Ave paces Trans-Am Series entering Road America
The 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series heads to Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., this weekend for one of the most anticipated events of the season with a strong field ready to do battle on the legendary four-mile circuit on Sunday afternoon.
Fresh off his first career Trans-Am Series victory two weeks ago at Miller Motorsports Park, Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., leads the series back to Road America. Although he now makes his home in North Carolina, Ave is somewhat of a local favorite, as he was born in Hurley, Wis.
In addition to his victory at Miller, Ave also earned a podium result with a third-place run in the 2010 season opener at New Jersey Motorsports Park and has started from pole in two of the season's three races to date. Ave drives the No. 4 Tony Ave Racing/Pro Motor Engines Chevrolet Corvette and leads defending series champion Tomy Drissi by a 24-point margin, 357-333, with seven races still remaining on the schedule.
Drissi, of Hollywood, Calif., will climb back into the cockpit of his No. 5 RSR Jaguar XKR on Sunday afternoon looking for his second victory of the season. He won last month at New Jersey and finished second to Ave last time out. Drissi will make the 90th start of his Trans-Am career this weekend.
RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, heads to Road America looking to run his streak of podium finishes to four consecutive races. Lopez, who drives the No. 6 Disco 106/Goodyear/ECR Engines Chevrolet Corvette, is the only driver in the series to have scored top-three finishes in every race this season. He is currently third in the championship standings, trailing Drissi by just one point.
Daniel Ramoutarsingh, of La Romain, Trinidad, and Simon Gregg, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., also head to Road America looking to protect top-five positions in the championship standings. Ramoutarsingh, who drives the No. 9 Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR, is currently fourth in the championship with a best result of fourth at New Jersey. He leads Gregg, driver of the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, by just one point, 275-274. Gregg has finished fifth in each of the last two races.
After a strong 2010 debut at Miller in which he qualified on the front row and brought home a fourth-place finish, rookie Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., heads to Road America looking to build on that performance. He will once again drive the No. 81 Baker Manufacturing/Next Table Chevrolet Corvette for Agee Racing.
This weekend will also see the 2010 Trans-Am Series debut for a pair of local racers in Cliff Ebben and Denny Lamers, both of Appleton, Wis. Ebben won in his last Trans-Am Series start, which came in the 2009 season finale at Road America, and will be looking to repeat in the No. 36 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang. Lamers, meanwhile, finished sixth in his last series appearance – also last year at Road America – and he will debut a brand-new 2011 Ford Mustang this weekend.
Other series veterans to watch in this weekend's field are the only woman racer in Trans-Am, Kent, Ohio's Amy Ruman, who drives the No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette; Rick Dittman, of Lincolnshire, Ill., in the No. 24 RDE Chevrolet Corvette and John Schaller, of Fort Myers, Fla., in the No. 08 JRS Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. This weekend's field will include a total of nine series rookies.
Rookie Kyle Kelley, of Signal Hill, Calif., will make his second consecutive Trans-Am start in the No. Apex/Upracing.com/Jamison Chevrolet Camaro. Kelley also competed in the 2009 Trans-Am race at Road America.
Buddy Cisar, of Bellvue, Neb., is another rookie making his second career Trans-Am start in the No. 75 Mike's Classic Cars/Quaker Steak & Lube/NAPA/Speedway Graphics Chevrolet Camaro. Cisar's lone previous Trans-Am start came at Road America last season.
Jim Bradley, of Gaston, Ind., still qualifies as a Trans-Am rookie as he only owns three series starts. He competed at Road America last year and in 2005 and also raced at Mid-Ohio last year, where he scored a career-best 12th-place result. He will drive the No. Optical One Chevrolet Corvette.
David Fersthand, of Fort Worth, Texas, is another rookie with three previous starts. He made a pair or starts at Heartland Park Topeka in 2006 and finished a career-best seventh at Road America last year. He is entered in the No. 05 Fersthand Race Prepared Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Four drivers will be making their Trans-Am Series debut this weekend. Those drivers are Doug Harrington, of Kemah, Texas, in the No. 80 PinnacleAutosports.com Chevrolet Corvette; Terry Giles, of Loxahatchee, Fla., in the No. 85 Powerhouse Racing/ECR Engines/H20 Overdrive Chevrolet Corvette; Kevin Rich, of Round Rock, Texas, in the No. 85 Cleaning System Specialist/Databank Chevrolet; and Daniel Parr, of Muskego, Wis., in the No. 96 Creative Business Interiors Chevrolet Corvette.
Event/Circuit: Road America, 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course
Qualifying: Saturday, June 19 at 12:40 p.m. (CDT)
Green Flag: Sunday, June 20 at 1:00 p.m. (CDT)
Race Length: 23 laps (93.104 miles)
Media Notes: Results are available on the AP SportsWire, via e-mail and on the Internet at www.sccatrans-am.com.
Timing/Scoring: Live Timing & Scoring is available for all sessions though www.sccatrans-am.com.
