WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 12, 2009) – In just his third career Trans-Am start, rookie Jim Goughary Jr., of Jupiter, Fla., captured his first career Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am victory today at Watkins Glen International. Tomy Drissi, of Los Angeles, finished second and clinched the Trans-Am title in the process.
Goughary started second in the No. 72 Luna Sueno Tequila Chevrolet Corvette and battled Drissi most of the race. In fact, Goughary and Drissi were running nose to tail for the first nine laps until Drissi passed him for second, behind polesitter and early leader Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C. Two laps later, both Drissi and Goughary both advanced one position when Ave’s engine expired in the No. 10 McMahon Group/Pro-Motor Chevrolet Corvette.
On lap 19, Drissi’s lead had dwindled to less than a second. That’s when Goughary saw an opportunity to pass Drissi in the No. 5 James Cameron’s Avatar Jaguar XKR for the lead heading into the bus stop. Drissi protected the position and Goughary took to the escape road, rejoining behind the leader. On the next lap, Goughary attempted the same move, in the same place, and this time he made it stick. From there, Goughary cruised to a 4.453-second win over Drissi, averaging 108.530 mph in the 27-lap, 91.8-mile race and was also awarded the Flowmaster Star of the Race for his efforts.
“Never in a million years would I have guessed this,” Goughary said of his first Trans-Am win. “It is a dream come true for me. Ever since I was kid, I wanted to be involved in this series. I’ve been racing for 22 years and last year Jerry Lustig gave me an opportunity to drive this car. I’ve got to thank him. This was unbelievable.
“This race was like a roller coaster. I never really settled into second. I ran second for the first few laps and then Drissi caught me. It was really hard to keep him behind me. He was having an awful hard time finding a way to get by and I figured I wasn’t going to run too hard and ruin the tires for the end of the race. So, I thought I’d let him by and hope for the best at the end. He was going to get by me eventually anyway. And, then the motor went off song – something happened. So, I switched the ignition boxes. I moved over on the straightaway and pointed him by. I thought maybe we lost a cylinder. I looked at the oil pressure. I looked at the water temperature and everything seemed fine.
“After a few laps, he got about eight seconds ahead of me and I said to the guys on the radio that everything seems fine. They said you are maintaining eight seconds. I figured I could pick it up a lot, so I started to drive harder. I started to catch him by a second a lap. Then something happened to his car. He lost some horsepower or cracked a header or something. So, he was a sitting duck. With about eight laps to go, I got by him and I was just praying that the motor would hold together.”
Though Drissi finished second, he still clinched his first career Trans-Am title. This season, Drissi has one win, four podiums, and six top-five finishes.
“I really wanted to win at Watkins Glen,” Drissi said. “He [Goughary] came around the outside and I sort of short braked because I was cooked. Something went in the motor and we were just nursing it. Jim drove a good race.
“I’ve race against some of the best drivers in the world and to win the championship is just awesome. I feel like I can race with anybody now. It was just my time. The Rocketsports team knows how to win. I just want to thank everyone at the studios. I want to thank everyone at Rocketsports and I want to thank Muscle Milk.”
Driving No. 8 TRINRICO Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR, rookie Daniel Ramoutarsingh, of LaRomain, Trinidad, really had to work hard to earn his first career Trans-Am podium. Ramoutarsingh was entrenched in a race-long battle with fellow rookie and fourth place finisher Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio. Early on, Ramoutarsingh had a tough time getting by Ruman’s No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette. In fact, they swapped positions several times, but Ramourtarsingh got by Ruman for good on lap 17.
“It was really something,” Ramoutarsingh said of his effort after the race. “I was concerned when I first got here and drove around this place. I was like, ‘Wow this is most daunting track I’ve ever been to.’ I knew it was going to be a fight. But, I did not expect a fight like that. Amy Ruman and I were swapping places throughout the entire track. In every corner I can think of, we traded places. It was good clean racing. She is an awesome driver.
“I almost blew it once or twice. I got sideways a few times, but by the grace of God the car got straightened out. I am glad everything went the way it did. We had just enough car to finish the race. It was awesome.”
Simon Gregg, of Ponte Verda Beach, Fla., finished fifth in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette. Kenny Bupp, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., started 13th and finished sixth in the No. 3 Murray’s Speed & Custom/Hamilton Safe Chevrolet Camaro, earning the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
Edison Lluch Sr. (Chevrolet Corvette), Jon Leavy (Chevrolet Camaro), Jerry Kinn (Chevrolet Corvette) and Jordan Bupp (Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top 10.
Drissi clinched the Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series championship with 172 points, followed by Ave (133), Ramoutarsingh (96), Gregg (91) and Glen Jung (87). Jaguar also clinched the Manufacturers’ Championship despite being beaten for the first time in 2009, with 54 points to Chevrolet’s 35. Ford is third, with 10.
The Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series next heads to Road America for the season finale Sept. 19-20.
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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Results from Sunday's 27-lap, 91.8 mile Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Round Six race at Watkins Glen International, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps, distance behind winner and reason out (if any).
1. (2), Jim Goughary Jr(R), Jupiter, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 27.
2. (5), Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, Calif., Jaguar XKR, 27, -4.453.
3. (7), Daniel Ramoutarsingh(R), LaRomain Trinidad, Jaguar XKR, 27, -25.405.
4. (8), Amy Ruman(R), Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 27, -46.710.
5. (3), Simon Gregg, Ponte Verda Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 27, -52.822.
6. (13), Kenny Bupp, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 27, -1:26.520.
7. (9), Edison Lluch Sr(R), Lajas, Puerto Rico, Chevrolet Corvette, 26, -1 lap.
8. (14), Jon Leavy, Tamarac, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 26, -1 lap
9. (15), Jerry Kinn, Anchorage, Alaska, Chevrolet Corvette, 26, -1 lap.
10. (12), Jordan Bupp(R), Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 24, -3 laps.
11. (6), John Schaller, Fort Myers, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 17, Mech.
12. (10), Blaise Csida(R), Stouffville, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 13, Mech.
13. (1), Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 11, Engine.
14. (4), RJ Lopez(R), Santa Domingo, DR, Chevrolet Corvette, 9, DNF.
15. (11), Michael Skeen(R), Charlotte, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 0, DNS.
Time of race: 50 minutes, 45.047 seconds.
Average speed: 108.530 mph
Margin of victory: 4.453 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-11, #10 Tony Ave; laps 12-19, #5 Tomy Drissi; laps 20-27, #72 Jim Goughary Jr(R)
Fastest race lap: #10 Tony Ave, 1:50.126 (111.145 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #10 Tony Ave, 1:49.154 (112.135 mph)
Flowmaster Star of the Race: Jim Goughary Jr.
Sunoco Hard Charger: Kenny Bupp