DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official series release — Chris Clark photo —
As the Trans-Am Series prepares for Bullet Liner Championship Weekend at Daytona Int’l Speedway, the final round of the 2015 Trans-Am Championship this Saturday, all eyes will be firmly fixed on Amy Ruman and Cameron Lawrence.
Both enter the final race of the year with their class points lead and the potential to make history in their own way on the 3.56 mile “roval” track configuration and among the 69-car Trans-Am entry list.
For Ruman, Daytona represents the chance to come full circle, to cap off what has been an otherwise dream season — seven wins in eleven races so far — and secure the 2015 TA class Championship. At the 2011 Trans-Am season finale, Ruman became the first woman to win a Trans-Am race; if she is able to hold off Paul Fix, the only other driver in title contention, and secure the Championship, Ruman will continue her history-making career and become the first woman to win a Trans-Am title and one of the few women to win a major motorsports Championship. A win would be a fitting way to end an already history making season for Ruman and her family-based team — one that has had a presence in the Trans-Am paddock since her father, Bob Ruman, made his debut in 1996.
To secure her dream, Ruman will defend her points lead against a 16-car TA class field at Daytona and challenger Paul Fix, driver of the No. 4 StopFlex.com/The Car Coach.com Chevrolet Corvette, the only driver other than Ruman with a chance at securing the Championship. Together the two drivers have won all but one race this year; and while Fix’s mechanical misfortune may have dealt him a major blow in his title hopes, the two drivers are set for one more decisive battle to close out the year at Daytona.
Other names in the field include drivers currently in the midst of their own points battle for the third and final spot on the 2015 Championship podium. As of the start of the Daytona Weekend, John Bacuom, Doug Peterson, and Jim McAleese are all still in contention for the coveted position, which is currently occupied by Baucom. Both Peterson and McAleese will have to bring home one of their best performances of the year to stand a chance at the year-end TA class podium.
Just as Ruman stands to make history at Daytona, so does Cameron Lawrence as he attempts to join Tommy Kendall as the only Trans-Am driver to win three consecutive Trans-Am Championships. Lawrence, the current two-time defending TA2 Champion, enters the weekend with a 13 point lead on Gar Robinson, driver of the No. 74 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, and a 19 point lead on Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 Engineered Components Chevrolet Camaro — the only two viable challengers to Lawrence’s crown. While the advantage is still firmly Lawrence’s, both Robinson and Andretti are well within striking distanc; but they will need very strong performances to upset the defending Champ and claim the top step for themselves.
In addition, Lawrence will be faced with a 30-car TA2 field, with multiple drivers capable of winning the race out right, with names like Lawrence Loshak, Dillon Machavern, Tony Buffomante, Tommy Archer, Tony Ave, and Kevin Poitras all in attendance. In short, Lawrence will be faced with a true challenge, but one that if overcome will solidify his spot in Trans-Am lore.
One man with his spot already secure will be making his return to the Trans-Am Series this weekend, Wally Dallenbach Jr., who won consecutive Trans-Am Championships in 1985 and 1986 — becoming the youngest Champion in Trans-Am Series history, a mark Lawrence himself held when he won the TA2 Championship in 2013. (Ernie Francis Jr., now holds the record.) Dallenbach also competed at Daytona last year finishing third; this time Daytona represents the start of an ongoing TA2 program for the 2016 season with teammate and Trans-Am veteran Steve Petty.
Trans-Am will also feature a 23-car TA3 class entry with both the American Muscle Group and International Group in attendance for the Series’ production-based class. While Ernie Francis, Jr., and Lee Saunders have already captured their respective class Championships earlier this year, they will both be in attendance for one last shot at Trans-Am silverware, as well as what should be their toughest challenge of the year as the class sets its highest attendance of 2015.
In that field are a bevy of fresh names to Trans-Am and the TA3 class with Martin Ragginger, Cameron Maugeri, Brian Kleeman, Randy Kinsland, Adam Keysar and Chris Outzen all marking their Series debuts. Likewise, the field will be boosted by proven commodities, the likes of Michael Camus, Randy Mueller, Frank Lussier and Russ Snow. Together they combine to create a production-racing showcase and another key addition to the already proven commodities in TA2 and TA3 at a level that the Trans-Am Race Company seeks to sustain in 2016.
The event marks Trans-Am’s sixth appearance at Daytona and will feature the largest Trans-Am field to ever visit the Florida track. The record entry represents just another in a long line of venue specific records set by Trans-Am throughout its 2015 tour, with the Series’ all-time record entry of 74 being set at Mid-Ohio earlier this year.
CREDIT: Trans-Am Communications