For the first time since its 2017 inception, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship will host a doubleheader race weekend, featuring two 75-mile rounds at Sonoma International Raceway October 9-11.
In 2018, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship renewed Trans Am’s long tradition of fender-to-fender racing at Sonoma Raceway after a 14-year hiatus, and this season with the doubleheader event, in addition to the round held earlier this year, 2020 will mark another historical season with the fabled California circuit.
With the Portland round cancelation, the last staged race for the West Coast Championship was at Sonoma Raceway in August. Local fan favorite Greg Pickett dominated the round, lapping every car in the field besides second-place finisher Simon Gregg. The special victory marked Pickett’s fifth Trans Am win in four different decades at the same track. Pickett looks to visit the top-step twice this weekend at Sonoma, potentially expanding his career-win tally to seven at Sonoma.
Pickett’s long-time rival Gregg will miss the double-points weekend due to schedule conflicts as he focuses his efforts this weekend on the SCCA National Runoffs at Road America. (Entry List)
But, returning to the West Coast lineup is Thomas Merrill, piloting the Tom Nelson prepared No. 62 Racecars 4 Rent Ford Mustang, who is sure to challenge the No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang up front. The California native got his first taste of Trans Am competition competing on the West Coast before moving full time to the National series. With only two rounds in the bag for the West Coast, and a double-points weekend ahead for Sonoma, Merrill’s return has the potential to upset the TA2® powered by AEM championship with his goal to break the class track record.
“I’m excited to join Tom Nelson and his team for the West Coast round at Sonoma,” said Merrill. “Sonoma is like a second home for me, so anytime I can race there I leap at the opportunity. Nelson Motorsports has a great stable of Mike Cope chassis, so it should fit like a glove. I can’t wait to get going and see if we can’t set a new track record for the class.”
TA2® points leader Matthew Butson will also miss the weekend, opening the opportunity for Tim Lynn, second-place in TA2®points, to close the gap on the championship, scoring double points for Saturday and Sunday. The double points weekend will also provide a tie-breaker for Mitch Marvosh and Michele Abbate who are tied for third in the TA2® title chase.
The mixed class fender-to-fender racing will also feature starters in the SuperGT and GT classes with class leaders Carl Rydquist, driving the SGT No. 4 MyRaceShop.com/Tel-Tac/Mendeola Factory Five Racing GTM, and Joe Bogetich, in the GT No. 65 Westover Corporation Chevrolet Camaro, to extend their points lead.
Adding the additional race to Sonoma will condense the timetable for the weekend with testing, practice, and qualifying all on Friday (October 9), the first combined class 75-mile race will start Saturday at 1:35 p.m. Pacific. The weekend will wrap up on Sunday with a 75-mile finale going green at 12:45 p.m. Pacific. Fans can follow live timing and score on TransAm.com/LiveTiming or on Race Monitor.