Road America: Series preview, practice one report

Trans-Am Wraps 2009 Season at Road America This Weekend ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 19, 2009) -- When you look back through the Trans-Am record book, no race track appears more than the 4-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit. In fact, from 1970 ...

Trans-Am Wraps 2009 Season at Road America This Weekend

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 19, 2009) -- When you look back through the Trans-Am record book, no race track appears more than the 4-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit. In fact, from 1970 through the last "full" season prior to this year, in 2005, Road America hosted at least one Trans-Am Series race each year, a total of 38. After a three-year absence, the Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series returns to celebrate its season finale at Elkhart Lake's Road America.

The series comes off a two-month break, an excruciatingly long time if you're Tomy Drissi, who clinched his first-ever professional title at Round Six in Watkins Glen, N.Y. in mid July. Drissi's weekend will be a victory lap, of sorts, as he is safe in the Championship and looks for his second win of the season in the Rocketsports Racing No. 5 James Cameron's Avatar Jaguar XKR. The series will honor Drissi as the Champion Sunday evening at an awards ceremony following the race.

Once the series' point leader and often the fastest thing at the race track, Tony Ave is hoping to close out a difficult season on a high note. Ave took four of the six poles leading into the finale, but has just two podium finishes, and zero wins, in the races. Ave hopes to change that this weekend, as he returns to the Northern Wisconsin native returns "home" to close out the season with his No. 10 McMahon Group Chevrolet Corvette. Ave led the opening practice session Saturday, with a best time of 2:06.482 (115.216) mph.

With four top-five finishes in the last five races, including a career-best third at Mid-Ohio, Simon Gregg has moved into third in the Drivers' Championship in his No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette. A solid effort could propel him to second in the Championship, ahead of Ave.

Drissi's teammate, rookie Daniel Ramoutarsingh, has been working his way up the finishing order, with a career-best third at Watkins Glen and hopes to clinch Rookie of the Year honors in his No. 8 Trinico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR.

Glen Jung was fourth in the Championship but skipped Watkins Glen. He returns with the No. 77 Mazdaspeed/Goodyear Mazda RX-7 in hopes of leaping over Ramoutarsingh and taking the top Rookie honors in his nimble Mazda.

The series most recent winner, rookie Jim Goughary Jr. is a favorite to join Klaus Graf (who is not racing this weekend) as a two-time winner this season in his No. 72 Luna Sueno Tequila Chevrolet Corvette.

Returning to the grid this weekend after sitting out the last two Rounds is Mid-Ohio winner Jorge Diaz Jr. and the No. 2 JD Racing Jaguar XKR. Diaz was on the pole at Mosport and topped both Drissi and Ave at Mid-Ohio before previous commitments caused him to miss Portland and Watkins Glen.

A driver hoping the home-track advantage plays to his favor is Cliff Ebben and the No. 36 McMahon Group Ford Mustang. He and teammate Denny Lamers both reside in Appleton, Wis.

Other drivers that could challenge for podium finishes include Amy Ruman (McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Corp Corvette) and RJ Lopez (WabashPower.com/Mobil1/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette).

This weekend's Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series season finale race, the featured portion of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs test week, will run two practice sessions on Saturday, Sept. 19, with qualifying Sunday morning at 8 a.m. (CDT) and the Round Seven race at 1 p.m.

To follow all the series action, including live timing, results and recaps, please visit www.trans-amseries.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Klaus Graf , Tony Ave , Tomy Drissi , Simon Gregg , Jorge Diaz Jr. , Glen Jung , Jim Goughary , Amy Ruman , Daniel Ramoutarsingh
Teams HART