Pintaric Leads Daytona Trans-Am Winners

Dave Pintaric in victory lane at Sebring Int'l Raceway. (Chris Clark photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — David Pintaric captured his first career Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli victory in the TA class today during the Trans-Am season finale at Daytona Int’l Speedway while Tony Buffomante captured TA2 honors for the second consecutive year.

Trans Am’s TA3 class saw Tim Kezman capture his second win of the year and Steven Davison victorious in the TA4 class.

The race also saw Ernie Francis Jr. secure his second consecutive TA title simply by taking the green flag en route to an 11th-place finish due to transmission issues, while Alline Cipriani secured the TA3 class title by doing just enough, with a sixth-place class finish.

The TA, TA2, and TA3 classes all saw their race winners determined on the final lap of the 29-lap contest, a green-white restart following a three-lap, full-course cation.

For Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V, his first career TA class win came in come-from-behind fashion overtaking RJ Lopez, in the No. 06 Tina Bazuca/ Republica Brewing Chevrolet Corvette, after a race long battle for second position between the two drivers. However, when race leader Tony Ave pitted as the field approached green, Lopez and Pintaric’s battle became for the lead. The victory is Pintaric’s first in 55 career TA class starts and gave the Cadillac make its first win in Series history.

A lifelong fan of Trans Am and a fixture in the Trans Am paddock since his 2013 Sebring debut, Pintaric’s win marked his 10th podium appearance and left the Kryderacing driver emotional in the victory circle.

“It’s just a very humbling sensation to be a Trans Am winner,” said Pintaric.  “When you think back to all those greats, when you grow up, and even as a young adult, you look at those people and they’re your heroes.  And now I get to race some of them, and meet them, and I’m a winner with them.  It hasn’t really sunk in yet.  You think about this, you dream about this, you put a lot of effort into it and making it happen, but then it does and… it just hasn’t settled in yet.”

Lopez would finish second for his 12th career podium appearance, while Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, continued her strong career at Daytona International Speedway with a third place finish, extending her streak of five consecutive top five finishes at Daytona, including three wins.

Jeff Hinkle would finish fourth in the No. 91 Technical Realty Group of Texas Dodge Challenger, tying a career best.  TA class pole sitter, Tony Ave, in the No. 4 Cybersight/ Ransom Stopper Chevrolet Corvette, led 28 laps of the 29-lap contest handily but was forced to pit on the final lap with a broken axel, finishing fifth.

All the while, Ernie Francis, Jr. and the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang captured their second consecutive TA class title.

“Our season started really well,” said Francis.  “A few wins, some podium finishes, but around the mid-point we started a bit of a draught; the crash at Road America, parts failures at Watkins Glen, and the car just not feeling right at VIR; it took its toll on the team. We had to regroup coming into the final rounds. Our win at COTA turned it around. We had a lot of time to get the car prepped and ready. We went out there with a singular focus that was showing everyone we could still do it, then led the whole race. We came out here and had some good pace, and we knew we just had to start the race to get the championship. We wanted to win, but the car didn’t want to cooperate. We had a transmission issue, so we backed it off and brought the car in. We’ll be back next year and hopefully go for another one.”

In TA2, Tony Buffomante emerged victorious with a last-lap pass of his own, overtaking recently crowned TA2 champion Rafa Matos on the exit of turn six for the lead.  However, more excitement was to follow for Buffomante as Matos, in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Chevrolet Camaro, attempted to retake the position in the bus stop.

Contact was made, sending Buffomante sideways through the grass and the 88 spinning.   Buffomante managed to gather the car and power down holding first position and crossing the finish line for his second consecutive Daytona victory.  The win was the 14th of his TA2 career, rebounding after a difficult homestretch to the 2018 season.

“It’s really important for me to have the Mike Cope guys get a little reward for their hard work,” said Buffomante. “And to get the win for our new engine supplier Koury Engines, their second win with Detroit being the first, but Mike always builds a fast car here. We were a little bit sore after last time at COTA, but the 88 was fast. Especially coming onto the oval, and off the corners.  I think that Chevy’s got good torque and the Ford has it on top end for sure, especially with the draft; So I’m just so happy for Travis, Jason, Mike and everyone to be able to celebrate in victory lane.  It makes the end of the season a lot nicer.”

Miller finished second for his second podium appearance in only his sixth appearance this season, while LP Montour finished third in the No. 13 Montour LTD Chevrolet Camaro to complete the Ford, Dodge, Chevy podium.

Matos would recover to finish fourth, while Misha Goikhberg, in the No. 25 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro, completed the TA2 top five.