Ragginger Stuns Trans Am Regulars, Snares Pole for Road Atlanta

Martin Ragginger (shown above) prevailed in a seven-minute qualifying shootout to capture the pole position for Saturday’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Atlanta SpeedTour race, the first half of a season-ending doubleheader at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Ragginger turned a fast lap of 1:19.557-seconds in the No. 17 Gin Amade Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Claudio Burtin. Chris Dyson briefly held the pole with a last-lap flyer of 1:19.969-seconds in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang, but Ragginger regained the top spot moments later as the sun began to set at the circuit.

It was the second-career Trans Am pole for Ragginger, who was fastest in his most recent Trans Am start, in 2017 at Road America.

“The session went fast with the situation that happened in the beginning,” Ragginger said. “I hit traffic and only had one chance on the last lap to get a flyer in. The team did an amazing job on the car. Everything was working great, I just had to bring it. Tomorrow we have 40 laps, we have a good car for the distance. I am excited to go at it Trans Am style.”

Dyson was confident in his outside pole start. The 2019 Trans Am Vice Champion won from the same position in 2018 at Road Atlanta.

“I was really glad we got the session in,” Dyson said. “It was looking a bit iffy there as we were losing daylight and the track was oiled down. The track workers got the oil cleaned up as best as they could and it was good to get at least a bit of a shootout out there. My starting position is ok for tomorrow. We won from there before. It’s my first time racing against Martin. There’s a lot of depth in the front end of the field this weekend, it will be a good race.”

The session was black-flagged for 35 minutes due to oil in Turn 10 from championship leader Ernie Francis Jr., who suffered a mechanical failure on board the No. 98 ZF Custom Concepts Ford Mustang. Francis Jr. enters the weekend with a 43-point lead over Tomy Drissi. The 22-year-old South Floridian is seeking his fourth-consecutive TA class title – and seventh Trans Am championship in his seven-year career.

“I don’t really know what happened today,” Francis Jr. said. “Right on the out lap, the car just blew a hole through the side of the motor in Turn 10. I can’t really explain it. I guess that’s just on par with 2020. We have a new motor going in for tomorrow. We are starting from the back, we are going to just cruise around, work on points and focus on locking up the championship.”

Boris Said, seeking his third pole in as many 2020 starts, qualified third at 1:20.285-second in the Weaver Racing Techniques/SRI Performance Dodge Challenger. He will be joined on the second row by Drissi, 1:21.336-seconds in Burtin’s No. 8 Lucas Oil Camaro. Justin Marks and Amy Ruman will share the third row.

The Trans Am 100-mile feature will open the day before the TA2® powered by AEM race takes to the track at 4 pm ET.

Mike Skeen gained another three points in his bid for the TA2® championship, winning pole with a lap of 1:23.507-seconds in the No. 677 Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro.

“The colder temperatures were great actually, it provided some great horsepower for us,” said Skeen, capturing his fifth pole of the season. “The lighting wasn’t too bad, I was just more concerned about the traffic. We had to get out there and get a pretty quick out lap and we started catching the back of the pack. That hurt a bit, fortunately, not enough to cause an extreme issue. I am happy to get through that session with no drama and kept the car clean. This puts us in the best position to keep the race clean tomorrow and sail off with the championship.”

Skeen now has a 48-point lead over Rafa Matos, who timed in second fastest, 1:24.327-seconds in the No. 7 Silver Hare Camaro.

Businessman/racer Franklin Futrelle made his Trans Am debut with a third-best lap of 1:24.424-seconds in the No. 58 B2 Motorsports Ford Mustang. The 2009 Formula Mazda National Champion, Futrelle is a veteran of open-wheel competition when his schedule permits.

Cameron Lawrence was fourth, with a quick time of 1:24.592-seconds in the No. 8 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang, followed by Edward Sevadjian (1:25.011-seconds) in the No. 38 Big Machine Vodka/Duntov Motors Camaro.

Ray Evernham qualified 22nd (in TA2) for his Trans Am debut in the No. 26 Mike Cope Racing Cars Mustang, running 1:30.162-seconds. A former modified stock car racer, Evernham was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame for his work as crew chief for Jeff Gordon’s Rainbow Warriors, and car owner for drivers including Bill Elliott.

Ken Thwaits led the XGT class, running 1:25.898-seconds to claim his fourth pole of the year in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 GT3 Ultra. The bonus points were enough to clinch the class championship, provisionally.

Justin Oakes finished strong to beat out the SGT title contenders with a last-lap run of 1:27.032-seconds in the No. 11 Droneworks Corvette. Oakes finished third in the recent race at Circuit of The Americas in his Trans Am debut.

“The oil and visibility really didn’t affect our performance today, it was sitting and waiting on the grid the extra half hour,” Oakes said. “We had to go from being sedentary to performing immediately, but we pulled it together. The car feels great. The track conditions cooled off quite a bit after the sun went down over the hill. All together today was a success. Tomorrow I am looking forward to racing with all the SGT guys. We all qualified pretty close together. I want to mix it up with the SGT class and just getting in some good, close racing with some talented drivers.”

Of the SGT championship leaders, Lee Saunders ran 1:27.201-seconds in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper, followed by Adrian Wlostowski, 1:27.235-seconds in the No. 97 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang. With the qualifying bonus points, Saunders enters the race with a six-point lead.

Billy Griffin scored his second-consecutive pole in GT, 1:35.017-seconds in the No, 14 Griffin Auto Care /Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang. With point-leader Tim Horrell missing the event, Griffin now trails by 15 points and can take the championship lead by completing half of Saturday’s race. However, he revealed that his Mustang has a broken part in its rear end which necessitated a long night for the crew for repairs.

“I was pretty confident that the track was going to be pretty good,” Griffin said. “We had a spotter watching the oil clean up, and he said the workers were doing a fantastic job. The oil didn’t hang me up as much as the cold weather. I am not used to racing in the cold. It took an extra lap for my tires to come in, so I couldn’t lay down the way I wanted to, one-two and done. We had to do one extra lap but it worked out the way we wanted. We have a broken part in the rear end so we are a little worried. We have the part coming in and we will be spending the night trying to fix it before the race tomorrow. We want to win, that’s what we came here to do. If we finish, we can win the points championship, but we want to win the race too.”

Saturday begins with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT race at 10:45 a.m. Eastern followed by the TA2® powered by AEM feature at 3:55 p.m. Eastern. The combined five-class finale will take the green on Sunday at noon Eastern. The grid for the finale will be set by fastest race laps on Saturday.

Qualifying Results

Pos No. Class PiC Driver Sponsor/Car Time Behind Gap
1 17 TA 1 Martin Ragginger / Wals Satzburg Aus Gin Amade Chevrolet Camaro 1:19.557 0.000s 0.000s
2 20 TA 2 Chris Dyson / Poughkeepsie N.Y. Plaid Ford Mustang 1:19.969 0.412 0.412
3 2 TA 3 Boris Said / Escondido Calif WeaverRacing/Techniques/SRIPerf Dodge Challenger 1:20.285 0.728 0.316
4 8 TA 4 Tomy Drissi / Los Angeles Calif Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro 1:20.716 1.159 0.431
5 99 TA 5 Justin Marks / Brentwood Tenn Trackhouse Chevrolet Camaro 1:21.336 1.779 0.620
6 23 TA 6 Amy Ruman / Stow Ohio McNichols Co Chevrolet Corvette 1:23.355 3.798 2.019
7 59 TA 7 Simon Gregg / Ponte Vedra Bch Fla Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro 1:25.597 6.040 2.242
8 9 TA 8 Jeff Hinkle / Destin Fla trgdatacenters.com/netdepot.com Dodge Challenger 1:28.678 9.121 3.081
9 30 TA 9 Richard Grant / Germantown Tenn Grant Racing Chevrolet Corvette 1:29.812 10.255 1.134
10 19 TA 10 Kerry Hitt / Harrisburg Penn Advanced Composite Products Inc Cadillac CTS-V 1:29.815 10.258 0.003
11 98 TA 11 Ernie Francis Jr / Southwest Ranches Fla ZF Custom Concepts Ford Mustang No Time No Time No Time
12 5 XGT 1 Ken Thwaits / Brentwood Tenn Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 GT3 Ultra 1:25.898 0.000 0.000
13 11 SGT 1 Justin Oakes / Houston Tex Droneworks Chevrolet Corvette 1:27.032 1.134 1.134
14 84 SGT 2 Lee Saunders / Lakeland Fla Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper 1:27.210 1.312 0.178
15 96 SGT 3 Adrian Wlostowski / Maspeth N.Y. F.A.S.T. Auto Racing Ford Mustang 1:27.325 1.427 0.115
16 24 SGT 4 Mark Brummond / Charlotte NC GarageDoorDr/DynamicAutoTune BMW M4 GT4 1:29.065 3.167 1.740
17 28 SGT 5 Lou Gigliotti / Princeton Tex G2 Performance Chevrolet Corvette 1:29.652 3.754 0.587
18 6 SGT 6 Carey Grant / Eads Tenn Grant Racing 2 Porsche 991.1 GT3 Cup 1:31.862 5.964 2.210
19 55 SGT 7 Milton Grant / Germantown Tenn Sentry Self Storage Porsche 991.1 GT3 Cup 1:31.971 6.073 0.109
20 14 GT 1 Billy Griffin / W. Palm Beach Fla GriffinAutoCare/Sheehan’sTowing Ford Mustang 1:33.137 7.239 1.166
21 86 GT 2 John Baucom / Charlotte N.C. BaucomMtrsprts/RoadRaceParts.com Ford Mustang 1:35.644 9.746 2.507
22 37 GT 3 Dan Schlickenmeyer / Williamsburg Vir GriggsRacing/BathCntyCollision Ford Mustang 1:37.869 11.971 2.225
23 26 SGT 8 Aaron Pierce / Fishers Ind LogicalSystems/SamPierceChevy Chevrolet Corvette 2:30.556 1:04.658 52.687


