Skeen earns pole, units new monitor document in Trans Am qualifying at Laguna Seca
Mike Skeen saved his greatest for final Friday in Trans Am SpeedFest motion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, capturing the TA2® Motul pole with a ultimate minute dash to the highest of the sheets for Saturday’s Trans Am Sequence offered by Pirelli occasion.
The defending TA2® champion tamed the historic circuit in 1:28.865-seconds, incomes his eighth profession pole (seventh in TA2®) within the No. 1 Liqui-Moly/Flip 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro. Skeen additionally broke the present TA2® monitor document (1:29.183-seconds) set in 2019 by Marc Miller.
Skeen will lead the complete area of 34 American muscle sports activities vehicles to the inexperienced flag at 1:10 p.m. PT Saturday for the 100-mile, 45-lap race on the two.238-mile circuit, with its 11 turns together with the enduring Corkscrew downhill plunge. (Obtain and subscribe to the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App for Dwell Stream)
“Thomas (Merrill) is de facto fast, that is his house monitor, and we knew in the present day was going to be powerful,” Skeen stated. “With all of the vehicles on the monitor, the visitors was going to be fairly large. We went out and set a conservative lap to actually attempt to save the tires, ready for the monitor to sort of filter somewhat bit. We bought a pleasant clear lap in on the finish to place it on the pole. The Stevens Miller Racing guys have been working actually laborious and I’m joyful to get the Pole Award with this Howe chassis. Hopefully we are able to preserve it out entrance tomorrow to place the Liqui-Molly Flip 14 Distribution automotive within the winner’s circle.”
Skeen shall be joined on the entrance row by 2018 TA2® champion Rafa Matos, whose greatest lap of 1:29.223-seconds got here halfway by means of the session within the No. 88 3-Dimensional Providers Ford Mustang. Matos pitted with sufficient time remaining to get in one other three laps within the 15-minute session, pondering he had the competitors lined.
“I think that tomorrow shall be a dogfight right here,” stated Matos. “On the final three laps I made a decision to pit to save lots of my tires. I assumed I had sufficient on (Thomas) Merrill and Mike (Skeen) however the monitor saved getting higher, cooler and quicker, then Mike was in a position to get us on that final lap. We’ve got to make some changes to the automotive and I’m assured that we are able to battle for a win.”
Merrill, born and raised solely 10 minutes from the monitor in close by Salinas, rapidly made himself at house. He shot to the highest of the timing chart, and reset his greatest lap twice, settling for a lap of 1:29.594-seconds within the No. 81 HPTuners/Mike Cope Race Vehicles Ford Mustang earlier than Matos – and finally Skeen – went even quicker.
“I don’t assume we had sufficient for Mike (Skeen) in qualifying, he did an excellent job placing a lap collectively,” stated Merrill. “Full credit score to Rafa (Matos) too, and the each of them for going quicker. Since our earlier periods, the monitor had gotten greasy and qualifying was the coldest monitor circumstances we’ve had, and that basically modified the sport. I feel the circumstances caught us out, however I do know now we have an excellent race automotive. Relying on the climate tomorrow, we’ll see who is robust and who isn’t. We’ve got an excellent automotive, I do know we’ll race nicely and we’ve confirmed we are able to win the race ranging from wherever on the grid.”
Merrill shall be joined on the second row by Ed Sevadjian, who had a greatest lap of 1:30.034-seconds within the No. 38 Large Machine Vodka Chevrolet Camaro.
Michael Self, Connor Mosack, Tyler Kicera, Sam Mayer, Adrian Wlostowski and Keith Prociuk rounded out the highest 10.
Carl Rydquist led the TA2® opponents within the Trans Am Sequence offered by Pirelli West Coast Championship, coming in twelfth total with a lap of 1:31.589-seconds within the No. 47 Racecars4Rent/Group Wholesale Ford Mustang.
“It was a unique tempo with the Nationwide vehicles right here,” stated Rydquist. “I wasn’t actually nervous about that till we bought out on the monitor and realized I simply didn’t have the chunk from the tires that we wished. We’re somewhat bit disenchanted in regards to the lack of tempo, but it surely was adequate to get us pole place on the West Coast aspect, so I’ll take it. It’s simply not the place we need to be when it comes to how a lot we’re getting out of the automotive. The automotive is about up for an extended race, so our objective for our first TA2 race with the Nationwide drivers is to come back house with a top-10 end total and first within the West Coast Championship.”
Jim Gallaugher was second among the many 16 West Coast opponents, 1:32.063-seconds within the No. 16 Madison Improvement Group Ford Mustang.
The Trans Am Nationwide Sequence final competed at Laguna Seca in 2019 with the West Coast Championship. Merrill took the general victory, whereas Brad McAllister, who timed fourth-fastest among the many West opponents on Friday, was the TA2® winner in that occasion.
The TA, XGT. SGT and GT class opponents swing into motion with opening apply at 11:50 a.m. Saturday, with qualifying at 4:55 p.m. The mixed lessons race for 45 laps (with a 75-minute time restrict) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. PT.
The Trans Am SpeedFest is just not open to followers however shall be stay streamed solely on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App. Obtain and subscribe right here: https://nagrasports.app.hyperlink/lIQjdAuxq7.