NASHVILLE ― Fourteen-year-old Brent Crews went back-to-back, winning the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Challenge presented by Race for RP at the Music City Grand Prix.
Crews stalked Connor Mosack for much of the event before making a late-race pass for the victory.
This comes after Crews became the youngest winner in Trans Am history last month when he took the checkered flag at Road America.
Thomas Merrill, driver of the No. 26 BridgeHaul/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang, earned his second pole of the season when he set a record-breaking lap in qualifying.
Unfortunately, when the green flag waved, Merrill was overtaken by Mosack in the No. 28 Open Eyes/Franklin Road Apparel Ford Mustang, Crews in the No. 70 Trackhouse Ford Mustang and Scott Borchetta in the No. 48 Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers Ford Mustang.
Merrill took back the third position by lap nine, but in an attempt to pass Crews, he made contact and seriously damaged his rear wing, forcing him onto pit road and out of contention for the win.
An incredibly fast Mosack held the lead through multiple restarts, but as the laps clicked by, Crews was never far behind. Meanwhile, Borchetta was passed for the third position by Connor Zilisch in the No. 5 Silver Hare Racing Camaro on lap nine. Borchetta regained the third spot by lap 15 when Zilisch grazed the wall and cut down a tire.
As the field came to lap 23, Mosack could no longer hold off Crews and the 14-year-old passed him for the lead.
On lap 30, a full-course caution slowed the field and seemed that it would allow Mosack another shot at the lead, but a long cleanup effort delayed the restart as the 75-minute race clock continued to tick down. Finally, when it was determined there was not enough time to allow a restart, the white flag was waved and the race came to a conclusion with only 34 of the proposed 46 laps completed.
Crews was declared the winner, followed by Mosack and Borchetta, who earned his first-career Trans Am podium finish. Teammates Adam Andretti in the No. 86 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang and Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang rounded out the top five.
Matos, who was tied for the lead with Merrill, will now lead the standings as a result of Merrill’s misfortune.
“I just want to thank the Lord, none of this would be possible without Him,” said Crews in victory circle. “All glory to the Lord. I want to thank Scott Borchetta and everybody for putting on an amazing show at this amazing track. I want to thank Justin Marks and Trackhouse for all they do for me and all the support they give me. And I want to thank my team, Nitro Motorsports.
“We struggled in the beginning of the weekend, and they never stopped working. They worked all night, they get up early and they’re the first ones at the track; they just keep on working. They gave me the fastest race car and here we are with the win.”
“I want to thank Mr. Borchetta and everybody who puts on this race; it’s an unbelievable weekend,” Mosack said. “It’s so good to have Open Eyes on the car, Nacarato Truck Centers and Franklin Road Apparel. It’s tough to be this close to the win again this year. I led a lot of laps both years, and unfortunately, couldn’t get it done. I wish we’d had the chance for the race to finish under green. Overall, it was still a great weekend for us and hopefully we can be back and win it next year.”
“We’ve been working on this idea for so long,” Borchetta said. He is responsible for founding Big Machine Label Group, owns Big Machine Distillery and was a key component to putting on this weekend’s event. “We always thought, ‘How cool would it be to race across the bridge? How cool would it be to run red lights legally?’ This is such a great event. I’ve been saying ‘I’ve got to get on the podium’ for so long, and now we’re so close to being number one.
“In this TA2 class, we drive against such great drivers. Remember these two names: Connor Mosack and Brent Crews. You’re going to see them move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, you’re going to see them in the NASCAR Cup Series. For any of you hardcore race fans, you can remember when you saw these two rock it at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.
“These are two future stars of our sport. It’s an honor for me, as an older guy, to be up here racing with the kids.”
Following the event, Mosack was awarded the ChillOut Keep Cool Move of the Race and was presented with the Omologato custom-branded Trans Am watch after earning the Young Gun Fast Lap Award.
Scott Borchetta won the TA2 Masters award.