Trans Am West Coast ready for Utah after decade of absence
With five rounds completed, the Trans Am series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship will return to the Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) from October 7-9 for its penultimate race.
This is the first time in a decade that the roar of the American Trans Am muscle will echo 4,409 feet above the Hive State.
The Trans Am National Series last visited Utah in 2011 when the facility was called Miller Motorsports Park, covering the 3,048 mile course. Tony Ave took pole position while completing the fastest lap in a Corvette prepared by Ave Motorsports, the same Corvette he won the checkered flag at the inaugural Trans Am Utah event in 2010 (on the course Miller 2.2 miles).
This weekend will mark the West Coast Championship’s first visit to UMC, where 18 drivers will compete on the 14-turn, 3.048-mile outdoor course as part of the Utah SpeedTour. With two rounds remaining in 2021, the title race for the TA2 West Coast class tightens with nine drivers still mathematically in the race, although four of those drivers, Carl Rydquist, Tim Lynn, Mitch Marvosh and Darrell Anderson, have taken a gap ahead of the rest.
After winning the SGT West Coast Championship in 2020, Rydquist continued his success in his debut TA2 season, amassing three wins in the # 47 Ford Mustang Racecars4Rent / GroupWholesale / OptimalStunt. Rydquist will be working with a new engine in Utah, after mechanical issues in Portland forced the Nelson Motorsports driver to retire prematurely and ultimately lead the team to replace the powertrain between events.
Despite Portland’s setback, Rydquist still leads the class with 137 points, 29 points ahead of his closest rival Lynn (108 points) who has two season wins.
“Utah has such a great track layout, I can’t wait to race the # 47 Nelson Motorsports / GroupWholeSale / Optimal Stunt Mustang,” said Rydquist. “At 4,400 feet, cars see less of the cooling effect, so everyone will be watching the transmission and brake temperature a bit more. I have been doing a lot of cardio and long duration intervals over the past eight weeks because you need more endurance in this spot due to the elevation. The peloton is filled with quick and experienced riders to keep us on our toes, plus Tim (Lynn) is a smart racer chasing us for the title. We have had a championship mentality all year round which has been to work our way towards progressive goals session by session. It’s working well, so we’ll just keep our heads down and keep doing it. “
As Rydquist keeps his head down, Marvosh intends to keep his eyes clear for his first run in his hometown. A small margin of 15 points separates second place from fifth place in the championship. Marvosh is third overall in the TA2 class, first in the Master class, behind Lynn by five points (108 to 103) entering Utah.
“As a Team CHR rider, I am personally very happy to see UMC for the first time, it looks like a fast and fun track! Said Marvosh. “My family origins are from Utah, so we take this one as a ‘Home Track’ even though I’ve never used UMC before !. We are currently locked in a crazy and tight race between a large group of pilots. The UMC is a crucial race leading up to the final round of the Circuit of the Americas for the season. Wolf Entertainment Howe’s # 29 Ford Mustang will be 110% podium-chasing in Beehive State!
Leading the rookie of the year standings and fourth overall is Anderson in the # 45 Park Place Constructors Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson finished third overall in Portland in a recovery race to the checkered flag.
“We go through the car all the way after we hit the wall in Portland,” Anderson said. “We’ll have to take our A game to Utah to stay ahead. I’ve never been to the Utah Motorsports campus, so we’ll really have to put our heads down and use every lap of practice to get the car and the driver to a place where we can compete in front.
This year marks John Schweitzer’s first season in professional racing after winning a season championship at club level. The rookie drove the # 00 Ford Fusion Superior Builders Inc to victory at Thunderhill Raceway and leads the SGT Championship.
“Our rookie season in the Trans Am West Coast Championship was a big step up from club racing in all aspects, and to be leading the SGT class with two events to go is very exciting. for our team, ”said Schweitzer. “None of this would be possible without the support and encouragement of my family and the efforts and commitment of the team. On a personal level the experience was difficult both mentally and physically as the races are a bit longer than typical club races and I learned so much about the race and myself too. Our goals for the remaining events remain focused on preparing for the start line, executing our racing strategy and having fun. “
Schweitzer will have a pair of full attack mode Vipers behind him as Lux Performance returns to the lineup with Cindi Lux (No. 5 LuxPerformance / BlackRockCoffee Dodge Viper) and Dirk Leuenberger (No. 35 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper). Lux’s season started at The Ridge, and she’s won every round she’s competed in since. Of all the drivers on the entry list, Lux has the most laps completed at UMC. The Portland native was principal of the Ford Racing School, working with former track owners for a decade.
“I have probably done over 25,000 laps at UMC in the 10 years of teaching and testing there,” Lux explained. “I haven’t been back since 2016, but I have no doubts that the team will get back into motion. “
West Coast Trans Am riders will have a full day of practice Friday to get in tune before the start of the official race weekend on Saturday with all-class training starting at 10:50 a.m. MT, followed by qualifying at 2:50 p.m. . The drivers will take the green Sunday at 10:50 am for 33 laps or 75 minutes.