Peterson Controls Trans-Am Opener

Doug Peterson (R) leads at the start

Doug Peterson and Cameron Lawrence ended 2013 on top as TA and TA2 Champions, and they began 2014 in the same fashion—with victories at The Earwood Classic, Round 1 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship.

The race began with 49 cars on grid, the highest since 1983, at Road America, as Trans Am legend Bob Tullius gave the drivers start. Peterson began on pole in the #87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette and shot out ahead of the pack during the first lap of the race. However, his lead dwindled as the course immediately went under a double yellow as the #72 Performance Driving Group/S.C.D.W. Ford Mustang of Michael Defontes caught on flame, the result of a ruptured fuel cell.

The race stayed under yellow for a total of three laps while safety crews dealt with the flame. After the restart Peterson once again jumped out to an early lead, but was tailed closely by the #23 McNichols Chevrolet Corvette of Amy Ruman. Ruman tailed Peterson closely, but Peterson slowly and steadily built up a lead.

Meanwhile Cliff Ebben in the #36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang edged in on Ruman, matching her move for move. After several attempts to pass the #23 car, Ebben finally made his move with seven laps remaining, overtaking Ruman for second position. The three leaders remained in that order for what remained of the race, with Peterson and Ebben continuing to build their respective gaps.

“We’ve got a lot of power with the pro motor guys, and all of the fellas at Tony Ave Racing know how to set up a car," said Peterson. “We made change after change after change this weekend—and I’m sure we’re going to have to make more changes next weekend—but we had the power and ran well, and I was patient. We had a good pace, and we ran that the entire time. It’s a great way to start the year."

Following the three front runners were John Baucom, in the #86 Baucom Motorsport/ Roadraceparts.com Ford Mustang and Simon Gregg, in the #59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, who rounded out the top five.

In TA2, defending Champion Cameron Lawrence, in the #1 Trick Titanium Chevrolet Camaro, started on pole and never relinquished his position—powering the Miller Racing Machine forward while building up an impressive gap.

Early in the race Adam Andretti, in the #44 Engineered Components Chevrolet Camaro, followed Lawrence closely but slowly began to lose ground until ultimately retiring due to transmission failure.

In the #25 Mike Cope Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Ron Keith, making his first ever Trans Am appearance, worked his way up through the TA2 field, after starting fifth. As Andretti pulled into the pits, Keith assumed the second place position, a spot he would defend against eventual third place finisher, and 2013 Rookie of the Year, Tom West, in the #56 Limrick Machine/ Treelaine Consulting Chevrolet Camaro. All three, Lawrence, Keith and West, would cross the line in that order.

“Miller Racing gave me a great car," said Lawrence. “They worked hard after a few mishaps in practice and improved the front end tremendously. It’s a great feeling to come out on top, especially with all the competition and cars we have out on the track. It’s always exciting to be racing with multiple classes on track; you have cars passing you and you’re constantly trying to pass cars. It’s what makes multi-class racing fun."

The recent growth in the TA3 class, Trans Am’s production-based class, resulted in a multitude of rookies placing on the podium and some of the best racing the TA3 class has ever seen. In total the TA3 American Muscle Group experienced six lead changes and was highlighted by the battle between Ernie Francis, Jr., in the #9 Breathless Performance Chevrolet Camaro, and Dean Martin, in the #52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang. The two battled back and forth for the lead throughout the race and crossed the line, side-by-side, with Martin just barely edging out Francis for the top place in the group and the TA3 American Muscle track record, a 2:16.180

Lee Saunders, in the #84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper, led the International Group for the entire duration of the race, pushing his car to the limit while setting a track record for the TA3 International Group, a 2:16.918.

Todd Napieralski, in the #39 Temec/SKF/ Backstreet Performance, Chevrolet Performance Camaro, finished third for the American Muscle Group while Russ Snow, in the #20 Carbotech Chevrolet Corvette and Mark Klenin, in the #62 Breathless Performance Aston Martin GT4, placed second and third in the International Group.

Trans Am will now head further south to Homestead-Miami for Round 2 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship on Sunday March 9th.

