Matthew Brabham earned his second victory in the Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, fending off teammate Chris Dyson on the final lap to claim his first win of the season and his second in just three starts. series. The win was a hard-fought one, as Brabham took on the highly competitive Kaz Grala and the ever-fast Dyson to take the checkered flag.
When the green flag was waved for the 100-lap race, poleman and first entrant Grala in the No. 2 Tech/STEEL-IT Weaver Dodge Challenger chassis battled side-by-side with Brabham in the No. 21. Brabham took the lead for the first lap, but Grala regrouped and took the lead before the end of the second circuit. Once back in front, Grala held on to the lead until halfway through the race, but the CD Racing cars of Brabham and Dyson were never far behind. Grala finally ceded the lead to Brabham on lap 25. The regular NASCAR driver maintained his fast pace from second until nine laps later when his Challenger began to emit smoke. He was forced off the track with a differential issue on lap 34, ending his Trans Am debut and bringing out a full course warning.
When the race resumed on lap 40, Brabham still had his work cut out for him, with teammate Dyson’s No. 20 Ford Mustang ALTWELL now in second place. He held it off until a car in the sand trap knocked out the race’s second double yellow two laps later, leaving just one lap of the race green-flagged after the cleanup was complete. On the final lap, Dyson challenged Brabham until the final corner, but it wasn’t enough, and it was Brabham in the lead when the checkered flag waved. Staying cool under pressure in scorching temperatures, Brabham also received the ChillOut Keep Cool Move of the Race. Brabham picked up his second win in just three career Trans Am starts. His first came at the Circuit of The Americas in last season’s finale when he replaced Chris Dyson.
David Pintaric in the #57 Kryderacing Ford Mustang returned to the track after a three-race hiatus and rode a stellar race at his home track, racing just behind Dyson throughout the event and claiming third place on the podium. He was followed by Ken Thwaits in the No. 7 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro in fourth and Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Mustang in fifth.
“These cars are some of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven in my life,” Brabham told Victory Lane. When you have a team like Chris’s and the boys are doing such a good job getting the car ready, it’s just a dream for me to come here and drive. I told COTA [Circuit of The Americas] there’s no other team I could have walked into and felt right at home with those guys. Today was a tough race; I was pushing the whole race, and that was kind of our game plan. I said to Chris, ‘I’m going to push the whole race, and if you want to save tyres, you can save tyres.’ I think if it wasn’t for those yellows at the end, Chris probably would have had me. I had nothing left; I had no more tires and I pushed hard throughout the race. It’s a great shame for Kaz [Grala]; it was great running with him at the start of the race and we had some great side-by-side battles. He’s an amazing driver and I’m sure he would have been there with us at the end if he hadn’t had any problems. Thanks to Chris, everyone at allgram and everyone at CD Racing for making me feel at home.
“It was one of the best races I’ve been in,” Dyson said on the podium. “Kaz came over this weekend and brought Pancho Weaver’s car back, and they were right out front. It’s fantastic for the series. Matt did a great job all weekend and we were neck and neck the whole time. We had a slightly different strategy; he was a bit more aggressive on the tires and I think that helped him at the start. I was holding a bit in reserve, but these yellows got in the way, otherwise it could have been really interesting. We just wanted to make sure the home calls for Dad and Humaid [Masaood] were positive so we kept it clean but we ran to the end because we wanted to put on a great show here.
“Being here on the podium is really good; we cannot take this for granted,” an emotional Pintaric said. “It’s been a tough road for the past two years with health issues and new car bugs, but it’s so good to be back. In January this year I had COVID-19 quite badly “I was down for a good eight weeks. We went to Sebring and I couldn’t finish three laps. It was a long road. In May I started to regain my strength and we had a little trouble with the car. Last week we were at the June sprints at Road America and we finally got it. It’s so good to be back.
The SGT race saw a father/son podium, with Milton Grant in the #55 Sentry Self Storage/Springhill Suites Porsche 991.1 winning the class and his son Carey Grant in the #6 Grant Racing Porsche GT3 Cup joining him on the podium. third. Lee Saunders overcame a mid-race pit stop to finish second in his #44 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper.
“I want to thank Jesus Christ, my saviour,” Grant said. “This is my first Trans Am win, so after racing my 500th race here in Mid-Ohio last year, it feels really good. My wife Ruth came to the race and she supports me all the time, but she doesn’t usually come with me to the track. It’s great to have her here. Now she has to be at every race so that I can win every race. I want to thank my team for having did everything that needed to be done to get me here.
In GT, Seth Lucas in the #29 Ave Motorsports Audi R8 won his first race of the season, followed by Jack Rinke, making his production debut in the #33 Chevrolet Performance Camaro.
“It was awesome; I want to thank everyone for coming,” Lucas said. I would like to warmly thank Motul for sponsoring us, everyone at Ave Motorsports for supporting us this weekend.
Today’s race broadcast, presented by Franklin Road Apparel, will air on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, July 3 at 2 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Monday, July 4 at 1 a.m. ET.
TA returns to the track next weekend, July 1-3, when Ryan Companies showcases the Trans Am 100s at Road America.