ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 9, 2023) ? 15-year-old Brent Crews went back-to-back at Road America, winning the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series race for the second year in a row. Crews started from the pole and led every lap of the 3-Dimensional Services Group 100, and his victory earned him the inaugural 3-Dimensional Services Group Triple Track Challenge trophy.
Crews captured the Motul Pole Award for the second-consecutive season by setting a new track record during qualifying. At the wave of the green flag, while other competitors splayed out behind him, Crews pulled ahead of the crowd in his No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang and began to open a gap. Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang jumped ahead of second-place starter Dillon Machavern in the No. 17 SLR-M1 Race Cars Ford Mustang, but quickly got into third-place starter Carson Kvapil in the No. 8 SLR-M1 Race Cars Camaro. The two cars went off the track and into the gravel trap, causing damage to both vehicles. By the completion of lap 1, defending champion Thomas Merrill in the No. 26 Bennett/HP Tuners/Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang took over the second position. While Merrill got close to Crews a few times and tried to make the pass, he and Crews ran first and second for the remaining 24 laps, crossing the finish line in that order.
The real fight was behind Crews and Merrill, with several hard battles waged and a few drivers making major gains after starting in the rear of the field. Machavern ran third for seven laps, but a flat right-rear tire took him off the racing surface and resulted in his early retirement. A big battle heated up between Connor Zilisch (No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Camaro), Jade Buford (No. 48 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Mustang) and Argentine driver Mariano Werner (No. 12 Memo Corse/Mike Cope Racing Mustang), and the three jostled for third through fifth. It appeared that Zilisch would win the fight for the third podium spot, but he suffered a flat tire on the white flag lap, leaving Buford to cross the finish line third. Werner ultimately finished fourth, and Austin Green in the No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Camaro rebounded from a 35th-place starting position and early damage to round out the top five when the checkered flag waved. Other impressive runs included Thomas Annunziata (No. 90 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) finishing sixth after starting 13th, Thad Moffitt (No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Race Cars Camaro) advancing from 16th to eighth, and Adrian Wlostowski (No. 3 Hawk Performance/AMT Motorsport Ford Mustang) working his way up to the ninth position after starting 34th.
“I want to thank the Lord; none of this would be possible without him,” said Crews from the podium. “The No. 70 was just incredible. I especially want to thank Nitro Motorsports for everything they do, [team owner] Nick [Tucker] and everyone at this team. Being able to have a racecar like this to drive around this beautiful facility for 25 laps is just a great feeling. The fact that they can give me a racecar that is that good for that long and keeps getting faster, it’s just amazing. Everybody on this car just worked so hard. I also want to give a big thanks to Ken Thwaits and Franklin Road Apparel for all they do for me. Hopefully we can come back next year.”
Notes of Interest
Brent Crews has gone back-to-back at Road America, winning both the Motul Pole Award and race twice in his two starts at the track.
This is Crews’ third victory of the season. He previously won at NOLA Motorsports Park and Race 1 of the Detroit Grand Prix.
Crews won the inaugural 3-Dimensional Services Group Triple Track Challenge, scoring two wins and a second-place finish during the four-race tournament.
Last year at Road America, Crews made history as the youngest pole winner in Trans Am history at 14 years, three months and three days old. The following day he became the series’ youngest winner ever at 14 years, three months and four days old.
TA2 Top 10:
1. Brent Crews, No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang
2. Thomas Merrill, No. 26 Bennett/HP Tuners/Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang
3. Jade Buford, No. 48 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Ford Mustang
4. Mariano Werner, No. 12 Memo Corse/Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang
5. Austin Green, No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Chevrolet Camaro
6. Thomas Annunziata, No. 90 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
7. Darin Mock, No. 51 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
8. Thad Moffitt, No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro
9. Adrian Wlostowski, No. 3 Hawk Performance/AMT Motorsport Ford Mustang
10. Barry Boes, No. 32 BCR/Accio Data Chevrolet Camaro
Bruce Nesbitt, No. 50 BrakeOMeter/Orion Motorsports Ford Mustang
TA2 Pro/Am Winner:
Danny Bender, No. 36 Bravo Trailers Chevrolet Camaro
COOLSHIRT Cool Move of the Race:
Thad Moffitt, No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro
Omologato Watches Fastest Lap of the Race:
Brent Crews, No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang
Serck Precision Clean Up:
Adrian Wlostowski, No. 3 Hawk Performance/AMT Motorsport Ford Mustang
Bassett Hard Charger:
Patrick Utt, No. 49 RaceQuip/Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet Camaro
The re-broadcast of today’s race will air on MAVTV on Thursday, July 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series next hits the streets of Nashville for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on August 3-5.