AVONDALE, La. – Paul Fix and Tony Buffomante captured pole positions in qualifying sessions for their respective Trans-Am races Saturday at NOLA Motorsports Park.
Likewise, Steve Streimer and Ernie Francis Jr. captured pole positions in the TA3 and TA4 classes with fast laps of their own around the 16-turn, 2.75-mile course.
In the TA class, Fix, in the No. 50 StopFlex/TheCarCoach.com/Chevron Techron Chevrolet Corvette, barely edged out Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group/ Lamers Ford Mustang, for the pole with a time of 1:37.446 to Ebben’s 1:37.467.
The result sees Fix gain the coveted pole position for the second consecutive year at NOLA, along with the added benefit of the three points earned in his razor-thin championship battle with Ebben and defending champion Amy Ruman. Ebben, in turn, receives two points for his qualifying effort.
Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, qualified third with a time of 1:38.019 and receives a single point. Last year Ruman qualified second and finished first at NOLA, edging out Fix for the top spot. The TA class top five also featured Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates Chevrolet Corvette, and John Baucom, in the No. 86 RoadRaceParts.com Ford Mustang, with times of 1:38.670 and 1:39.040, respectively.
In TA2, Tony Buffomante, in the No. 36 Mike Cope Ford Mustang, secured his fourth pole position of the year with a fast lap of 1:41.817, a new TA2 track record. Buffomante currently sits atop the TA2 point standings after a mid-season surge that’s seen him move into a commanding position as Trans-Am’s season comes to a close. A strong finish at NOLA would help solidify that position even further going into the final rounds at Circuit of the Americas and Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Buffomante was followed in the session by Mike Cope Racing teammate and title-rival Justin Haley, in the No. 99 Braun Foundation Ford Mustang, who turned a 1:42.606. Hot off a victory last round at Homestead-Miami, Shane Lewis, driver of the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, prevented a Mike Cope sweep of the qualifying top five with a time of 1:42.662 to secure third position on tomorrow’s grid.
Also running out of the Mike Cope stables are Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, and Keith Procuik, in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Camaro, who completed the TA2 qualifying top five with times of 1:42.819 and 1:43.233, respectively.
In TA3, 2015’s NOLA victor Steve Streimer repeated his pole setting performance from 2015 with a 1:44.982 lap to lead the production based class from behind the wheel of the No. 42 Lux Performance Dodge Viper ACR-X. Come tomorrow, he will be joined on the TA3 front row by teammate Cindi Lux, driver of the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper ACR-X, who turned a 1:45.935.
Current points leader Randy Mueller, in the No. 0 Bizbloom.com/Epic Motorsports BMW M3, qualified third with a time of 1:46.794 and enters tomorrow’s race with the confidence that a fifth place finish or higher guarantees the class championship.
The TA3 top five was completed by Michael Camus, in the No. 08 Bizbloom.com/ MCM Holdings BMW M3, with a time of 1:47.717 and Conor Flynn, with a time of 1:48.272.
In TA4, Francis captured the TA4 pole by a considerable margin from behind the No. 98 BetaTools/Liquid Performance Chevrolet Camaro, with a time of 1:48.541, well above the 1:51.201 of Spencer Caudle, in the No. 53 Rotor Source Inc. Dodge Challenger, who will start tomorrow in second position. Francis is currently in pursuit of an undefeated season having already captured the TA4 championship.
Dave Ricci, in the No. 71 Southeast Guardrail Chevrolet Camaro, completed the TA4 top three with a time of 1:52.155.