Adam Andretti in Trans Am victory lane. (Trans Am Photo)

A Birthday Win For Adam Andretti In Trans Am

BRASELTON, Ga. — Adam Andretti earned a birthday victory at the Mission Foods Road Atlanta SpeedTour in one of the closest finishes the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli has ever seen.

Driving a new Burtin Racing-designed chassis, Andretti started second and took over the lead when Chris Dyson slid through a competitor’s oil on lap 11. Andretti dominated in his nearly-perfect No. 17 Top Liner/Go Share Chevrolet Camaro, but Dyson mounted an incredible comeback from seventh place to cross the finish line just 0.159-seconds behind Andretti in the Bennett/BridgeHaul Classic.

Dyson started the race from the pole in his No. 16 Gym Weed Ford Mustang and showed impressive speed after the wave of the green flag, initially opening a one-second lead over Andretti. However, Andretti was able to slowly reel Dyson back in, closing the gap to as little as 0.2-seconds while the TA cars navigated lapped traffic.

On lap 11, Wally Dallenbach in the No. 41 Ultimate Headers Ford Mustang, who was running eighth in class at the time, experienced a sudden engine failure, dropping oil on the racetrack before retiring to the paddock. When Dyson hit the spot of the engine failure, he slid through the dropped oil, resulting in a spin that relegated him to the seventh position.

Following a full-course caution for cleanup, Andretti controlled the class, followed closely by Paul Menard in the No. 3 Menards Ford Mustang and Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro. Menard tailed Andretti, while Dyson had a prolonged battle with sixth-place Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette.

Dyson finally got around Ruman on lap 24, while Andretti and Menard opened up a large gap in front of Drissi and the other TA competitors. Unfortunately, Menard pulled off the racing surface before crossing the line on lap 25 due to a power failure, which forced him to retire.

With Menard out of contention, Andretti’s lead over second opened substantially. Boris Said in the No. 2 Weaver Racing Dodge Challenger made his way to second-place Drissi and the two engaged in a battle for position. Unfortunately, the two cars touched and Drissi lost traction and spun, dropping back to sixth in class.

Now around Ruman, Dyson continued his campaign to the front, making his way up to third. Meanwhile, second-place Said closed the gap on Andretti, cutting more than 10 seconds down to less than two, while posting faster and faster lap times. With only one lap remaining, Said drastically slowed, as a carburetor issue affected his fuel mileage and he had to coast to the finish line with no gas. Without Said in front of him. Dyson made an amazing charge in the final turns, closing a four-second disadvantage down to a mere 0.159-seconds by the time the checkered flag waved over the photo finish. Andretti and Dyson were followed by Keith Grant (No. 40 Drissi Motorsports/Showtime Chevrolet Camaro), Said and Ruman.

“Those who know me, friends, family, fans, know that I’m usually not speechless,” said Andretti. “I decided to sit in the car for a moment to reflect, because you don’t get to do this all the time. These wins are special; they don’t come around every day. This is proof. This is everyone in our group living out their dream. I’m the one sitting behind the wheel, but Claudio Burtin had a dream to build and design his own racecar and win with it in the Trans Am Series.”

“Damon [Lockhart] had a dream to fabricate this car from the ground up, and it’s now a winner in the Trans Am Series,” Andretti continued. “Terry [St. Martin]’s dream has come true. He’s been working with this group since its beginning, and he, too, watched this develop from the ground up. I can’t leave out the support of my wife, Tabitha, and all my family at home.

“There’s a lot to be proud of here with this group. The Top Liner/Go Share Camaro didn’t miss a beat. I got to a point that I could manage the race; I haven’t been able to do that ever in my Trans Am career, and they gave me that. I’m very humbled. Thank you to everybody, thanks to all the fans.”