In this weekends TA2 action at the Sebring International Raceway, Cameron Lawrence, driver of the No. 1 MOPAR Dodge Challenger and defending TA2 class Champion, captured his third consecutive win and in doing so started his title defense in stunning fashion—leading the majority of the race.
“You always want to try and stay out front of most of the chaos,” said Lawrence. “I was really pleased with the pole position we had and a little surprised by it. I wanted to run up front and just run a clean race. There was a little mishap up front so we fell back to second for a bit, but we were able to retake the lead. The car performed well—it’s great to have support here from MOPAR, they’re helping out, making sure the engine is reliable; they’ve done a great job. We’re happy with the win “
Rookie Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, finished second to Lawrence while rookie Lawrence Loshak in the No. 5 Raybestos Powertrain/ ETE Reman Ford Mustang finished third as all three models—Challenger, Camaro and Mustang—landed on the TA2 podium.
Lawrence started on pole but was overtaken immediately by the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang of Tony Buffomante, while Adam Andretti in the No. 44 Engineered Components Chevrolet Camaro started third. However, during the full course caution Trans Am officials determined that the No. 34 had jumped the start and was given a drive through penalty. Lawrence moved back up to first, Andretti to second and Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, moved into third.
Upon the restart, RJ Lopez immediately began to challenge Ruman for the lead, eventually overtaking her on the tenth lap of the race as Paul Fix moved into third after a drawn out battle with John Baucom, in the No. 86 Baucom Motorsports Ford Mustang, for the position.
The course then went back under yellow to retrieve the 91 TurnKey Industries Chevrolet Camaro of Joe Napoleon, which was stopped on course after contact with the wall at turn 17.
On the ensuing restart, RJ Lopez and Paul Fix simultaneously challenged Ruman for the lead with the cars going three wide into turn one, and while Lopez appeared to have the inside edge, Ruman was able to retain the lead into turn two. Shortly afterwards Lopez’s car began to fade as he slid back through the field, momentarily crossing paths with Simon Gregg who was charging up the field. Gregg had been as far back as eighth position but quickly moved up from fifth to third in three laps before assuming second position behind Ruman.
Lawrence was holding strong in the No. 1, but the field behind him was continuously changing and churning. Adam Andretti spent most of the race hot on Lawrence’s tail but began to fall back after the 22nd lap, as the No. 44 visibly slowed.
At that point Gar Robinson and Tony Ave, in the No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing Ford Mustang, began to close down the TA2 top five. Ave, who started 28th in the 30-car TA2 field, had worked his way up throughout the race, his progress slowed only by full course cautions. Ave’s charge from the back saw him rise up to third position before falling victim to the slick conditions of the track, an opportunity that Gar Robinson seized, moving up into third and then second position.
Ruman was able to outlast all challengers for the duration for the race, including Gregg’s charge which fell just short after the No. 59 of Gregg and No. 87 of Peterson made contact and Gregg spun and was unable to continue. Ruman would cross the finish line, capturing the Foametix Trans Am 100, Round 1 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship, her sixth career victory. Peterson and Fix would finish second and third while Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group Ford Mustang, and Kenny Bupp, in the No. 3 American Speed Factory Chevrolet Camaro, finished fourth and fifth.
While Lawrence captured the podium in TA2, rookies Gar Robinson and Lawrence Lowshak added fresh faces to the podium. Tommy Archer, in the Quad Systems/C3Controls Chevrolet Camaro, finished fourth while Tony Ave righted the No. 70 to secure fifth place.