Ave Clinches Trans Am Title in Qualifying
While Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC, earned his first career Trans-Am Series pole position, Tony Ave, of Maiden, NC, wrapped up the 2010 series championship in qualifying yesterday at Road Atlanta. Starting from P2 on the grid earned Ave 6 points in the Championship, increasing his lead beyond anything that the closest contender, RJ Lopez, can gain this weekend.
“We were obviously a little bit slower on stickers than we were on old tires and we had a misfire earlier in the week that we thought we fixed. It’s disappointing to not get on the pole because we clearly should have, but good job to everybody that helps me. We’re on the front row, and the championship we don’t have to worry about, so we can just race hard tomorrow,” commented Ave on his series victory.
Ave has been a Trans Am competitor for 16 years, but only won his first race in 2010. He’s not looked back since, dominating the series with five wins and seven poles in the previous nine races.
Skeen turned in an early lap at 1:19.321 (115.278 mph) in Agee Racing’s #81 ECR Chevrolet Corvette, which was more than enough to give him the pole for today’s race.
“It went really awesome,” Mike Skeen explained. “We started out with a different setup than we had yesterday. We tried something new in yesterday’s practice and didn’t really like it, so we went back towards where we were on the promoter test day and made a small change based on that base setup. It was awesome. The Agee Racing guys have been doing an awesome job.”
RJ Lopez will start third in the #6 Chevrolet Corvette with a best lap time of 1:20.403 (113.727 mph). This is his sixth top-three starting spot of the season and his fourth in a row. He heads into the race looking for his third victory of the season on Friday.
“We’re pretty close to Tony and we’re actually holding onto second place there. Mike Skeen did an awesome job. He’s really fast, so good for him. I’m happy with the time, I’m happy I qualified third, but I know there’s a little more in the car,” said Lopez.
Today’s 36 lap (91.44 miles) event at Road Atlanta is scheduled to take the green flag at 4:35 p.m. ET and is subject to a 90-minute time limit.