INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. [June 13, 2017] – The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and a total of 66 cars are ready for the series' debut at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), for the Trans Am Speedway Showdown and Indianapolis Muscle Car Challenge, two 100-mile races and Round 5 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship presented by Pirelli, June 17-18.
The entry list spans all four of Trans Am's classes and includes 14 TA class machines, 28 TA2 cars, 13 TA3 and 11 TA4 production racers, bringing to bear the entirety of the Trans Am championship for what stands, remarkably, as the series' first appearance in 51 years in Indianapolis, the "Racing Capital of the World". All competition will take place on IMS' 2.439-mile Grand Prix road course.
In the TA class, Ernie Francis Jr., in the No. 98 Breathless Pro Racing/ Beta Tools Ford Mustang, will aim to continue his streak atop the class charts with three consecutive victories now to his name. Francis, a three-time TA4 champion, made the jump to the TA class at the start of this season and has made the switch in stride, with wins at Homestead-Miami, Road Atlanta and Detroit.
Despite a relatively slow start to her season, two-time defending TA champ Amy Ruman, driver of the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, is well within striking distance of Francis in the points. If she can rebound from the early mechanical frustrations that have hampered her campaign thus far, Francis' streak could be in jeopardy.
2016 TA Rookie of the Year Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights & Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, has also moved up the ranks lately with two podium finishes this season, including a second place finish last round at Detroit. Allegretta currently stands second in the TA points.
In TA2, points leader Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, will look to the IMS track for his third win of the season and fourth podium finish—but will have the task of overcoming a talent-packed TA2 field.
The top five in TA2 points will all be in attendance, including Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, with three podiums this year and Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, also with three podiums.
Defending TA2 champion, Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, is currently holding fourth position in the points and has a race win at Road Atlanta and third place finish at Detroit. Buffomante will be eager to regain ground on the top three after sitting out Homestead-Miami.
Tied in fifth position are Lawrence Loshak and Cameron Lawrence, with both yet to make it onto the podium despite running strong throughout the season— having been hampered by mechanical issues or plain bad luck. IMS could prove an end, or continuation, to their frustrations.
Tony Ave, in the No. 04 PD for Life Chevrolet Camaro, makes his return to the TA2 class this weekend with the Roehrig Engineering team. Ave is a two-time TA class champion with 18 career Trans Am wins in 94 starts.
Trans Am's production classes return to action this weekend as well, with TA3 and TA4 combining for their largest entry in Trans Am history with multiple new faces joining the field, ready to take a crack at the current points leaders.
In TA3, the season has been a back and forth battle between Randy Kinsland, in the No. 11 Kinsland Racing Chevrolet Corvette, and Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 cup. Boden claimed the initial victory at Sebring with Kinsland second, while the results were swapped for both Homestead-Miami and Road Atlanta, with Kinsland finishing first and Boden second. Now the duo are set for yet another showdown at Indianapolis in one of the tightest TA3 battles in years.
Making their Trans Am season debut in TA3 will be Cindy Lux, Kurt Fazekas, and John Buttermore.
In TA4, Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, has captured pole and won every race this season. This weekend, he will find a far different TA4 class standing in his way with more drivers participating at IMS than in the entirety of the class thus far in 2017— 11 entries to the 9 entrants across rounds one through three.
The remainder of the TA4 top three in points will also be in attendance with Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performane/ Tremec Chevrolet Camaro, and Chris Outzen, in the No. 97 DWW Motorsports Inc Ford Mustang, ready to take the next step up the podium.
The Trans Am Series will be joined on the weekend by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association for their Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, including the Indy Legends Pro-Am as well as the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series.
Fans can keep up with the event and all of The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.