SEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Tony Ave dominated the Trans Am Series field all weekend long at Sebring International Raceway, setting a track record with a lap of 1:59.307 during qualifying on his way to the pole position. He also led the field for the first 23 laps in the 27-lap race until spinning out, which allowed his teammate Doug Peterson to move in front and take the checkered flag.
"Tony had some issue, I don't know what it was," Peterson said. "It was a pretty big spin."
Ave and Peterson started next to each other in their Chevrolet Corvettes on the front row, but Peterson got off to a slow start, as he was quickly passed by several drivers, but made his way to second place when Ave suffered his mishap.
"When you're driving with these people you really have to watch your mirrors and I think I was looking in the mirrors a little too much," Peterson said. "They were going by."
Cliff Ebben, driving a Ford Mustang, was able to take second place and Amy Ruman passed last year's defending champion, Simon Gregg, to place third. Ave was able to get back on the track and finished fifth after suffering what he believed was a broken differential.
In the TA2 class, Cameron Lawrence placed first in his Chevrolet Camaro and was followed by Robert Huffmaster, also driving a Chevrolet Camaro. Tom West placed third in his Ford Mustang.
In the TA3 production class, David Seuss placed first in his Porsche 996 GT3, with Tim Gray placing second in his Porsche GT-3 Cup 997, and defending TA3 champion Chuck Cassaro placed third in his Ford Mustang.
The field of 38 cars was the largest field for a Trans Am race since 39 were entered at Sebring in 2001.
The day was a bit of a historic celebration for the Trans-Am Series, as the first Trans-Am race ever was held at Sebring in 1966. The winner of that race, Bob Tullius, was on hand to give the command to "start your engines" as well as hand out the post-race trophies.
The Grand Am Series has featured a number of prominent drivers, including Tommy Kendall and Scott Sharp, both multiple title winners who will be competing in the 12 Hours of Sebring, as well as notable names such as Mark Donohue, Scott Pruett, Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Peter Gregg.
Sebring was the first race of the 10-race 2013 season. The next race will be at Canadian Tire Mosport Park on May 19. The series concludes on Nov. 17, at Daytona International Speedway.
For more information on the Trans Am Series visit www.gotransam.com.