Francis Jr. holds off Stated, Dyson, in two-lap Trans Am shootout at VIR
Ernie Francis Jr. held off Boris Stated and Chris Dyson in a two-lap shootout to win Saturday’s Trans Am Collection offered by Pirelli race at VIRginia Worldwide Raceway.
Stated began on the pole and led the opening 18 laps within the No. 2 Weaver Racing Dodge Challenger, however Francis received a run up the within on the entrance straight on lap 19, edged forward, and held on via Flip 1.
The No. 98 One South Florida Wealth Advisors Ford Mustang driver led the ultimate 13 laps, together with a inexperienced/white/checker end following a late incident, successful by 2.623s.
“Persistence was key in the present day from the beginning of the race,” Francis stated. “These vehicles are depraved quick round right here at VIR however it’s arduous to make a transfer with the aerodynamics of the Trans Am vehicles. After I noticed a gap, I shot the automotive in there, hoped it will stick and it did.
“It’s a very huge weekend with a doubleheader which suggests double factors,” Francis Jr. continued. “We are attempting to maximise what we have now right here and can attempt to do it once more tomorrow.”
forty fifth profession Trans Am win – twenty second within the premier TA class – for a dominant Francis Jr.
It was third victory of the marketing campaign for the six-time champion, and the forty fifth of his profession. Francis additionally tied Scott Pruett for fourth on the all-time TA record along with his twenty second total victory, and now trails solely Paul Gentilozzi (31), Mark Donohue (29) and Tommy Kendall (28).
Stated had gained in 2002 and 2018, and returned in a brand-new automotive constructed by Pancho Weaver. That automotive might be pushed in Sunday’s race by NASCAR veteran Paul Menard.
“It was the primary day trip on this newly constructed automotive,” Stated defined. “We now have a couple of issues to work on however after we eliminate the bugs, we have now a automotive that may be a winner. Ernie (Francis Jr.) did a implausible job getting by me in visitors. He gained in the present day honest and sq.. We had been dominant for the primary half of the race (however) I made a couple of errors that allowed some room to open up. It was simply a type of issues. Working this automotive for the primary time – it was a implausible automotive.”
Chris Dyson had a back-and-forth day within the No. 20 Plaid Mustang. Passing Francis in the beginning, he pressured Stated in the course of the early laps earlier than dropping two positions after being blocked by a backmarker. Dyson fought again, once more pressuring Stated within the closing laps earlier than ending third.
“VIR places on a implausible present,” Dyson stated. “I’m so comfortable we received the Trans Am vehicles again to this observe. The highest 5 had been nostril to tail all the time. It’s nice to have Boris (Stated) again and hats off to Ernie (Francis Jr.). If you run in visitors right here at VIR all of it comes right down to timing of when to make that cross. I’m excited we have now one other race right here tomorrow and I hope I can get the No. 20 automotive to the highest step tomorrow.”
The race was black-flagged twice. There was a short stoppage following the opening lap when Jeff Hinkle went off in Flip 6 within the No. 9 Dodge Challenger and broken the tire barrier.
On lap 25, Trans Am West level chief Matthew Butson went into the tires in NASCAR flip, with Tomy Drissi and Humaid Masaood additionally going off. With time working out, the clock was stopped to permit a green-flag end.
Amy Ruman completed fourth within the No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette, adopted by Simon Gregg. Tomy Drissi entered the race second within the factors and ran with the leaders early within the occasion within the No. 8 Lucas Oil Corvette. He misplaced a number of positions after going off on lap 18, although, however labored his method again to take sixth.
Ken Thwaits regained the XGT lead on lap 20 and went on to take his third consecutive victory of the season within the No. 5 Franklin Highway Attire Audi R8 GT3 Extremely. Erich Joiner handed Thwaits on lap 14 to take the lead within the No. 10 Championship Coffees and Software Porsche 911 GT3 R, however went in Flip 10 shortly after Thwaits regained the place.
Third consecutive XGT-class win for Thwaits’ Audi R8.
“A giant thanks to my crew,” Thwaits stated. “We crashed in qualifying within the rain that required a bit of labor. It was so good with the ability to race within the dry. We received begin however the yellows took away any benefit that we had. As common, I needed to struggle tooth and nail nevertheless it’s nice to come back away with the win in the present day.”
Lee Saunders led all the best way as much as the ultimate warning en path to his fourth SGT triumph of 2020 within the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper, however had his work reduce out over the ultimate two laps. Adrian Wlostowski made a number of challenges for the lead earlier than ending second for the third time this season within the No. 96 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang, adopted by Mark Brummond within the No. 24 Storage Door Dr./Dynamic Auto Tune BMW M4 GT4.
“It feels nice to get the win in the present day,” Saunders stated. “It was a troublesome race and we had a number of lead adjustments, particularly on that final lap. Adrian was in a position to get round me in Oak Tree however I used to be in a position to get a draft to get the spot again. Everybody drove very clear and VIR is without doubt one of the finest tracks within the nation.”
Together with his automotive broken in an accident throughout Thursday testing, Lou Gigliotti raced as much as second in his rebuilt No. 28 GT Efficiency Corvette. His day ended on the 14th lap, when he spun and stopped with a mechanical downside within the Oak Tree flip.
Griffin profited from Horrell’s DNF to take his first Trans Am win within the GT class.
Billy Griffin captured his first GT triumph within the No. 14 Griffin’s Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang. Tim Horrell led the primary half of the occasion in quest of his third victory of the season, however parked the No. 45 Breathless Racing Porsche GT4 Clubsport with mechanical points.
“Right now was my first Trans Am win,” Griffin stated. “The automotive was scorching, making it powerful, however I nonetheless had a ton of enjoyable attending to drive round VIR in the present day. Getting the win in the present day offers me a optimistic mindset going into tomorrow. We now have some harm to restore however fixing harm is much more enjoyable when I’m standing on the highest step of the rostrum. VIR is a implausible observe. Successful right here makes it one in all my favorites now.”
TA / XGT / SGT / GT RESULTS
On Sunday, all 5 Trans Am lessons will race in a 100-mile race to finish the distinctive VIR doubleheader.
Francis gained the TA pole for Sunday’s mixed occasion by advantage of turning the quickest race lap, 1m47.189s. He might be joined on the entrance row by Dyson, 1m47.488s. Different pole winners had been Joiner in XGT, 1m51.543s; Saunders in SGT, 1m55.625s; and Horrell in GT, 1m58.510s.
Sunday’s mixed race might be 100 miles with a 70-minute time restrict, set to take the inexperienced flag at 11:05 a.m. EDT. The race may have a divided grid, with TA, TA2 and XGT/SGT/GT having break up begins.
The race might be stay streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.