INDIANAPOLIS – After a long summer break, the Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli returned to action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Trans-Am, SuperGT and GT class drivers delivered an action-packed start to the multi-class 42-lap race at the Brickyard on Saturday afternoon.
The race opened with drama up front between pole sitter Ernie Francis Jr. and Chris The race opened with drama up front between pole sitter Ernie Francis Jr. and Chris Dyson, and ended quietly with Dyson dominating to take his second consecutive victory in the TA class by more than 23 seconds over two-time Indianapolis winner Francis Jr.
Adam Andretti took third in the No. 86 Engineered Components Co/Anchor Bolt Chevrolet Corvette after running out of gas as he crossed the yard of bricks.
After suffering engine problems and a transmission failure, Dyson’s No. 40 Plaid Ford Mustang showed no ill-effects from the issues that slowed him earlier in the weekend.
“Any time you can come away with a win in Indy is special, this place is bigger than all of us,” said Dyson. “I think about all the history here, it’s a special day for us. I couldn’t be happier for the guys. We were beneficiary of good fortune and we just motored along. The Pirelli tires stayed under me and the EMCO gearbox was great. The crew was head and shoulders above the rest this weekend. This win is for them.”
Fast all weekend in practice and qualifying, Francis Jr. started from pole position in the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang with Dyson’s Mustang starting in second.
Dyson pressured Francis Jr. at the start, taking the lead just one lap in. However, looking for an Indianapolis dynasty, Francis Jr. didn’t let Dyson off easy as he looked for a way back by to the lead. His early efforts went unrewarded at first, but his perseverance paid off, passing for the lead just before a full course yellow was called.
On the restart, Dyson paid back Francis Jr., taking over the lead and never looking back as the defending champion raced to second place at the finish.
The SGT class race saw Tim Kezman go from flag to flag to claim the checkered flag with the No. 44 Lemons of Love Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car.
In his Trans Am SGT debut, Ken Thwaits drove the No. 35 Showtime Motorsports Audi R8 to a second-place finish, while Mark Boden wheeled his No. 46 Beverage Flavors International Porsche 991 GT3 Cup from a last-place start to finish on the podium in third.
“The race was good and it was good to be back racing with Trans Am,” said Kezman “It’s two in a row for us here in Indy. I love this place! It was tough conditions, but my team gave me the keys to unleash it here.”
Two drivers represented the GT class on the podium, with Steven Davison taking first in the No. 22 Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage and Joe Bogetich in the No. 65 Westover Controls Chevrolet Camaro SS in second.
“I appreciate the opportunity to race here at Indy,” Davison said. “It was a clean race and a well-orchestrated event by Trans Am Series. We persevered through mechanical issues and I’m really glad to be up here.”
A seventh-place finish earned Kerry Hitt in the No. 19 Advanced Composite Products Inc Cadillac CTSV first in the Trans Am Masters Group.
“The race was great,” Hitt said on the podium. “The guys did a heck of a job on the car. I’m honored to carry the torch for us old guys. My friend Bobby took his checkered flag on life last week. He wanted to come see me race at the legendary IMS, so Bobby, this one’s for you.”