SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. – official press release — Photo supplied —
Two names from Trans-Am’s past are now set to play a pivotal part in its future.
Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Steve Petty have announced their impending return to the Trans-Am Series, launching a new TA2 team 2015 season finale at Daytona in preparation for a full run in the 2016 Championship — the 50th Anniversary of the Trans-Am Championship.
Under the Steve Petty Motorsports banner, Dallenbach and Petty will form a two-car team with the aim of emulating the success they enjoyed previously in their Trans-Am careers. While one car will debut with Dallenbach at Daytona next month, Petty insists the team has their eyes set on 2016 and beyond.
“Daytona is essentially a test for us,” said Petty. “But I can’t tell you how excited we are to get back behind the wheel and racing in Trans-Am. Wally and I have been working on putting something together for quite some time now. We want to race together; and we’ve known that Trans-Am, and TA2 in particular, is where we want to be. In addition to the two car team, we’re in this for the long haul, we want to create a strong team platform that will allow us to field additional cars not only in TA2 but in the other classes as well.”
“We’re very pleased to welcome both Steve and Wally back to Trans-Am,” said John Clagett, President of The Trans-Am Race Company. “They’re both extremely talented drivers. I know this is something that they’ve been working on for some time, and they’ll make for an incredible addition in 2016 to what is shaping up to be one of the best Trans-Am seasons ever.”
Dallenbach, a two-time Trans-Am champion and one of the most celebrated drivers in Trans-Am history, joins with Petty to create a team that poses an immediate threat for the 2016 Championship. Together the two drivers combine for 71 starts, 34 top-five finishes, and 42 top-10 finishes — and while that success came from behind the wheel in the TA class, the two drivers now have their efforts entirely focused on TA2.
“As I’ve said before, I love the TA class,” said Dallenbach. “They’re some of the best race cars in the world, but we’re dead set on TA2. The way the class is set up, the platform, the rules package — it all comes together in a way that just makes sense. The fields are growing, the competition is getting tougher and tougher every year — it’s where we want to be, without question.”
“Both Wally and I have been watching TA2 very closely over the past few years,” said Petty. “He had the opportunity to race in a car once already last year at Daytona, finishing third — we both feel that the TA2 platform is where the sport needs to be going. In a way, it reminds me of the Trans-Am glory days in the late 1980s before the costs spiraled out of control. It’s a pure racing platform, driver versus driver, not budget versus budget. People are responding to that, the car counts keep going up, the racing keeps getting better — it’s making for an incredible Series.”
And while Dallenbach has his place in Trans-Am lore, for Petty a return to Trans-Am marks a chance to address some unfinished business.
“Wally’s a proven commodity and he’s won his Championships, but for me, I feel like I still have something to prove in Trans-Am,” said Petty. “I walked away from Trans-Am for a great opportunity and left a lot on the table. I don’t regret the choice I made at all, but this is a chance at going back and having a second shot at it all. We had so much fun back then, mixing it up with Jack, Scott, Darren and so many more. It was a great time to be in Trans-Am, but I’m confident that there’s something very similar coming right up in the future.”
“The timing is right for us,” said Dallenbach. “We both want to see Trans-Am return to the forefront of road racing, and in TA2 we think it’s well on its way. I’m just happy to be returning to what has always been my favorite series with a good friend in Steve. I’m excited for the finale at Daytona, but even more so for the upcoming 2016 season and the 50th anniversary of the series — we’re ready for quite a show.”
Steve Petty Motorsports will make its formal return to the Trans-Am Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 14, for round 12 of the 2015 Trans-Am Championship.
CREDIT: Steve Petty Motorsports via Trans-Am