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Doug Peterson Returns To Top Of The Podium With Win At Road Atlanta
Posted by: newsla on May 11, 2014 - 06:14 AM
Sports Cars
Doug Peterson Returns To Top Of The Podium With Win At Road Atlanta

Flowery Branch, GA: Round 3 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship, the 100 Miles of Luna-C, at Road Atlanta took place today, Saturday, May 10, as the Trans Am Series held two races, the TA2 class race and the TA and TA3 classes race.


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In the TA class, Doug Peterson, defending TA Champion and driver of the #87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette, began the day on pole, with Amy Ruman, in the #23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, in second position, and John Baucom in the #86 Baucom Motorsports/ RoadRaceParts.com Ford Mustang in third.

Peterson and Ruman would battle back and forth throughout the first half of the race, often racing nose-to-tail through the corners. Ruman was delayed by lapped traffic, the TA3 class, during the 19th lap, allowing Baucom to move up into second—Ruman was able to continue the race, and retain the third position, albeit behind members of the slower TA3 class.

A double yellow fell over the field during the 28th lap of the race to retrieve the #67 BMG Management Chevrolet Corvette of Jason Berkeley, opening a window of opportunity for Ruman, who immediately shot between two cars during the restart down the main straight, pushing the #23 car back into the fray with Peterson and Baucom. However just as it seemed Ruman was about to challenge for position, the McNichols Corvette spun, leaving her back in sixth position.

Cliff Ebben, in the #36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang, took advantage of Ruman’s misfortune and moved up into third position, but only for a lap as he made contact with traffic and went off course, causing another full course yellow to retrieve the car.

Upon restart, with only three laps to go, Peterson and Baucom bolted forward, with Peterson barely keeping the #86 Mustang at bay as the cars crossed the finish line.

"After the second restart I was a little concerned," said Peterson. "My rear tires were starting to go, I used them up in the bout with Amy in the beginning there, more than I wanted to for sure. And John (Baucom) had we worried for a bit. Thanks to 3Dimensional Services and Pro Motors for powering me over the finish line, we were a little conservative on the setup today, we were a little worried about the rain and what might have happened, but if it looked easy, believe me, I was pushing pretty hard. We had a great race out there."

David Pintaric, in the #59 Kryderacing/ Carbotech/ WRP Investments Chevrolet Corvette, finished third, his first ever Trans Am podium placement.

In TA3, Todd Napieraski, driving the #39 Tremec/SKF/BackStreet Performance/ Chevrolet Performance Chevrolet Camaro in the American Muscle Group, and Russ Snow in the #20 Carbotech Chevrolet Corvette in the International Group, were able to manage start-to-fish victories over their respective groups in the TA3 class.

In the International Group, Tim Gray would finish second, followed by Trans Am newcomer Norman Betts. In the American Muscle Group, Chris DeSalvo, another Trans Am newcomer, finished second followed by defending TA3 Champion Chuck Cassaro.

The TA2 race featured three different race leaders, with the #44 Engineered Components Chevrolet Corvette of Adam Andretti taking the checkered flag come the end of what quickly became a race of endurance between TA2 frontrunners.

Andretti began the race on pole with former two-time TA2 Champion Bob Stretch, in the #98 Fix Rim Mobile Wheel Repair Chevrolet Camaro, next to him and the #11 Trick Titanium Chevrolet Corvette of defending TA2 Champion Cameron Lawrence in third position.

The top three started the race tenaciously and Lawrence was first to make a move, overtaking Stretch for second position during the second lap of the race, he then continued to power the No. 1 car forward, passing Andretti the next lap, lap three, a position he held up until the sixth lap when the No. 1 car made contact with the No. 44 of Andretti going through turn 10A.

"I was feeling a sense of urgency," said Andretti. "Usually with a 100-mile race you can take your time, but this was different, especially when you know what kind of driver Cameron is—he’s an amazing young driver who doesn’t make many mistakes. I had a chance for a run on him and needed to capitalize. And he gave me plenty of room, and it just was very slick in the breaking zone going into turn 10A and I locked up the tires, causing a little sideways action and the contact, and unfortunately when Cameron left me plenty of room I apparently needed the whole track."

The contact left Lawrence with a flat rear left tire, forcing him and the #1 Camaro into the pits, where he remained for an entire lap. Meanwhile, Bob Stretch and the No. 98 capitalized on Lawrence’s absence and a slowed Andretti, moving into first position. Behind them, Trans Am rookie Ron Keith, in the #25 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, moved up to third, putting in consistent lap times and building separation from the rest of the field.

Come the 27th lap of the race, the #98 of Stretch was visibly slower and Andretti began to gain ground. Stretch entered the pits on the next lap and shortly thereafter retired, citing mechanical failure. Andretti assumed the first position and Keith moved up into second; meanwhile Keith’s teammate, Kevin Poitras, in the #73 Mike Cope Racing Chevrolet Camaro, moved into third position but was challenged closely by Tom West in the #56 Limerick Machine Company/ Treelaine Chevrolet Camaro.

West would overcome Poitras as the #73 car slowed, as would Nathan Stokey, in the #49 Archer Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

At the conclusion of the race, the #44 of Andretti was first to cross the finish line, followed by Keith in second, West in third, Stokey in fourth and Poitras in fifth.

"This win was a huge boost," said Andretti. "As a competitor you never want the race to shake down the way it did—you don’t want to see Bob have a mechanical issue, and you certainly don’t want to have a slight mistake on my part get me into Cameron and cost him a good finish. So as a competitor you never want that, but I was proud of our effort. We’d struggled with certain gremlins all weekend; and when it came qualifying time, the car was perfect and we were able to get on pole with a new track record, which is so special to me I can’t even put it into words. And we were able to go out there and back it up with a victory, which is huge. I hate how it turned out for Miller Motorsports, Cameron and their crew, because of what happened; but at the same time I’m proud of this win for our crew, the ECC Motorsports guys, they fought so hard—they deserve this win. We had a great race and had a lot of fun."

Lawrence was able to battle his way back up through the field, un-lapping himself, and finishing in a strong seventh place position, enough for him to remain the TA2 point leader, with 91, as Trans Am heads to Round 4 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park next weekend. Ron Keith remains second in the point standings with 80, while Tom West moved up to third with 68 points. Lawrence also put in the fastest lap of the race, a 1:27.905, a new TA2 track record. Trans Am officials reviewed the contact between Andretti and Lawrence and ruled that Andretti was at fault; due to the contact, Andretti was penalized half of his reward points but will retain the victory.

Peterson will retain the TA class points lead, with 94, followed by Simon Gregg with 71 and Cliff Ebben with 70.

Trans Am will now head north to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for Round Four of the 2014 Trans Am Championship on Saturday, May 17.

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