32-car field largest at Georgia track since 1999
When the Trans Am Series makes its 26th appearance at Road Atlanta on Sunday, November 3, 2013 for Round 9 of the 2013 Season, it brings with it a Trans Am field of a quality that Georgia-based fans have not seen in over a decade, not since 1999 to be exact. The Trans Am Series heads south will a 32-car entry, the third largest in Trans Am History at Road Atlanta.
And while a large Trans Am field will be a new and welcome appearance for the fans at Road Atlanta, it is not quite a new experience for Trans Am this year. 2013 has been full of decade-high car counts from venue to venue for America’s Road Racing Series, a consequence of the road-racing renaissance the Series is currently undergoing, fueled by three unique and expanding classes; TA, TA2 and TA3.
Yet, in the midst of the full fields, all eyes will certainly be drifting towards the #87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette of Doug Peterson. Peterson, the current points leader in the TA class, is on the cusp of his first ever Trans Am Championship, which would see him join the ranks of Dallenbach, Jr., Pruett, Sharp, Kendall and a multitude of other road racing legends. However, as Peterson stated earlier in the year, he is not one to simply count points or overlook a race.
“Points are points, you can’t focus solely on those numbers when you’re racing.” Peterson said. “You go out on track with the mindset of doing the best you can. You won’t take a major risk because you know you don’t need to, but you still want to race and you still want to win.”
Peterson currently holds a substantial lead over defending Champion Simon Gregg, in the #1 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and clinching the title looks far more probable than not, but this is Road Atlanta, and the famous road course always seems to have a surprise or two lined up for the Trans Am field.
In 2011, Amy Ruman won her first Trans Am race, becoming the first, and only, woman to ever claim a Trans Am Victory. In 2012, Simon Gregg, on the cusp of his TA Championship, was forced into the pits for the first time all season, only to recover just in time to secure the 2012 Championship. That same year, in TA2, Kurt Roehrig emerged from a packed TA2 field to win his first Trans Am race and become the 2012 TA2 Rookie of the Year. A year earlier in 2011, a relative unknown claimed third place in TA2—Cameron Lawrence. Lawrence is now the 2013 TA2 Champion.
Road Atlanta and Trans Am always seem to produce a show; and now with the Trans Am paddock full of drivers and cars alike, the show should only get better and better.
In the TA2 class, the Championship window has come and gone—slammed shut by Cameron Lawrence, who secured the 2013 TA2 Championship with his fifth consecutive victory, in the #11 Ctek/Motorstate/NorthStar/Bay Investments Chevrolet Camaro, in the class, a Series record. However, in doing so he left the battle for second and third on the year-end podium wide open.
Currently four drivers are within ten points of the number two spot, currently held by Bob Stretch and the #98 Fix Rim Mobile/Wheels America Chevrolet Camaro, and many more are conceivably within striking distance. Gregg Rodgers, in the #33 Pinnacle Autosport Chevrolet Camaro, is currently riding a three-race podium streak into Road Atlanta, and is only three points behind Stretch and is his biggest threat for runner-up honors in the TA2 class.
Finally, the race for Championships in TA3 is heating up in Trans Am’s newest and production based class, a return to the racing style under which the Series was born. Now the American Muscle Group goes head-to-head with the International Group, Porsches versus Mustangs, Camaros versus BMWs—it’s a mix of global and domestic performance as drivers and manufacturers alike compete for superiority.
In the International Group, David Seuss, in the #9 Northern Light Porsche 996, is on the cusp of claiming the group’s Championship; however, the path to year-end glory is not quite as clear cut for Chuck Cassaro and the #76 Cassaro Enterprises/StackData/Aeromotive/Metallica Ford Mustang.
Cassaro does currently lead the American Muscle Group in points but is facing a strong challenge from the #16 Carribean Food Delights Ford Mustang and Rob Bodle. After an unfortunate accident at Brainerd International Raceway two races ago, Cassaro is yet to get his car up to its former speed, leaving him vulnerable to Bodle and the rest of the TA3 field.
Trans Am will first take to the track for practice on Friday, November 1st at 11:30 am EDT, a second practice will take place at 3:15 pm later that day. Qualification will take place on Saturday, November 2nd at 1:00 pm EDT in preparation for the 101.6 mile Trans Am Race for Round 9 of the 2013 Trans Am Series at 1:00 pm EST on Sunday, November 3rd.