LEXINGTON, Ohio – Cliff Ebben and Lawrence Loshak will start on pole for their respective races Sunday in the First Energy Trans-Am 100, featuring TA, TA3 and TA4, and the Pura Vida Tequila Muscle Car 100 Presented by ETE Reman Transmissions, featuring TA2, after setting the fast times in qualifying Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The two were joined by Randy Kinsland and Ernie Francis Jr., who also set fast laps around the 2.258-mile course in the TA3 and TA4.
Loshak’s time of 1:25.843 shattered the previous TA2 qualifying track record by over a second, securing his second career pole at Mid-Ohio, the first of which came back in 2014 in his first Trans-Am appearance. Now, Loshak will attempt tomorrow to shake the proverbial monkey from his back in his pursuit of his first Trans-Am victory in the Pura Vida Tequila Muscle Car 100 Presented by ETE Reman Transmissions.
Joining Loshak in the front row will be Tonis Kasemets making his first-ever Trans Am appearance. Kasemets took little time getting up to speed turning a 1:26.084 in the session. Loshak’s Mike Cope Racing teammates Justin Haley and Tony Buffomante secured third and fourth starting positions with times of 1:26.268 and 1:26.408, respectively. Shane Lewis secured the final position in the TA2 Fast Five with a 1:26.807.
Ebben secured his career first TA pole at Mid-Ohio with a 1:22.154 lap time, edging out hometown driver Amy Ruman for the top spot — with Ruman turning a 1:23.086. The pole will see Ebben once more face off with Ruman, who have held multiple front row battles throughout the year; and while Ebben has yet to win in this year, he has secured victory at Mid-Ohio before, his win coming in this year, while Ruman is still chasing her coveted first Mid-Ohio win.
Joining Ebben and Ruman in the TA class Fast Five were Simon Gregg and Paul Fix who turned 1:23205 and 1:23.637, respectively. Fix is currently coming off two consecutive TA class wins and is the defending victor at Mid-Ohio, meanwhile Gregg last won at Mid-Ohio in 2012 and has not secured a TA win since 2013 at Virginia International Raceway. John Baucom, in the No. 86 RoadRaceParts.com/ Baucom Motorsport Ford Mustang, secured the final spot in the TA class Fast Five with a 1:23.856 lap.
In TA3, Kinsland managed to power the No. 11 Crossroads Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette to the top spot with a 1:28.837 lap, edging out Conor Flynn’s 1:29.256 lap for the class’s top spot. Fellow rookie Mark Boden was third quick with a time of 1:29.277; while Randy Mueller and Milton Grant were fourth and fifth fast in the class with times of 1:29.536.
Francis Jr. captured pole for the TA4 class for the third consecutive year at Mid-Ohio with a time of 1:30.219. The two-time champion will continue his pursuit of his third championship and third consecutive win at Mid-Ohio tomorrow in the First Energy Trans-Am 100, alongside the TA, TA3 and TA4 classes.
Francis was followed in the session by Todd Napieralski who turned a 1:31.324 and Tristan Herbert who turned a 1:31.626. Brian Kleeman, Francis’ primary challenger for the championship, was fourth in the TA4 class with a time of 1:32.279, while Rich Jones was fifth in class with a time of 1:34.402.
CREDIT: Trans-Am Communications