Matos magic in Monterey, takes Trans Am TA2 win
After dropping out on the MOTUL pole within the closing moments of Friday’s qualifying session, Rafa Matos was to not be denied in Saturday’s Trans Am SpeedFest TA2® race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Matos, driving the No. 88 3-Dimensional Companies Ford Mustang, handed native favourite Thomas Merrill to the within in Flip 11 to take the lead on the tenth lap, and fended off a number of challenges to attain his eleventh profession victory within the extremely aggressive Trans Am Sequence offered by Pirelli TA2 ® occasion. The move for victory earned Matos the ChillOut Transfer of the Race.
The 2020 Champion Mike Skeen completed second, with Merrill including to his profession depend of Laguna Seca podiums with a run to 3rd place.
In a wild Trans Am West Coast Championship race, Tim Lynn took the victory with a last-lap move within the No. 17 Roof Choices Ford Mustang. He positioned twelfth general within the 33-car area, which included 16 West Coast opponents.
The drama continued previous the checkered flag, as Matos’ Mustang belched smoke in victory lane after having engine points within the ultimate laps of the race.
“The final 5 laps, the water temperature began rising and the oil temperature obtained to 380,” Matos stated. “I began dropping energy, and I noticed Mike Skeen catching me. So I simply put my head down and I had a sufficiently big hole. Luckily, I saved a few of my tires and I used to be in a position to push within the corners.
“I used to be racing towards two champions on the market, these guys (Skeen and Merrill) are world class drivers, I’ve loads of respect for them they usually raced me exhausting and clear,” added Matos. “This can be a very emotional win for us. We’re honoring my cousin Mariana on the automotive. She handed away final month of COVID. That is my eleventh Trans Am win, tenth win with Peterson Racing Group, hats off to the entire crew. That is my first win at Laguna Seca, I really like this place. Right now was a great day.”
Defending TA2® champ Skeen squeezed by Merrill within the Corkscrew within the No. 1 Liqui Moly/Flip 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro within the closing laps to take second,1.409-seconds again.
“We obtained off to an important begin on this Liqui-Moly Flip 14 Distribution Camaro,” stated Skeen. “The Stevens-Miller Racing guys have been working actually exhausting this weekend to make some strides to make the automotive go faster. Luckily we put the automotive on the pole and obtained some factors for that. We tried to take it simple at the start to save lots of the automotive for the top however appears like we saved just a bit an excessive amount of as a result of we didn’t have fairly sufficient to catch Rafa (Matos) on the finish. I’m completely happy to be up right here, it was a great weekend for us.”
Merrill, a resident of close by Salinas, drove from third to the lead on the opening lap, slipping previous Motul Pole Award winner Skeen. He made a number of runs at Matos however got here up brief every time within the No. 81 HP Tuners/Mike Cope Race Vehicles Ford Mustang. Along with his tires beginning to fade, he fell again to complete third, 8.284-seconds again.
“It feels good to race at residence, particularly in entrance of my household and associates,” Merrill stated. “It’s all the time a pleasure operating this Mike Cope chassis. We obtained off to an important begin, we have been cruising there and the start. Then these guys (Mike Skeen and Rafa Matos) turned it up a notch. They actually took off on the finish.”
The race was slowed by three warning flags for varied spins on the best way to the 75-minute race time.
Ed Sevadjian backed up his spectacular fourth-place qualifying run by ending in that place within the No. 38 Massive Machine Vodka Chevrolet Camaro – lacking his profession finest end by one place. He managed to carry off rising star Sam Mayer over the closing laps. Mayer, driving the No. 8 M1-SLR/Fields Camaro, got here again from an off-course tour exiting Flip 6 halfway by the race to put fifth.
Double-duty driver Ken Thwaits took the Masters award in his TA2® debut, putting seventeenth general within the No. 71 Franklin Highway Attire Dodge Challenger. He used the race in preparation for the upcoming TA2® race in Nashville. Thwaits, the 2020 XGT titlist, may also compete in Sunday’s Trans Am occasion.
Within the West Coast Championship competitors, fast-closing Lynn handed Brad McAllister on the ultimate lap to take West Coast Championship honors. Brad McAllister – the 2019 Laguna Seca West Coast TA2® winner – positioned second within the No. 24 PortlandImplantDentistry.com Ford Mustang, whereas Jeff Holden accomplished the rostrum within the No. 11 Joe’s Racing/M1 Chevrolet Camaro.
Carl Rydquist, the defending West Coast champion, dominated the category within the No. 47 Racecars4Rent/Group Wholesale Ford Mustang, however spun late within the race and completed fifth.
Connor Mosack ran with the leaders early within the race earlier than a drive by the dust within the Corkscrew despatched the No. 28 Nic Tailor/FS M1-SLR/Fields Camaro by the pits. He returned to run with the leaders, though a lap down, and completed twenty third.
TA2® newcomer Adrian Wlostowski ran within the prime 10 within the No. 3 Hawk Efficiency/FA.S.T. Auto Camaro earlier than exiting with mechanical points.
The TA, XGT. SGT and GT class opponents qualify Saturday at 4:55 p.m. PT. The combined-class race is about for 45 laps (with a 75-minute time restrict) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. PT. (Watch Race Stay Right here)
The nationwide Trans Am Sequence offered by Pirelli subsequent travels to Connecticut’s Berkshire Hills for Lime Rock Park’s conventional Memorial Day weekend. The following TA2 ® race can be at scenic Lime Rock Park as a part of the standard Memorial Day weekend, operating on Monday at 1:15 p.m. ET. The TA/XGT/SGT/GT opponents race on Saturday at 1:20 p.m. ET.
The West Coast Championship may have one weekend off earlier than returning to motion at Thunderhill Raceway Park Might 14-16.