(With files from Trans Am Presented by Pirelli Series)
There’s a long way to go yet, but two races into the 2019 Trans Am Presented by Pirelli Series, Milwaukee’s Lawrence Loshak has been nothing short of dominant.
Competing in the Trans Am Class, Loshak once again topped the sheet in both qualifying and the race in his #33 Pennzoil/Elavon/GoShare Chevrolet Camaro at Michelin Raceway, Road Atlanta this past weekend (March 29-31)
Loshak took the pole on the 2.54-mile road course with a best time of 1:20.510, a little more than 2/10 of a second quicker than Tommy Drissi of Los Angeles, also in a Chevy Camaro.
In the race run in wet conditions, Loshak got an early challenge from Ernie Francis Jr. of Southwest Ranches, FL., the defending Trans Am Division champion who jumped up from fourth in a single file rolling start in his Ford Mustang to challenge early before a malfunctioning taillight forced him to the pits.
Drissi and Chris Dyson provided the competition later and Drissi owned the point spot for 13 laps before Loshak regained the position with a penultimate lap overtake. Drissi held on for second despite a little late race off roading and Amy Ruman of Stow, Ohio rounded out the podium, jumping to third with her Chevy Corvette.
“This was the hardest race I’ve done in a long time,” said Loshak. “All I kept thinking was 100 miles, Lawrence, 100 miles. I used to do the rain dance and loved racing in the rain in other series, but I am a bit inexperienced in wet conditions with these Trans Am cars. We started on Pirelli slicks, looking for a rain line but with the Esses, the streams and the cold temperatures, we were having trouble getting grip. It was treacherous. But, as the track started drying, I had an incredible battle with my teammate. Traffic played a huge factor in us exchanging the lead back and forth. In the end though it was a one-two finish for Burtin Racing, and that’s all that matters.”
With the 35 points collected for the race win, Loshak boosted his overall margin atop the standings to 19-points ahead of Dyson, from Pleasant Valley, N.Y. The Burtin Racing Team which includes both Loshak and Drissi is also leading the way while four of the top five finishers racing either Camaro or Corvette has Chevy dominating the Manufacturers standings as well.
One other Wisconsin racer, stock car specialist Sam Mayer took part in the TA2 Class in the #96 SLR/Field Racing/M1Racecars Chevy Camaro, qualifying a respectable 12th in a 29 car field with a best time of 1:26.778, just 2/10 of second away from a Top 10 spot. In the race, Mayer ended up battling some issues and wrapping up a 24th place finish. Rafa Matos of Boca Raton, FL took the win in this race in his Chevy Camaro.
Other Class winners included Baltimore, MD native Brian Kleeman who finished eighth overall and first in the Super GT Class in his Ford Mustang.
There were no GT competitors at the event so Milwaukee native Jeff Courtney, continues to lead the group with his Maserati GT4.
Trans Am racers will have the entire month of May off before hitting the desert to run the third race of the series at Laguna Seca May 3-5.
Local fans will get a chance to see the Wisconsin-based muscle car racers in action August 22-24 when the series highlights the Ryan Companies Road America Classic.