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Kyle Kelley weathers the wild CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series race to win at Laguna Seca

May 5, 2024

Kyle Kelley weathers the wild CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series race to win at Laguna Seca

Nagai wins third XGT race of 2024, Steve Goldman takes TA, David Hampton Tops GT

SALINAS, California (May 5, 2024) – After extreme rain and wind canceled Race 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Western Championship had blue skies when the green flag waved on Sunday. The CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series race was exciting, with multiple leaders battling for the win, intense battles throughout the field and a rotating top 10 as competitors dealt with mechanical issues and spins. Ultimately, it was Kyle Kelley in the No. 80 PK+k Properties/ Ford Mustang who took the checkered flag and earned his first Trans Am victory.

Notes of interest

  • This was Kyle Kelley’s first career victory in the Trans Am Series after 14 starts in the Western and National Championships.
  • Three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jim Guthrie scored his first Trans Am podium.
  • Michael LaPaglia, who led the TA2 points this weekend, finished 14th due to electrical problems.
  • XGT’s Michelle Nagai and TA’s Steve Goldman earned their third wins of 2024.
  • David Hampton is undefeated in the GT class this season.

CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 series:
With the grid for today’s race determined by combining the weekend’s two practice session times, Tim Barber in the No. 33 DIG Motorsports Ford Mustang started the race first in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series. Barber led the first twenty laps before being challenged by Tim Carroll in the No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro, who took over the points position. Two laps later, Barber made contact with Carroll, causing Carroll to spin and Barber to lose position, opening the door for Kyle Kelley in the No. 80 PK+k Properties/ Ford Mustang to take the lead.

Kelley led Barber, Barry Boes (No. 32 Accio Data/TRB Autosport Ford Mustang), rookie driver Caleb Shrader (No. 99 DIG Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro) and Tim Lynn (No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang). On lap 26, