Doubleheader weekend puts podiums on the line as 2012 season comes to a close
For the third season in a row the Trans Am finale will be held at Road Atlanta as a part of the SCCA American Road Race of Champions. The event will run Friday November 2 through Sunday November 4 as the series holds the ninth and tenth rounds of the year in a double header format. Sunday’s race, will feature a season high number of entrants as Trans Am looks to end the year on a high note.
With 20 percent of the year’s points, 66, up for grabs the championship hangs in the balance. In the TA class Simon Gregg holds the current points lead. The son of Trans Am legend Peter Gregg, Simon has pulled off the remarkable this year and has yet to miss a podium this year, including two victories. Defending champion Tony Ave and Amy Ruman also have two victories each.
Gregg credited his success with the #59 Gregg Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette to going a total of 71 consecutive races without a mechanical failure.
“It’s a great job the crew has been doing, I’m so proud of the team and the work they do. They keep me in race, day in and day out. We’ll keep the streak going.”
If Gregg can hold on to his lead throughout the weekend, he will join a long list of Trans Am champions, including his father Peter Gregg. The only driver who is within reach of Gregg in the championship is Amy Ruman. Her 202 points fall short of Gregg’s 217 by 15, a deficit that could be overcome if Ruman and the #23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette can post a strong showing throughout the doubleheader as she did last year at Road Atlanta when she took first. Ruman is pleased to be in such position and will want to finish the year strong,
“It feels great, we’ve been right there all season and we finally we got it. It’s our first Trans Am win of the season and hopefully there’s going to be more. We’re in the mix for the championship and we’re going for it. That’s what we’re here for, wins and championships.”
That is not to say that a victory by two time defending champion Tony Ave or teammate Doug Peterson could not throw a wrench into Gregg or Ruman’s plans. After suffering an unprecedented streak of mechanical failures throughout the first half of the season, Ave opted to bring in a new #4 Lamers/PME Engines/RPX Chevrolet Corvette at Road America. He then proceeded to rattle off two consecutive victories with only a deflating tire toward the end of the second race at Brainerd International preventing Ave from potentially running the table going into Road Atlanta.
Doug Peterson has proven himself over the course of the season to be more than just another name on the entry list, fourth in the points, behind Ave who is in third. Ironically Peterson, in the #87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette, will be competing with Ave, his teammate, for the third spot on the championship podium. However, if Ave is able to have a good weekend he is capable of moving up to second place.
The TA field will also feature Allan Lewis, Rick Dittman, Andrew Romocki, Ian Patterson, Charles Wicht and Blaise Csida.
In TA2 the only driver in the way of a repeat championship for defending champion Bob Stretch is Trans Am veteran Pete Halsmer. Stretch has put in solid performance after solid performance, but in many ways Halsmer has served as the foil to the defending champ. Halsmer and Stretch have spilt every first place podium in the TA2 class this year, 4 for Stretch and 4 for Halsmer. However Stretch and the #06 Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair Chevrolet Camaro hold a commanding points lead due to Halsmer having to sit out Mid-Ohio due to back pain. If Stretch starts both races only Halsmer can catch him for the championship, but Stretch would have to do far worse than his traditional podium placement.
A large majority of the TA2 field are tightly compressed with only 8 points separating third place Michael Wilson (176) and fifth place Kurt Roehrig (168) with Tom Sheehan (171) in fourth. Wilson and his #08 Wilson’s Carpet Chevrolet Monte Carlo have four podium placements to their name and the New Jersey native leads all rookies in the points standings.
The TA2 field will also feature Mel Shaw, Shane Doles, Cameron Lawrence, Roger Reuse, Bobby Reuse, Chris Liesfeld, and Geoff Fane.
The GGT class will feature Tim Gray in his #60 Ryan Companies US, Inc. Porsche GT-3, Micky Mills in the #43 Mills Racing BMW M3 and points leader Chuck Cassaro in his Cassaro Enterprises/Midwest Council/Some Heavy Metal Band Panoz GTS. If Cassaro is able to start both races, the championship will be his.
The field will first take to the track at 11:30 a.m. for practice on November 2nd. A qualifying session will take place at 3:40 p.m. later that day to determine the starting line up for the first race, which will take place Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The results from Saturday’s race will be used to determine the starting line up for Sunday’s finale which will take place at 12:30 p.m.
The Trans Am Series dates back to 1966. Throughout the years, some of the greatest names in motorsports have participated in the Trans Am Series. Backdating the Driver’s Championship to the inaugural season, 30 different drivers took titles, with multiple Championships being won by Pual Gentilozzi, Tommy Kendall, Mark Donohue, Scott Pruett, Wally Dallenback Jr, George Follmer, Peter Gregg, Horst Kwech, Scott Sharp, Bob Tullius and Tony Ave.
The iconic Trans Am Series – America’s Road Racing Series – is operated by the Trans Am Race Company, LLC. Through a five-year agreement, the Trans Am Race Company manages the marketing rights to the series and is responsible for Trans Am Series public relations and promotions. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides event operations services to the series.