Results

Pos St. Class No. First n Last n Hometown Car Behind
1 1 TA 87 Doug Peterson(4) Bonita Springs/FL Chevrolet Corvette -0.000s
2 3 TA 36 Cliff Ebben(10) Appleton/WI Ford Mustang -4.765
3 4 TA 23 Amy Ruman(8) Kent/OH Chevrolet Corvette -10.341
4 5 TA 86 John Baucom(11) Charlotte/NC Ford Mustang -23.34
5 2 TA 59 Simon Gregg(13) Ponte Vedra/FL Chevrolet Corvette -27.094
6 8 TA 3 Kenny Bupp(12) Fort Lauderdale/FL Chevrolet Camaro -52.626
7 17 TA 57 David Pintaric(2) Canfield/OH Chevrolet Corvette -1:17.093
8 10 TA 66 Denny Lamers(6) Appleton/WI Ford Mustang -1:39.636
9 13 TA 3 Jim McAleese(R) Leesburg/VA Chevrolet Corvette -1:49.239
10 11 TA 75 Charles Wicht(R) Big Pine Key/FL Chevrolet Corvette -2:02.278
11 9 TA 15 Allan Lewis(3) New Dundee/ON Chevrolet Corvette -2:06.443
12 18 TA2 1 Cameron Lawrence(4) Windermere/FL Chevrolet Camaro -1 lap
13 14 TA 19 Kerry Hitt(12) Harrisburg/PA Chevrolet Corvette -1 lap
14 7 TA 18 Jon Leavy(11) Tamarac/FL Chevrolet Camaro -1 lap
15 23 TA2 25 Ron Keith(R) Shawnee/KS Ford Mustang -1 lap
16 22 TA2 56 Tom West(2) Standish/ME Chevrolet Camaro -1 lap
17 25 TA2 98 Bob Stretch(5) Arlington/TX Chevrolet Camaro -1 lap
18 30 TA2 73 Kevin Poitras(R) Toronto/ON Chevrolet Camaro -1 lap
19 39 TA3I 84 Lee Saunders(R) Lakeland/FL Dodge Viper -2 laps
20 37 TA3A 52 Dean Martin(R) Westland/MI Ford Mustang -2 laps
21 38 TA3A 9 Ernie Francis_Jr(R) Davie/FL Chevrolet Camaro -2 laps
22 44 TA3I 20 Russ Snow(R) Eden/NC Chevrolet Corvette -2 laps
23 42 TA3I 62 Mark Klenin(R) Denver/CO Aston Martin GT4 -2 laps
24 31 TA2 12 Geoff Fane(3) Queensland Austraila/ Chevrolet Camaro -2 laps
25 15 TA 6 Mary Wright(R) Clearwater/FL Chevrolet Corvette -2 laps
26 24 TA2 42 Kenneth Quartuccio(R) Wallingford/CT Chevrolet Camaro -2 laps
27 33 TA2 10 Mel Shaw(4) Voorhees/NJ Chevrolet Camaro -2 laps
28 45 TA3I 60 Tim Gray(4) Eden Prairie/MN Porsche GT-3 Cup -2 laps
29 20 TA2 97 Tom Sheehan(4) Bow/NH Chevrolet Camaro -2 laps
30 41 TA3A 39 Todd Napieralski(R) Chelsea/MI Chevrolet Camaro -2 laps
31 48 TA3A 61 Chris DeSalvo(R) Charlotte/NC Ford Mustang -2 laps
32 46 TA3A 76 Chuck Cassaro(3) Caledonia/IL Ford Mustang -2 laps
33 49 TA3A 28 Fernando Seferlis(R) Panama/ Chevrolet Camaro -3 laps
34 12 TA 51 Tom Ellis(R) Pompano Beach/FL Ford Mustang -3 laps
35 6 TA 4 Kurt Roehrig(6) Greensboro/NC Chevrolet Corvette Crash
36 21 TA2 2 John Atwell(3) Azle/TX Chevrolet Camaro Elect.
37 26 TA2 53 Franklin Lussier(R) Gary/NC Chevrolet Camaro Mech.
38 19 TA2 44 Adam Andretti(R) Brownsburg/IN Chevrolet Camaro Trans
39 16 TA 2 Henry Gilbert(R) Miramar/FL Chevrolet Corvette Mech.
40 29 TA2 48 Mike McGahern(2) Ottawa/ON Chevrolet Camaro -14 laps
41 40 TA3A 17 Steve Kent_Jr.(2) Frederick/MD Ford Mustang Mech.
42 32 TA2 95 Greg Socha(R) Richland/MI Chevrolet Camaro Trans
43 35 TA2 71 David Mazyck(R) Gainesville/FL Chevrolet Camaro Elect.
44 47 TA3A 16 Rob Bodle(2) New Bern/NC Ford Mustang Mech.
45 27 TA2 49 Nathan Stokey(R) Dover/OH Chevrolet Camaro Fuel Press
46 34 TA2 65 Allen Milarcik(R) New Philadelphia/OH Chevrolet Camaro Mech.
47 28 TA2 99 Joe Fitos(R) Laxahatchee/FL Chevrolet Camaro Mech.
48 36 TA2 72 Michael Defontes(R) Jupiter/FL Ford Mustang Fire
49 43 TA3I 43 Mickey Mills(3) Houston/TX BMW M3 Elect.
50 50 TA 29 Andrew Romocki(3) Toronto/ON Ford Mustang DNS
51 51 TA2 27 Jeff VanLierop(R) Olympia/WA Chevrolet Camaro

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