Connor Zilisch Earns Fourth Win of 2023 at World Wide Technology Raceway
MADISON, Ill. (September 23, 2023) ? The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s inaugural race at World Wide Technology Raceway was a thrilling event combining the speed and muscle of the TA and GT classes with the excitement and youth of the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series. Both Chris Dyson in the No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang and Connor Zilisch in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro dominated their respective classes, while a tight SGT battle showcased close racing and crowned a first-time winner in Trans Am’s first visit to the St. Louis area in 38 years, with Richard Forsythe taking home the SGT win in his No. 58 Sambuca Restaurant/GSpeed Chevrolet Corvette.
Notes of Interest:
Both Chris Dyson and Connor Zilisch earned their fourth wins of 2023. Dyson has the most TA wins of any driver this season, while Zilisch is tied with Brent Crews for the most victories in TA2 this year.
The TA2 podium consisted entirely of Young Guns: 17-year-old Zilisch, 15-year-old Crews and 22-year-old Austin Green.
St. Louis-native Grant Palmer finished 11th in class in his first-career Trans Am Series start.
SGT winner Richard Forsythe earned his first-career Trans Am win in only his second-career series start and first of the season.
Connor Zilisch in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro dominated the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway, earning the Motul Pole Award in qualifying and leading every lap before securing his fourth win of the 2023 season.
Once the green flag waved, Zilisch immediately opened up a gap in front of second place and maintained it the entire race while the competitors behind him jockeyed for position. Taylor Gray in the No. 60 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang made an early run at Zilisch, advancing up to second from his third-place starting spot. By lap nine, Austin Green in the No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang reclaimed his second-place starting position, attempting to hunt down Zilisch, but on lap 25, Brent Crews in the No. 70 Franklin Road Apparel/Mobil 1/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang took over the runner-up spot. Crews and Green remained second and third, respectively, until the checkered flag waved, leading to an all-Young Gun podium.
Behind the podium-finishers, Thad Moffitt in the No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro had an impressive run, moving up from 11th to fifth by taking fresh tires during the late-race caution. Championship contender Rafa Matos was forced to retire due to mechanical issues on lap 10, resulting in a disappointing 27th-place finish. Thomas Merrill, however, rebounded from issues at Watkins Glen by finishing fourth in his No. 26 Bennett/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang, keeping his championship hopes alive and earning the COOLSHIRT Cool Move of the Race. Gray, who held the fourth position for much of the race, ultimately finished 19th due to a suspension issue.
“This feels really good,” said Zilisch. “We’ve been through some adversity lately and we had to overcome some issues on our side, so to get this win is really special to me. It’s really exciting to come to a place that this series hasn’t raced at in 38 years, get the win and just dominate the race. We led every lap. When I was out front there in the early stages, I was just begging every lap, ‘tell me the gap, tell me the gap.’ I wanted to know how much I had to save tires in the beginning stages and just wanted to manage at around a five-second gap, and I was able to do that. I had a really good Chevrolet Camaro. Silver Hare Racing has worked hard to give me a really good car the last few races and it shows. We’ve been fast everywhere we’ve gone. To come here and capitalize on it and get ourselves our fourth win of the year is really cool. I’m looking forward to moving on to the last two races of the year. Hopefully, we can make that six wins and keep up this momentum.”
TA2 Top 10:
1. Connor Zilisch, No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro
2. Brent Crews, No. 70 Franklin Road/Mobil 1/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
3. Austin Green, No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang
4. Thomas Merrill, No. 26 Bennett/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro
5. Thad Moffitt, No. 43 Safety-Kleen/SLR-M1 Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro
6. Thomas Annunziata, No. 90 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
7. Jace Denmark, No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang
8. Adrian Wlostowski, No. 3 Hawk Performance/AMT Motorsport Ford Mustang
9. Darin Mock, No. 51 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang
10. Josh Sarchet, No. 77 LIQUI MOLY/CUBE 3 Ford Mustang
TA2 Pro/Am Winner:
Chris Durbin, No. 25 AMSOIL Chevrolet Camaro
COOLSHIRT Cool Move of the Race:
Thomas Merrill, No. 26 Bennett/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro
Omologato Watches Fastest Lap of the Race:
Connor Zilisch, No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro
Serck Precision Clean Up:
Grant Palmer, No. 10 BC Race Cars Ford Mustang
Bassett Hard Charger:
Grant Palmer, No. 10 BC Race Cars Ford Mustang