Randy Mueller and Ernie Francis, Jr., lead TA3 and TA4 in qualifying
ALTON, Va. [September 23, 2016] – Paul Fix and Justin Haley will start on pole for tomorrow’s duo 101.37-mile, 31-lap Trans Am races at Virginia International Raceway after today’s qualifying sessions, with both setting the fast lap for their respective classes, TA and TA2. Randy Mueller and Ernie Francis, Jr., also set fast laps for their classes, TA3 and TA4.
Paul Fix, in the No. 50 StopFlex.com/TheCarCoach.com/Chevron Techron Chevrolet Corvette, turned the fast lap of the TA class, 1:47.159, in only two laps during the 20-minute class qualifying session. Fix enters the VIR weekend, Round 8 of the 2016 Trans Am Championship, fifth in the points, 20 off current leader Amy Ruman. However, VIR has been good to Fix in recent times with Trans Am’s last two visits all resulting in a victory for the Trans Am veteran—with pole position now in hand, Fix is in prime position for a coveted three-peat that could vault him up in the championship points.
Fix was followed in the session by rookie Vincent Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds/ Dr. Dave Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 1:47.995—giving the current Rookie of the Year points leader his career-best qualifying results. Virginia native Jim McAleese, in the No. 03 McAleese & Associates Chevrolet Corvette, qualified third with a 1:48.970 lap time; while the TA class top three was completed by Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and David Pinatric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V, with times of 1:49.112 and 1:49.193, respectively.
In TA2, young gun Justin Haley, in the No. 99 Braun Foundation Ford Mustang, secured his second consecutive pole and third of the season with a track record 1:52.034 lap. Haley, running a full season of TA2 in the midst of his NASCAR K&N East, NASCAR Trucks and ARCA obligations, currently holds third position in the TA2 championship points, only six points off the lead. While Haley is yet to capture victory in TA2, he’s in prime position to once more challenge for the top step and, potentially, the championship points lead.
The man currently atop the points standings, Haley’s teammate Tony Buffomante, will also start in the front row after turning a 1:52.785. Buffomante, however, has been able to convert starting positions into victories this year, with three under his belt, including last round at Road America and at New Jersey Motorsports Park earlier this year—the races Haley started on pole.
Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, completed the TA2 top three sweep for Mike Cope Racing with a 1:53.125, while Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, and Keith Prociuk, in the No. 9 HP Tuners Chevrolet Camaro, filled out the TA2 top five with times of 1:53.242 and 1:53.807.
In the TA3 class, Randy Mueller, in the No. 0 Bizbloom/MCM Holdings Inc BMW M3, secured his second TA3 pole position of the 2016 season with a 1:55.713 lap. Come tomorrow, Mueller will be joined on the front row by Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Dodge Viper ACRX, who turned a 1:58.003 time in the qualifying session—presenting an interesting matchup between the high horsepower Viper and the smaller, lighter BMW.
The TA3 class qualifying top five also featured rookie Connor Flynn, in the No. 95 Irish Mikes Porsche 997 GT, who turned a 1:58.007, just shy of Lux’s time. Randy Kinsland, in the No. 11 Kinsland Racing Chevrolet Corvette, and Lux’s teammate Steve Streimer, in the No. 42 Lux Performance Dodge Viper, also secured top five starts with times of 1:58.344 and 1:59.484.
In TA4, Ernie Francis, Jr., continued his streak of pole positions from behind the wheel of the No. 98 Beta Tools/Liquid Performance Chevrolet Camaro, with a 2:00.657 lap, boosting his tally on the year to six pole positions and five consecutive. Tomorrow, he’ll look to extend his streak of victories to eight. Francis was followed in the class by Mike Geldart, in the No. 43 Racers Edge Ford Mustang, with a time of 2:03.084, and Rich Jones, in the No. 37 JOMAC/Sparta Steel Ford Mustang, with a time of 2:05.632.
The TA, TA3 and TA4 classes will take to the track at VIR at 11:25 AM Eastern tomorrow, Saturday, September 24, for their multiclass race while the TA2 class will close out the weekend with their independent race at 5:05 PM.