Ford Mustang||38||01:24.693||26|
|4||19||TA||4||Kerry Hitt / Harrisburg PA||Advanced Composite Products Inc/Cadillac CTSÂV||38||01:24.444||23|
|5||03||TA||5||Jim McAleese / Leesburg VA||McAleese & Associates//Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:24.501||21|
|6||41||TA||6||Vincent Allegretta (R) / Hampton Bays NY||TASights&Sounds/Dr.Dave(Health)/Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:23.289||20|
|7||7||TA||7||Claudio Burtin / Atlanta GA||GoShare/Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:25.091||19|
|8||82||TA||8||Joseph Freda / Auburn AL||ERALab.com/Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:25.888||18|
|9||30||TA||9||Richard Grant / Germantown TN||Grant Racing/Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:27.498||17|
|10||23||TA||10||Amy Ruman / Kent OH||McNichols Co./Chevrolet Corvette||38||01:24.188||18|
|11||0||TA3||1||Randy Mueller / Miami FL||Bizbloom.com/BMW M3||38||01:29.202||32|
|12||95||TA3||2||Conor Flynn (R) / Eustis FL||Irish Mike's Automotive/Porsche 997||38||01:29.109||30|
|13||11||TA3||3||Randy Kinsland (R) / Whittier NC||Crossroads Motorsports/Chevrolet Corvette||37||01:29.042||28|
|14||84||TA3||4||Lee Saunders / Lakeland FL||Landsearch LLC/Dodge Viper ACRX||37||01:29.723||23|
|15||47||TA3||5||Mark Boden (R) / Winnetka IL||FallLineMtspt/Calypso/BevgFlvIntl/Porsche 997||37||01:29.905||22|
|16||36||TA||11||Cliff Ebben / Appleton WI||StumpfFord/McMahonGr/LamersRcg/Ford Mustang||37||01:24.174||19|
|17||98||TA4||1||Ernie Francis Jr / Ft Lauderdale FL||BetaTools/LiquidPerformance/Ford Mustang||37||01:30.772||35|
|18||5||TA3||6||Milton Grant / Germantown TN||SentrySelf/CourtyardByMarriott/Porsche 997||37||01:31.328||20|
|19||39||TA4||2||Todd Napieralski / Chelsea MI||Tremec/SKF/BackstreetPerformnce/Chevrolet Camaro||36||01:31.720||29|
|20||64||TA3||7||Larry Funk (R) / Oberlin OH||Business Advisory Services/BMW M3||36||01:32.831||19|
|21||4||TA3||8||Tim Kezman (R) / Franksville WI||FallÂLineMotorsports/Calypso/Porsche 997||33||01:31.303||18|
|22||50||TA||12||Paul Fix / Williamsville NY||StopFlex/CarCoach/ClassicTube/Chevrolet Corvette||30||01:23.923||14|
|23||12||TA||13||Todd Peterson (R) / Boulder CO||Peterson Machining Inc/Ford Mustang||30||01:26.449||13|
|24||77||TA||14||Tim Rubright / Kutztown PA||BlueKnobAuto.com/Ford Mustang||30||01:27.474||12|
|25||33||TA4||3||Tristan Herbert (R) / Ashburn VA||DCPrimeSteakLobster/TiltonMtrspt/Chevrolet Camaro||29||01:31.111||26|
|26||6||TA||15||Mickey Wright / Clearwater FL||Derhaag Motorsports/Chevrolet Corvette||27||01:28.614||11|
|27||07||TA4||4||Brian Kleeman (R) / Baltimore MD||DWW Motorsports/Ford Mustang||12||01:31.796||12|
|28||22||TA3||9||Mel Shaw / Voorhees NJ||Bay Commercial Group/BETA/Chevrolet Corvette||12||01:34.373||9|
|29||37||TA4||5||Rich Jones / Carrollton OH||JOMAC / Sparta Steel/Ford Mustang||11||01:35.714||11|
|30||53||TA4||6||Spencer Caudle / Johnstown OH||RotorSourceInc/SWCMotorsports/Dodge Challenger||3||01:37.589||10|
