Trans Am historical past echoes by means of the hills of Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma Raceway continues its lengthy historical past with the Trans Am Championship offered by Pirelli with its sixth West Coast Championship race over the previous 4 years.
The Trans Am Collection Introduced by Pirelli West Coast Championship competed at Sonoma thrice in the course of the pandemic-plagued 2020 marketing campaign, with veteran Greg Pickett profitable all three rounds from the pole in his Ford Mustang.
Rookie Nick Rosseno received the TA2® opener, whereas Salinas driver Thomas Merrill swept the doubleheader weekend final fall.
Simon Gregg received the XGT class within the opening 2020 spherical in a Mercedes-AMG, and claimed the TA West championship by profitable the 2019 race in a Corvette. Pickett and Merrill received the respective TA and TA2® lessons at Sonoma in 2018, the primary Trans Am competitors on the circuit in 14 years.
Through the years, Sonoma Raceway has hosted the Nationwide Trans Am Championship 24 occasions from 1969 by means of 2004. The circuit hosted each spring and fall races 5 occasions from 1982 by means of 1986. It was the positioning of the 1978 season opener, along with serving because the season finale in 1981 and 1982. Lots of the legends of American sports activities automotive racing have been winners on the circuit situated within the coronary heart of California wine nation.
Trans-Am’s first go to to what was then often called Sears Level Worldwide Speedway got here in 1969. Mark Donohue received his fifth of six races to spice up Chevrolet to its second consecutive producer championship. As well as, Donohue captured the unofficial driver champion for the second straight 12 months, though that title was not formally instated till the 1971 season.
Donohue didn’t have the quickest automotive that day, however the Penske Racing staff excelled within the pits. Parnelli Jones, driving the Bud Moore Ford Mustang, certified two seconds quicker than Donohue’s Roger Penske-fielded Sunoco Camaro. As well as, Donohue wanted to make three pit stops, to solely two for Jones. Nevertheless, the general time on pit highway for the Penske Camaro was 31 seconds quicker than Jones’ two stops. Donohue led solely the ultimate 11 of the 80 laps, beating Jones to the checkered flag by 2.17 seconds.
Darin Brassfield was probably the most profitable Trans Am racer at Sonoma, profitable 4 consecutive years from 1989 by means of 1992. His first Sears Level victory got here after an exciting race-long duel with Dorsey Schroeder. Brassfield was on the wheel of a privately entered Corvette, and he held off Schroeder by 0.17 seconds, the closest end in occasion historical past. Brassfield received the next two years in a Rocketsports Oldsmobile Cutlass, and made it 4 in a row in 1992 driving a Camaro owned by George Robinson.
“Sonoma has at all times been my favourite monitor,” Brassfield mentioned in a 2021 interview. “One, it’s my residence, and second, I’ve had a lot success there through the years. Each time I’m going there I’m desperate to win in entrance of all my mates. I tied Mark Donohue’s report with the 4 wins in a row there. For some purpose I’ve at all times excelled there, and it’s a really particular place for me.”
Tom Gloy additionally was a four-time profitable entrant. He drove his personal Ford Mustang to victory in 1981 and 1982, and fielded the profitable Mustang for Schroeder in 1995, and a Qvale Mangusta for Brian Simo in 2001.
Previous to his 4 Trans Am West victories, Greg Pickett was a three-time Sonoma winner in Nationwide competitors, driving his personal Corvette in 1978 and Roush Mercury Capris in each 1984 occasions.
Willy T. Ribbs additionally pulled off the hat trick, profitable in fall 1983 in a DeAtley Camaro; dash 1985 in a Roush Capri; and 1988 in a Les Lindley Camaro.
Two-time winners at Sonoma included Elliott Forbes-Robinson (U2 driving a Porsche 911 in 1969 and fall 1985 in a Buick); Wally Dallenbach Jr., who swept the 1986 races in Protofab Camaros; and Scott Pruett (1987 in a Roush Mercury MerkurXR4Ti and 2003 in a Rocketsports Jaguar XKR).
The latest go to for the nationwide Trans Am was in 2004, received by Boris Stated in a Ford Mustang.
Trans Am returns to Sonoma Raceway April 25-25 with a mixed spherical from the Trans Am by Pirelli West Coast Championship and the brand new Trans Am ProAm Problem. Observe www.gotransam.com/livetiming for stay timing and scoring all through the weekend.