BRASELTON, Ga. – Ernie Francis Jr. and Justin Haley will start on pole for their respective Trans-Am Series races on Saturday at Road Atlanta.
Also earning the pole position for the TA3 class was Randy Kinsland, his second consecutive production class pole at Road Atlanta.
Francis secured his ninth career TA class pole with a 1:21.060 lap around the 2.54-mile, 12 turn Road Atlanta circuit. The defending TA champion will start at the front of the multi-class TA and TA3 race in the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang as he seeks his sithx-straight victory.
Starting alongside Francis and aiming to snap that streak will be Chris Dyson in the No. 20 Plaid/ CD Racing Ford Mustang. Dyson turned a 1:21.665 lap to secure his own spot on the front row. Dyson finished second to Francis at the Trans-Am Sebring opener.
“Tomorrow’s going to be tough,” said Francis. “Dyson has a good car, same chassis as we have — Meissen builds a good car and helped us win a championship last year. It’s going to be a good year for us, and I think tomorrow will be a good race. We had a really fast car in qualifying; it took awhile messing around with setup to get it there with the limited track time. But we put together a good car, and the Original Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang should take it home tomorrow.”
Starting third in the TA class will be David Pintaric. Pintaric’s starting position sees Road Atlanta’s top-three starters mirror of Sebring’s podium. The TA class top five was completed by Simon Gregg and Amy Ruman.
In TA2, Haley’s pole came in the form of a blistering qualifying track record 1:24.617 lap, putting the No. 99 Fraternal Order of Eagles Ford Mustang atop the 26 car TA2 grid for tomorrow’s Trans-Am Muscle Car Challenge.
The pole stands as Haley’s fourth of his Trans-Am career in what will be his 21st start in the TA2 class. A Trans-Am win still eludes Haley, despite his success in qualifying. Each time Haley has started from the pole the race win has gone to Tony Buffomante, who will join him on the front row for the TA2 class.
“I feel like every time I come over here to the Trans-Am Series I can run pretty fast, put a track record down, get a pole but it’s hard to win one of these,” said Haley. “They’re so long, 40 laps here, 100 miles, you’ve got to keep the tires under these cars— I don’t know what the magic recipe is quite yet, but I’m working on it. Hopefully, we’ll have a good run tomorrow.”
For Buffomante, who secured the second starting position through a 1:25.031 lap of his own, Road Atlanta has been a stronghold over the past two seasons, with two poles and two victories.
Qualifying third was Misha Goikhberg, in the No. 25 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro, turning in a 1:25.073 in his Trans-Am and TA2 debut. Sebring victor Marc Miller and Rafa Matos will start in the fourth and fifth positions.
Paul Tracy, making his Trans-Am Series debut and his return to pro racing, will start 10th in the TA2 class race.
In the TA3 class, set to compete alongside TA in Saturday’s multi-class event, Kinsland captured pole for the second consecutive year with a track record of his own at 1:25.602.
Kinsland was also the victor at Road Atlanta in 2017 and will look to break a streak of mechanical failures that stretches back into the 2017 season — finally bringing the No. 11 back to the winner’s circle.
Sebring winner and defending TA3 class champion Mark Boden, will start alongside Kinsland after a 1:26.969 lap. Boden’s Fall-Line teammate, Tim Kezman, will start third after turning a 1:27.012 lap of his own. The TA3 class top five was completed by Aaron Pierce and Tom Herb.