|DNS||08||TA3||DNS||Michael Camus / Miami Lakes FL||Bizbloom.com/BMW M3||0|
|1||5||TA2||1||Lawrence Loshak / Milwaukee WI||PennzoilPlatinum/MOMO/ETEReman/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:26.889||35|
|2||03||TA2||2||Tonis Kasemets / Mundelein, Ill||Newman Wachs Racing/Ford Mustang||45||01:27.601||29|
|3||99||TA2||3||Justin Haley / Winamac IN||Braun Foundation/Ford Mustang||45||01:27.942||26|
|4||77||TA2||4||LouisÂPhilippe Montour (R) / StÂDonat Que Canada||Speedlogix/Dodge Challenger||45||01:27.878||23|
|5||24||TA2||5||Dillon Machavern / Charlotte VT||Heritage Motorsports/Ford Mustang||45||01:27.675||21|
|6||69||TA2||6||Aaron Quine (R) / Medina OH||FirstEnergy/ECC/Spillfix/Procar/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:28.263||20|
|7||02||TA2||7||John Atwell / Azle TX||A&J Lab Portal/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:28.180||19|
|8||78||TA2||8||Harry Steenbakkers (R) / Ottawa Ont Canada||BCRacecars/OttawaWestDevelopment/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:28.581||18|
|9||74||TA2||9||Gar Robinson / San Antonio TX||PuraVidaTequila/74RanchResort/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:27.782||17|
|10||9||TA2||10||Keith Prociuk / Deer Park IL||HP Tuners/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:28.469||16|
|11||05||TA2||11||Steven Lustig (R) / Chester NJ||The Autosport Group/Ford Mustang||45||01:29.871||15|
|12||44||TA2||12||Adam Andretti / Brownsburg IN||ECC / Anchor Bolt & Screw/Ford Mustang||45||01:27.951||14|
|13||25||TA2||13||Ron Keith / Shawnee KS||CBRT / Piloti/Ford Mustang||45||01:29.025||13|
|14||48||TA2||14||Michael McGahern / Ottawa Ont Canada BC||RaceCars/OttawaSolarPower/Chevrolet Camaro||45||01:30.520||12|
|15||45||TA2||15||Allen Milarcik / New Philadelphia OH||TATruckingMcBridesHPEarthworks/Chevrolet Camaro||44||01:30.907||11|
|16||97||TA2||16||Tom Sheehan / Bow NH||LTK Insulation Technologies/Chevrolet Camaro||43||01:28.848||10|
|17||27||TA2||17||Hal Musler (R) Nashville TN||Musler Motorsports/Chevrolet Camaro||43||01:32.505||9|
|18||54||TA2||18||Tommy Archer / Duluth MN||ECC / KolarChev.com/Chevrolet Camaro||38||01:27.917||8|
|19||56||TA2||19||Tom West / Standish ME||LimerickMach/TreelaineWine/Mobil1/Chevrolet Camaro||36||01:29.569||7|
|20||72||TA2||20||Shane Lewis / Jupiter FL||PuraVidaTequila/74RanchResort/Chevrolet Camaro||32||01:27.933||6|
|21||73||TA2||21||Kevin Poitras / Newcastle Ont Canada||CBRT / Piloti/Ford Mustang||31||01:28.757||5|
|22||63||TA2||22||Tony Cook (R) / Hoover AL||Anesthesia Services/Chevrolet Camaro||31||01:35.285||4|
|23||34||TA2||23||Tony Buffomante / Naperville IL||Mike Cope Racing/Ford Mustang||22||01:28.086||3|
|24||07||TA2||24||Jordan Bernloehr / Lakeville MN||BCR/MillersOil/ProKart/AirJax/Chevrolet Camaro||12||01:28.146||2|
|25||30||TA2||25||Joseph Staurovsky (R) / Shelton CT||Last Chance Racing/Chevrolet Camaro||12||01:33.836||1|