TA2 Qualifying Results

Pos No. Name Sponsor/Car Time Diff Behind
1 77 Mike Skeen / Charlotte N.C. Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Chevrolet Camaro 1:23.507 0.000s 0.000s
2 7 Rafa Matos / Boca Raton Fla Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro 1:24.327 0.820 0.820
3 58 Frankline Futrelle / Evans Ga Meco of Augusta/Greenville Ford Mustang 1:24.424 0.917 0.097
4 8 Cameron Lawrence / Windemere Fla 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang 1:24.592 1.085 0.168
5 37 Edward Sevadjian / Dallas Tx BigMachineVodka/DuntovMotors Ford Mustang 1:25.011 1.504 0.419
6 9 Michael Self / Charlotte N.C. HPTuners/MikeCopeRaceCars Ford Mustang 1:25.019 1.512 0.008
7 10 Misha Goikhberg / Woodbridge ON Canada BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro 1:25.457 1.950 0.438
8 96 Connor Mosack / Charlotte NC M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro 1:25.878 2.371 0.421
9 66 Jett Noland / Clermont Fla NolandsRoofing/CypressHunt/MCR Ford Mustang 1:26.153 2.646 0.275
10 48 Scott Borchetta / Nashville Tenn BigMachineVodka Chevrolet Camaro 1:26.659 3.152 0.506
11 87 Doug Peterson / Bonita Springs Fla 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang 1:26.778 3.271 0.119
12 71 Chris Durbin / South Park Penn Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger 1:26.847 3.340 0.069
13 61 John Paul Southern Jr / Westlake Ohio pittrace.com/SouthernMotorsports Chevrolet Camaro 1:26.874 3.367 0.027
14 81 Thomas Merrill / Salinas Calif Diehl-MerrillRacing/HPTuners/MCR Ford Mustang 1:26.876 3.369 0.002
15 97 Tom Sheehan / Bow N.H. LTK Insulation Technologies Ford Mustang 1:27.015 3.508 0.139
16 2 Aaron Pierce / Fishers Ind Sam Pierce Chevrolet Chevrolet Camaro 1:27.170 3.663 0.155
17 20 Michele Abbate / Las Vegas Nev BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro 1:27.367 3.860 0.197
18 32 Barry Boes / Dripping Springs Tx AccioData/SampsonRaceEngines Ford Mustang 1:27.408 3.901 0.041
19 23 Curt Vogt / Wallingford Ct Cobra Automotive Ford Mustang 1:28.288 4.781 0.880
20 17 Mark Brummond / Charlotte N.C. M1 Racecars Ford Mustang 1:29.231 5.724 0.943
21 16 Jim Gallaugher / Bellevue Wash MadisonDevelopmentGroup/MCR Ford Mustang 1:29.946 6.439 0.715
22 26 Ray Evernham / Moorseville N.C. Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang 1:30.162 6.655 0.216
23 57 Maurice Hull / High Point N.C. Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro 1:30.199 6.692 0.037
24 63 Bob Lima / Meadowbrook Penn Lima Company Chevrolet Camaro 1:30.973 7.466 0.774
25 12 Drew Newbauer / Austin Tex Berryman Products Ford Mustang 1:32.125 8.618 1.152
26 60 Tim Gray / Eden Praire Minn Ryan Companies US Inc Ford Mustang 1:37.335 13.828 5.210