Round six of the Trans Am2 Championship “The Berryman Trans Am Challenge at the Brickyard” was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the home of victory and dramatic defeat since 1911. The event was very special as team sponsor and usaautomotivesupply.com supplier Berryman Products was the title sponsor of the event.
Beau Blankenship Marketing Director for Berryman Products was on hand and made the trophy presentations in victory circle. “Being involved with as a sponsor of Stevens-Miller Racing led us to the event sponsorship. The Trans Am is a very exciting series and is a direct hit with our target customers. We’ve been to four races this year and it has been really great. Being the title sponsor was a natural extension of our program.”
Every track presents new challenges and new opportunities-this event’s challenge was the heat. With a temperature of 104 degrees, a track temp of 148, and in car temperatures approaching 160 the event was one of survival. Drivers, cars, teams, and spectators alike suffered in the sweltering conditions. Known around the world as The Brickyard- on this weekend it was more like the brick oven.
Leading the team was Ethan Wilson in his #49 Berryman, Liqui Moly, usaautomotivesupply.com, Stevens-Miller Racing, PREFIX powered Dodge Challenger. Starting seventh Wilson dropped to ninth on the start as the inside row failed to go at the same rate as the outside lane. Undeterred Wilson picked of one then including IndyCar veteran Paul Tracy whose car succumbed to mechanical woes. A third into the race with fifth in sight and seventh closing on his tail Wilson made a mistake and ran wide onto the grass dropping him to eleventh.
“Very early on the warning lights were blinking on my dash and I was in conversation with the crew. These cars are very fast and in the midst of the light blinking and discussing he situation with the crew I ran wide onto the grass. I had my choice-come in or to continue hoping it would go the distance. I chose
to ignore the lights and continue.”
On lap thirty the yellow came out bunching the pack with Wilson second from last in line for the single file restart. With twelve laps to go still in eleventh Wilson found himself second from last for the single file restart.
“There were a ton of lapped cars, we started lapping slower cars on lap three. There were several that were way off the pace making it very difficult to keep any kind of rhythm. And other lapped cars simply were not letting the lead lap cars by, it was really frustrating.”
Wilson’s determination paid off passing cars moving him to eighth at the flag. But it was not just the heat that took its toll on the field but also the officials. After the dust had settled penalties handed out and a disqualification for a technical violation Wilson’s final classification was a fine sixth place.
With not one but four cars in the field, the Stevens-Miller Racing team had its hands full. Besides Wilson Anthony Honeywell, Paul Terry, and Doug Peterson rounded out the entries for the weekend.
Anthony Honeywell in his Honeywell Competition, PREFIX, Camaro also had an down and up weekend. After an early pit stop Honeywell recovered finishing ninth. For the second race in a row Honeywell his ninth place finish was enough to win the Northern Cup. “The race was really hard,” Honeywell said. “I’m thrilled to have won the Northern Cup. Standing in Victory Circle Indianapolis was a dream come true. Receiving my trophy from team sponsor Beau Blankenship of Berryman made it even better. My PREFIX engine stood up to the heat and performed fantastic. The Stevens-Miller crew did an outstanding job.”
New to the team but not new to the TA2 category Doug Peterson the owner of the 3-Dimensional Services team. Peterson’s 3-Dimensional Services team of Camaros had series point leader Rafa Matos and Paul Tracy in his cars so he jumped into the number 11 Berryman, Liqui Moly, usaautomotivesupply.com, PREFIX powered Dodge of Stevens-Miller. Despite a spin and a pit stop Peterson followed Honeywell across the famous yard of bricks in 10th.
Paul Terry behind the wheel of the number 12 Berryman, Liqui Moly, usaautomotivesupply.com PREFIX powered Challenger also had his challenges. After a couple of off track excursions Terry was able to rebound to finishing 12 th in the 23 car field. “The track was slick and the heat was incredible,” Terry said. “Hats off to the crew, I know how hard they worked in the heat-it was miserable for everyone.”
Photos by: Chris Green & Steve Sharp