Tomy Drissi Victorious in Trans Am Series Race at Watkins Glen
In a race that saw four different leaders, it was Tomy Drissi and the No. 8 The Predator Chevrolet Camaro who emerged with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli victory at Watkins Glen International. Mark Boden and Warren Dexter captured TA3 and TA4 class victories as well, while Lawrence Loshak saw his hopes for a TA class championship buoyed by a second-place finish.
Drissi began the 102-mile, 30-lap contest around Watkins Glen’s Grand Prix course in sixth position, moved to fourth on the second lap, then adopted a more patient strategy, one that paid off as misfortune struck at the front of the field as the race progressed.
Pole sitter Boris Said, in the No. 21 Monster Energy/ Weaver Concepts Dodge Challenger, would retire due to wheel bearing issues that saw the 21 down a wheel on the 13th lap while running third. Ernie Francis, Jr., would see his No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang lose an oil pump belt on the 11th lap while in the lead. Paul Fix, in the No. 4 StopFlex/ Car Coach Ford Mustang, would suffer driveline issues after leading for 11 laps. All the while Drissi continued to climb. The No. 8 would take first position on the 22nd lap and hold it through the checkered flag.
For Drissi, the victory had a hint of redemption, after finishing a close second here in 2009, his championship-winning season.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been here,” said Drissi. “Last time at Watkins Glen I clinched the championship with a second-place finish, but it was a bit of a catch-22. I was so happy but, at the same time I lost that race by so little. I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get a shot at this again. Now Trans Am is back at the Glen, and I didn’t want to put to much pressure on myself. The start of the race was just crazy; and I probably could have pressed my advantage, but I decided to lay back and play it slow, see what happens. I hate it for the guys that ended up having trouble, especially Boris; he was so fast.”
Still, Drissi had to earn his win, holding off his hard-charging Burtin Racing teammate Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 2 Pennzoil/ ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro, over the course of the final six laps.
“My teammate, Lawrence Loshak…. That might go down as one of the coolest races between two drivers,” said Drissi. “I was faster in some places, but he was faster in others. He could have shook me loose or gotten into my quarter panel, but he didn’t. There was respect there, and I owe him one. I want to see him get some wins coming up; he doesn’t need my help — he’s pretty quick. My hats off to Trans Am, Watkins Glen and my family, Lacy and the kids, thank you all.”
For Lawrence Loshak the second place finish, after a first lap pit stop to clear grass from the grill of the No. 2, paired with the misfortune of the No. 98 boosts him to second place in the championship points only 28 behind Francis while giving Burtin Racing a one-two finish atop the podium.
“It’s back on,” said Loshak. “We’re gone to make this championship count till the last race. This was a huge points weekend for us, racing with our teammate at the end, a long battle with Amy Ruman; there’s no car I’d rather be driving, there’s no other team I’d rather be racing for, there’s no other sponsors I’d rather be representing. We’re closing in on Ernie (Francis); we’re coming for you Ernie.”
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