Qualifying Lap: 2:05.981 (115.674 mph), Tony Ave, Chevrolet Corvette, 2009
Race Lap: 2:07.609 (114.198 mph), Jorge Diaz, Jaguar XKR, 2009
Closest Margin of Victory: 0.087 seconds, Klaus Graf over Paul Gentilozzi, 2005
Race Average Speed: 107.335 mph, Cliff Ebben, Ford Mustang, 2009
Year: Driver, Team Car
2009: Cliff Ebben, Lamers, Ford Mustang
2005: Klaus Graf, Rocketsports, Jaguar XKR
2004: Tom Kendall, Rocketsports, Jaguar XKR
2003: Scott Pruett, Rocketsports, Jaguar XKR
2002: Boris Said, ACS, Panoz Esperante
2001: Michael Lewis, Lewis, Jaguar XKR
2000: Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports, Jaguar XKR
1999: Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports, Ford Mustang
1998: Stu Hayner, White, Chevrolet Camaro
1997: Tom Kendall, Roush, Ford Mustang
1996: Tom Kendall, Roush, Ford Mustang
1995: Boris Said, Gloy, Ford Mustang
1994: Dorsey Schroeder, Gloy, Ford Mustang
1993: Scott Sharp, McCall, Chevrolet Camaro
1992: Ron Fellows, Gloy, Ford Mustang
1991: Scott Sharp, McCall, Chevrolet Camaro
1990: Tom Kendall, C&C, Chevrolet Beretta
1989: Dorsey Schroeder, Roush, Ford Mustang
1988: Scott Pruett, Roush, Mercury Merkur XR4ti
1987: Pete Halsmer, Roush, Mercury Merkur XR4ti
1986: Pete Halsmer, Roush, Mercury Merkur XR4ti
1985: Willy T. Ribbs, Roush, Mercury Capri
1984: Richard Spenard, DeAtley, Chevrolet Corvette
1983: David Hobbs, DeAtley, Chevrolet Camaro
1982: Jerry Hansen, Hansen, Chevrolet Corvette
1981: Monte Shelton, Shelton, Porsche 930
1980: Monte Shelton, Shelton, Porsche 911 SC
1979: Peter Gregg, Leven, Porsche 935 Turbo (Group 2)
Gene Bothello, Bothello, Chevrolet Corvette (Group 1)
1978: Greg Pickett, Pickett, Chevrolet Corvette 427 (Group 2)
Bob Tullius, Group 44, Jaguar XJS (Group 1)
1977: Race 1: Ludwig Heimrath, Heimrath, Porsche 934 (Group 2)
Race 1: Tom Bagley, Oftedahl, Chevrolet Camaro (Group 1)
Race 2: Peter Gregg, Brumos, Porsche 934 (Group 2)
Race 2: Bob Tullius, Group 44, Jaguar XJS (group 1)
1976: Carl Shafer, Shafer, Chevrolet Camaro (Group 2)
Don Hager, Hager, Chevrolet Corvette (Group 1)
1975: Jerry Hansen, Hansen, Chevrolet Corvette
1974: Peter Gregg, Brumos, Porsche Carrera
1973: John Greenwood, Greenwood, Chevrolet Corvette
1972: Warren Tope, Tope, Ford Mustang
1971: Mark Donohue, Penske, AMC Javelin
1970: Horst Kwech, Wetson, Alfa Romeo GTA (U2)
Mark Donohue, Penske, AMC Javelin (O2)
Year: Driver, Car
2009: Tony Ave, Chevrolet Corvette
2005: Klaus Graf, Jaguar XKR
2004: Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette
2003: Johnny Miller IV, Jaguar XKR
2002: Kenny Wilden, Chevrolet Corvette
2001: Paul Gentilozzi, Jaguar XKR
2000: Johnny Miller IV, Chevrolet Corvette
1999: Brian Simo, Ford Mustang
1998: Paul Gentilozzi, Chevrolet Corvette
1997: Dorsey Schroeder, Ford Mustang
1996: Tom Kendall, Ford Mustang
1995: Tom Kendall, Ford Mustang
1994: Scott Sharp, Chevrolet Camaro
1993: Scott Sharp, Chevrolet Camaro
1992: Jack Baldwin, Chevrolet Camaro
1991: Scott Sharp, Chevrolet Camaro
1990: Tom Kendall, Chevrolet Beretta
1989: Dorsey Schroeder, Ford Mustang
1988: Scott Pruett, Mercury Merkur XR4ti
1987: Scott Pruett, Mercury Merkur XR4ti
1986: Pete Halsmer, Mercury Merkur XR4ti
1985: PL Newman, Nissan 300ZX Turbo
1984: Bob Lobenberg, Pontiac Trans Am
1983: David Hobbs, Chevrolet Camaro
1982: Jerry Hansen, Chevrolet Corvette
1981: Monte Shelton, Porsche 930
1980: Greg Pickett, Chevrolet Corvette
1979: John Paul Sr. Porsche 935 Turbo (Group 2)
Bill Adam, Chevrolet Corvette (Group 1)
1978: Greg Pickett, Chevrolet Corvette 427 (Group 2)
Frank Joyce, Chevrolet Corvette (Group 1)
1977: Race 1: Peter Gregg, Porsche 934 (Group 2)
Race 1: John Huber, Chevrolet Corvette (Group 1)
1976: Carl Shafer, Chevrolet Camaro (Group 2)
Jocko Maggiacomo, AMC Javelin (Group 1)
1975: Jerry Hansen, Chevrolet Corvette
1974: John Greenwood, Chevrolet Corvette
1973: Warren Agor, Chevrolet Camaro
1972: George Follmer, AMC Javelin
1971: Mark Donohue, AMC Javelin
1970: Horst Kwech, Alfa Romeo GTA (U2)
Mark Donohue, AMC Javelin (O2)