Celebrating his 100th career Trans Am start, Tony Ave (No. 25 BC Race Cars) took the lead in the final laps.
Saturday’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Muscle Car Challenge was all about survival. On Sunday, the TA2 powered by AEM drivers amped up the aggressiveness for the Motor City Dash, risking everything for a chance to permanently add their names to the list of winning drivers in the long Trans Am history of racing in Detroit.
Celebrating his 100th career Trans Am start, Tony Ave (No. 25 BC Race Cars) took the lead in the final laps to claim his 19th win and his first-ever win on the streets of Belle Isle.
Dillon Machavern in the No. 77 Liquid-Molly Prefix Ford Mustang dodged traffic and accidents to finish second and Tony Buffomonte in the No. 34 Mike Cope Racing recovered from a spin into the barriers to fight back for a third-place finish.
“I’ve been trying to win this race since 1994!” said Ave. “I’ve led it a bunch of times but haven’t been able to hit that top spot. We didn’t have quite enough speed early so I just stayed close. My car got good toward the end and I was able to run them down but passing was going to be an entirely different issue. Then what usually happens at these places started to happen, with everyone going sideways, grabbing gears and spinning tires. I thought ‘this is living!’ We were just scrambling, but we came out with the lead and I couldn’t be happier.”
Misha Goikhberg in the No. 10 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro started on pole, but lost the lead to Buffomonte after the green flag dropped. Buffomonte quickly built a gap from the field, leading the pack of 17 TA2 cars by more than a second before losing it on his own in Turn 7. The 2018 Detroit Grand Prix winner spun backwards, making hard contact with the back of the car into the barriers. Fortunately for the Illinois native, the Ford Mustang continued under its own power but Buffomonte never regained the lead as Machavern seized first.
“I had that one locked up and threw it away, so sorry to my guys,” said Buffomante. “I was just pacing, minding the gap and then wheel-hopped it in going into Turn 7 again. I lost the back end and stuck it in the fence. I pulled it out of there and took off, doing some really fast laps, just trying to catch up. But that shows just how fast the car was, it was ridiculous. Next time. Congratulations to BC Race Cars on a great finish.”
Dropping back to third, Saturday’s race winner Goikhberg weaved back and forth from the inside then to the outside of Machavern.
Hitting the curbing on the Horshoe turn, Goikberg went spinning around the circuit and collected podium-contenders Rafa Matos and Lawless Alan in the process. Goikhberg and Alan continued but the reigning TA2 champion’s charge to the top ended as Matos’ No. 88 Lear 3Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang was towed back to the pits. The incident brought out the first of two full course cautions.
The TA2 drivers have a two month break before returning to the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway Aug. 1-4 supporting SVRA.
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