After experiencing a catastrophic mechanical issue in yesterday’s practice session, Matthew Brabham started in last place and drove through a 22-car field to capture the victory in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s TA/XGT/SGT/GT race in the Mission Foods VIR SpeedTour at Virginia International Raceway. Brabham rocketed past the competition in his No. 20 ALTWELL CBD Ford Mustang to claim his third TA victory in only four starts in the series.
Brabham was relegated to start from the 22nd position after a mechanical issue in practice nearly destroyed his car, forcing him to sit out qualifying and requiring his CD Racing team to work through the night to have a car prepared by the start of today’s race. Once the green flag waved, Brabham wasted no time, working his way into the top five by lap seven, and by lap 12, he had advanced to the second position.
Brabham’s team owner and teammate Chris Dyson, who took the green flag from the pole in his No. 16 ALTWELL CBD Mustang, appeared to be the car that Brabham would have to beat after he led the first 15 laps of the event. However, at the race’s halfway point, Dyson was attempting to pass a slower SGT competitor when the two made contact, damaging Dyson’s machine and forcing him to retire. From there, Brabham took over the lead and cruised to victory, leading the remainder of the 31-lap event.
Keith Grant in the No. 5 Showtime Motorsports Camaro finished second, and CD Racing teammate Paul Fix crossed the finish line third in the No. 21 allgram/StopFlex.com/Classic Tube Mustang. However, Fix was penalized after the event for avoidable contact and was moved to the last position on the lead lap, ultimately putting him sixth. Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette inherited third place, followed by Jeff Hinkle in the No. 9 TRGDataCenters.com/NetDepot.com Dodge Challenger and Jose Chocron in the No. 17 Chocron Racing Team Corvette.
Ruman was the best finisher of the three competitors battling for second in the TA point standings with her third-place result. Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Mustang experienced a mechanical issue mid-race and finished seventh in class, while Ken Thwaits in the No. 7 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro was relegated to 12th in class following an accident on lap one.
“A big thank you to my dog — he was great support all weekend,” laughed Brabham on the podium, who was accompanied by his dog Brumby. “Seriously though, first and foremost, I have to thank Chris Dyson and CD Racing. They had a busy weekend and still got us up on the podium. We had some splitters break and some mechanicals yesterday, and they were working most of the night to get these cars ready. They were unbelievable in the race. Big hats off to those guys. It’s so great and refreshing to come back to a team that just has so much belief and works so hard to get results like these. Thank you to ALTWELL, allgram, and everyone on the team that makes it happen.”
Danny Lowry won the XGT class in his No. 42 BridgeHaul/Bennett International/Pitboxes.com Porsche, showing his persistence after a blown motor forced him to drive through the night to get a backup car.
“I had to drive to South Carolina to get a new car, so I drove home last night, got there at 1:00 in the morning, got about three hours of sleep, loaded the car and headed back,” said Lowry. “It was a good race even though I was in a car I didn’t have many laps in. It’s a great car, it was a lot faster than I was today, I can tell you that.”
The SGT class was a race of attrition, with multiple drivers experiencing mechanical issues, and the lead changed hands frequently as the competitors ran closely together. Carey Grant in the No. 6 Grant Racing 2 Porsche GT3 Cup ultimately earned the first Trans Am SGT class victory of his career, with his father, Milton Grant, in the No. 55 Sentry Self Storage/Springhill Suites Porsche 991.1 finishing second. Brion Gluck in the No. 47 The Gallant Few/Scoville Vodka Factory Five GTM rounded out the podium. Following the event, Carey Grant was awarded the ChillOut Keep Cool Move of the Race.
“I really enjoyed today,” said Grant. “The race had a really crazy start. I got hit pretty hard from behind on the first lap, and my team and I were having an argument over whether or not they needed to try and rip my bumper cover off during that first caution. I won the argument because I was driving. It was a great race; thank you to Trans Am.”
In GT, Billy Griffin led from flag to flag in his No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang.
“It was a good race,” said Griffin. “There was obviously a lot of attrition out there, I’m not sure how many people actually finished the race. I had a lot of fun and I really love this place; it’s beautiful.”
The broadcast of today’s race, presented by Franklin Road Apparel, will air on CBS Sports Network on Thursday, October 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Saturday, October 15 at 12:30 a.m. ET.
TA/XGT/SGT/GT next heads to Circuit of The Americas for the season finale November 4-6.