Cleveland: Tony Ave preview

Ave looking for progress on the Cleveland lakefront. INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Heading into Round Five of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup this weekend, Tony Ave sits in fifth position in a heated points battle. Ave, driver of...

Ave looking for progress on the Cleveland lakefront.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Heading into Round Five of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup this weekend, Tony Ave sits in fifth position in a heated points battle. Ave, driver of the #53 Trilithic/LAC Motorsports Panoz Esperante, says there's absolutely no room to slip up during the Trans-Am on the Tarmac Presented by Microchip this weekend.

And slipping could become an important factor Saturday afternoon. Race strategy for Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland includes considering something the Trans-Am teams haven't faced yet this year - the need for rain tires, along with the decision about when to change from wet tires to slicks, or vice versa.

"Cleveland, except for one section, is a momentum track. Acceleration is not as much of an issue, so if we can get the balance the way we had it in Lime Rock (where Ave finished second behind points leader Boris Said), we should do okay," he says. Ave's experience on the temporary circuit includes racing in the Toyota Atlantic Series in 2001.

"We'll just have to wait and see what the conditions are like. It's not unusual to have a storm come in off the lake, but I won't worry about it. (Crew chief) Nick Short and the guys can figure out what to do about the rain," he adds.

Last year's race was delayed an hour because of heavy rain that swept in from Lake Erie. But shortly after the start of the race, the sun began to shine, blessing those who switched from grooved wet weather tires to slicks early in the race, including LAC Motorsports owner Kerry Alexander, behind the wheel of the Esperante at the time.

Ave and the other series regulars - including defending champion Paul Gentilozzi, Said, Johnny Miller, Butch Leitzinger and Justin Bell, will race 48 laps around the 2.106 mile, ten-turn temporary circuit on Saturday, July 13 at 4:40 PM. A CBS broadcast of the race will air at 5 PM EDT, beginning with taped highlights of the start and blending into live coverage until the checkered flag flies.

For more information about Ave and LAC Motorsports, visit www.lacmotorsports.com. For more information about the Trans Am Series, visit www.trans-amseries.com.

-lac-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Tony Ave , Justin Bell , Johnny Miller