Trans Am heads east to Lime Rock Park
34 cars will feature in the multi-class 110.5-mile sprint format race.
SALISBURY, Conn. - As the Trans Am Series descends upon Lime Rock Park on September 20, it does so in the midst of the final stretch of the 2014 Trans Am Championship with vital final points in play at the Road Racing Center of the East, one of Trans Am’s historic homes.
34 cars will feature in the multi-class 110.5-mile sprint format race, the largest Trans Am field to visit Lime Rock since 1981, 33 years ago, when Greg Pickett claimed victory.
Last year’s race at Lime Rock had a touch of the bizarre, with heavy rains damping the weekend and the race conditions. The result was a dominant performance by the TA2 class with Bob Stretch finishing first overall, Cameron Lawrence second and Pete Halsmer third, showcasing the ability of the TA2 platform in wet conditions.
This year TA class drivers will hope dry conditions prevail and provide them the opportunity to showcase the real ability of their 850-plus horsepower engines. Included in that contingent will be the Tony Ave Racing duo of defending Champion Doug Peterson, in the No. 87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette, and Paul Fix, in the No. 4 Tony Ave Racing Chevrolet Corvette.
Peterson is currently in the midst of defending his championship, successfully at that. Peterson currently holds the points lead for the TA class with 233 points, a healthy margin over runner-up Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, who remains just within reach with 194.
Teammate Paul Fix, making his first Trans Am appearance on the year, is not in the Championship chase, but has put in strong showings whenever he has taken the driver’s seat in the No. 4— prime example being last year’s race at Lime Rock where he finished first in the TA class.
Peterson and Fix will not only be faced by competition from Ruman, but a cast of other TA class front runners will also be in attendance, including Simon Gregg, in No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang, and Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese and Associates Chevrolet Corvette.
TA2 will showcase an equally impressive competition with TA2 defending Champion Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 1 Miller Racing Dodge Challenger SRT, in the midst of his own pursuit of a repeat championship. Lawrence recently transitioned to the Dodge Challenger platform and, despite two shake down races for the platform, still holds the lead in the point standings with 228 and looks set to return to his winning ways after a strong showing at Brainerd International Raceway in Round 9.
However, Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 Engineered Components Chevrolet Camaro, is well within striking distance with three races to go. The Trans Am rookie currently has 214 points, just 14 off of Lawrence, and is hot off a win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and a third place finish at Brainerd International Raceway.
Likewise, Ron Keith, in the No. 25 Offsite Management Ford Mustang, is on a streak of his own, climbing the podium in his last three races with a third place finish at Road America, a second place finish at Mid-Ohio and a win at Brainerd International Raceway. Keith and Mike Cope Racing teammates Kevin Poitras and Brian LaCroix will all be in attendance and vying for podium placements.
Also featuring will be former TA2 Champion Bob Stretch, in the No. 98 FixRim Mobile Wheel Repair Chevrolet Camaro, who has a history of success on the Lime Rock track, winning both of the past two TA2 races at the track.
And in a final surprise for the TA2 class, Tommy Archer will be filling in for Tommy Kendall behind the wheel of the No. 11 Miller Racing Dodge Challenger SRT. A prior television comitment is keeping Kendall away from the Trans Am Series this weekend, but the former Champion is set to return next weekend at Virginia Internatioanl Raceway.
The TA3 International Group will feature Norm Betts, in the No. 82 Hoosier/ VP Fuels Chevrolet Corvette, who has closed the Championship gap on Russ Snow considerably, with Betts currently standing at 116 points. Also in attendance will be Jason Berkeley, in the No. 67 BMG Management Chevrolet Corvette, who currently holds third position with 109 points in the wide-open Championship chase.
The TA3 American Muscle Group will feature six entrants, showcasing production power manufactured within the United States, and what has been the Ernie Francis, Jr., show of late. Francis has won three of the past four Trans Am races in the American Muscle Group and now holds the Championship lead. However, two-time defending Champion Chuck Cassaro, in the No. 76 StackData/Aeromotive/Metallica Ford Mustang, is only 16 points behind Francis; and Todd Napieraslki, in the No. 39 Tremec/ SKF/ Backstreet Performance Chevrolet Camaro, is coming off a victory at Brainerd as well.
Trans Am will initially take to the track for practice Friday, September 19, at 11:40 a.m. EDT, followed by a second practice session at 2:50 p.m. and qualifying at 5:10 p.m. later that day.
The 100.5 mile, 67-lap race will take place at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday September 20.
As a part of Trans Am’s fan availability, the Series will feature a fan walk at 1:00 p.m. right before the race. Trans Am will also continue its practice of keeping the paddock open to fans throughout the weekend, allowing fans to get up and close with the drivers, cars and teams all weekend long.
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