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TA2 Report from the Petit LeMans

I attended last Friday's Trans-Am race at Road Atlanta and very much enjoyed watching ALL the Big Noise cars, but because their rules evolved from our GTA-SE rules I paid special attention to the TA2 cars. Overall it was the best-attended TA race this year (30 cars took the green Friday afternoon) and there was some great racing in between the full-course yellows - five (5!) FCYs. And yes, I'm pretty sure the Pace Car led more laps than anyone else (including taking the checker first). <g>

Congratulations to Amy Ruman as the first EVER (in 45 years of racing) female winner of a Trans-Am race. She was very gracious on the podium while thanking her mom & dad for their support over the years and also saying this was the last race for that particular car - they had inked a deal on a new car just that morning!

Here are a few notes I made about the race:

There were ten TA2 cars (which is more than the total number of cars in some of the T/A rounds over the past two years) and there would have been at least two more but the Reuse Brothers couldn't get new body panels for their AR Camaros. Of those ten cars there were four 2010+ Howe-bodied Camaros (Bob Stretch, Mike Skeen, Tom Sheehan, Chris Liesfeld), three ASA Monte Carlos (Ricky Sanders, Bill Prietzel, Mel Shaw), an Impala (Cameron Lawrence), a Pontiac GTO (John Gary), and an Intrepid (Lee Arnold). All ten had LS-1 engines and all were on the series spec Goodyear 2560 tires. It would have been interesting to see how a restricted or traditional engined car would have compared over 40 laps, but it was not to be.

Best race lap for each TA2 driver:

 

  • Bob Stretch, Camaro - 1:28.417
  • Mike Skeen, Camaro - 1:28.640
  • Cam Lawrence, Impala - 1:30.672 (his first time ever at Road Atlanta!)
  • Mike Sheehan, Camaro - 1:31.179
  • Ricky Sanders, Monte Carlo - 1:32.949
  • Chris Liesfeld, Camaro - 1:34.179
  • John Gary, Pontiac GTO - 1:34.509
  • Lee Arnold, Monte Carlo -1:34.439
  • Mel Shaw, Monte Carlo - 1:39.054
  • Bill Prietzel, Monte Carlo - 1:39.434

 

Stretch, Skeen, Sanders, and Lawrence all led at one point or another during the race.

Only Skeen, Lawrence, Sanders, and Gary were running at the finish (in that order). Not sure what happened to Prietzel, but he stopped on the track on lap 2. Arnold and Liesfeld suffered from fuel pump problems (or maybe ECU problems - it's tough to tell on these new-fangled fuel-injected cars <g>), Stretch blew an engine, and Sheehan & Shaw were taken out by separate on-track incidents.

The Trans-Am website also has an article talking about their plans for 2012 and beyond. Trans-Am in general appears to have turned a very important corner, they are headed in the right direction, and reports are TA2 will continue to be part of the series going forward.

All in all it was an entertaining race. I'll go again when they're in the area...