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Trans Am Ready for Mid-Ohio Spotlight

The Trans Am Series is once more gearing up for the spotlight in preparation for the Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this coming weekend, Round 7 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship. Alongside NASCAR Xfinity and World Challenge, Trans Am will continue a legacy of road racing at one of the nation’s most treasured tracks with two independent Trans Am Races: the First Energy Muscle Car Challenge, presented by 3-Dimensional Services, a TA2 exclusive race; and the Next Dimension 100, presented by First Energy, featuring the TA and TA3 classes.

In total, 74 entries are confirmed for the weekend, setting the all-time record for Trans Am competitors at a single event, continuing Trans Am’s unprecedented growth throughout the 2015 season. Two of those entries, in particular, will draw the eyes of fans and fellow competitors alike with Amy Ruman, driver of the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, and Cameron Lawrence, driver of the No. 1 MOPAR Dodge Challenger, both holding the points lead for their respective classes, TA and TA2, entering the weekend. Both Ruman and Lawrence have been atop the charts since the first race of the season and each face their own unique challenges at Mid-Ohio.

Ruman enters Round 7 riding high after dominant performances throughout the year, with five wins in six races thus far in 2015—a streak that has drawn forth comparisons to Tommy Kendall’s historic 1997 season. Ruman, an Ohio native, is yet to capture a Trans Am victory at Mid-Ohio, her home track, but will look to amend that record and keep her hot streak alive. However, to do so she will have to overcome one of the deepest and most talented TA class fields in recent memory.

Joining Ruman in the TA class will be 17 other competitors, including the two-time defending Champion Doug Peterson, driver of the No. 87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette. While Peterson has experienced an off-year by his own high standards, he remains third in the points and within striking distance of the Championship—in turn, he has won the past two Trans Am races at Mid-Ohio. Peterson’s Tony Ave Racing teammate, Paul Fix, driver of the No. 4 StopFlex.com/TheCarCoach.com Chevrolet Corvette, poses a significant threat as well. Fix, the current points runner-up, will be targeting his sixth podium finish of the year as he aims to both increase his own championship credentials and knock Ruman off the top spot.

A cast of usual front-runners will join the aforementioned, including: Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette; Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates/Jetco Chevrolet Corvette; Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang; and David Pinatric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Chevrolet Corvette.

The toughest competition in the TA class may come from a pair of returning faces: Greg Pickett, in the No. 68, Flavor Insights Jaguar XKR, and Tomy Drissi, in the No. 71 Tony Ave Racing Chevrolet Corvette. Both drivers are former Champions, Pickett in 1978 and Drissi in 2009, and are more than capable of claiming a victory for themselves. If Pickett, a living legend of Trans Am, does grab the TA class win, he will become the first Trans Am driver to win races in five consecutive decades.

In TA2, Cameron Lawrence began the season in a similar fashion to Ruman, rattling off three wins in a row. However, the past three events, Lime Rock, New Jersey and Brainerd International Raceway, have all yielded different victors; as Lawrence and the No. 1 Challenger have endured a streak of poor luck, missing the podium in those three races. Still, the two-time defending Champion remains at the head of the point standings by a solid margin. However, in order to stay there the champ will have to dig deep against a base of 33 other TA2 competitors, may of whom will have a strong shot at challenging for the podium, including: Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 UniFirst PPG Ford Mustang; Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 Engineered Components Ford Mustang; Tommy Archer, in the No. 54 c3Controls Chevrolet Camaro; Tony Ave, in the No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing Ford Mustang; Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Bestline Lubricants Ford Mustang; and the duo of Gar Robinson and Shane Lewis, in the No. 74 and 72 74 Ranch Racing Chevrolet Camaros.

Andretti, in particular, will aim for a repeat performance from last year where he claimed victory in the TA2 class; likewise fans should keep an eye on Lawrence Loshak, driver of the No. 5 Raybestos Powertrain Loshak Racing Ford Mustang, who captured the TA2 pole last year.

Due to the sheer size of entries for the TA2 class, its competitors will once more feature in the TA2 exclusive Muscle Car Challenge, an independent race that highlights TA2’sever-growing competitive platform.

TA3 will also feature its largest field ever with 23 cars participating across the International and American Muscle Groups. Both defending Champions, Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Chevrolet Camaro, and Jason Berkeley, in the No. 67 BMG Management Chevrolet Corvette, will be in attendance; but they will be surrounded by a host of new faces to the class and Trans Am. Craig Capaldi, Steve Coleman, Spencer Caudle, Larry Funk, Bill Baten and Rich Rigda will all be making their Trans Am debuts as members of the Series’ production based class.

Francis currently leads the American Muscle standings with a 19-point margin over Todd Napieralski, driver of the Tremec/SKF/Backstreet Performance Chevrolet Camaro; however, Berkeley will need a solid showing at Mid-Ohio to help close a fairly large gap between himself and current points leader Lee Saunders, driver of the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper, who should once more be in podium contention.

More new faces will join Trans Am for the first time this year in the TA2 class as well, with both Carey Grant and Aaron Quine both ready for their 2015 debuts. The race will mark Quine’s second appearance with Trans Am at Mid-Ohio, as the state native looks to build on a solid fifth place finish with friends and family looking on from the stands.

Trans Am will officially begin the weekend at Mid-Ohio on Thursday, August 13 with a pair of afternoon practices with TA2 taking to the track at 1:30 p.m. ET and TA and TA3 on track at 1:55 p.m. Friday will commence with “Fast Five” qualifying beginning at 8:10 a.m. with the TA class, followed by TA2 at 8:45 and TA3 at 9:00. A second set of practices will then be held at 11:15 a.m. with TA2 first then TA and TA3 at 11:30. Those sessions will then be followed immediately by the second chance to qualify at 11:45 a.m. Trans Am will also host an open house at 12:40 p.m. with drivers available for autographs throughout the paddock.

Festivities for the FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge, presented by 3-Dimensional Services, will commence on Friday August 14 at 4:35 p.m. with the 101.96 mile, 45 lap TA2 race formally beginning at 4:45 p.m., concluding Trans Am activities for the day.

On Saturday, August 15, The Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy will begin pre-race ceremonies at 12:45 with the 101.96 mile, 45 lap TA and TA3 race starting at 12:50 to conclude Round 7 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship.

Fans can keep up with all the action throughout the weekend at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam. Live timing and scoring can be found at gotransam.com/live-timing.

How to watch:

All the Trans Am action from Mid-Ohio will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, with the Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy, featuring TA and TA3, airing on Saturday, August 29 at 12:00 p.m. ET, and the FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge, presented by 3-Dimensional Services, featuring TA2, airing on Saturday, September 5, at 10:00 a.m. ET.

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About The Trans Am Series:

The Trans Am Series, America’s Road Racing Series, began igniting the passion of motorsports fans across the world in 1966 and has been home to some of the greatest names in road racing. Today, Trans Am continues to honor its legacy, while challenging the status quo in racing, through meaningful racing platforms and a driver-oriented focus. The Trans Am Series is operated by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC (TARC), through a five-year agreement in which TARC oversees the management and marketing of the Trans Am Series. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides operations services to the Series.

Defending Champions include: Doug Peterson (TA), Cameron Lawrence (TA2), Ernie Francis, Jr., (TA3 American Muscle) and Jason Berkeley (TA3 International).

For more on the Trans Am Series visit www.gotransam.com, “like” Trans Am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam, or follow Trans Am on Twitter at @gotransam.

 

Source: Trans Am Series, www.gotransam.com

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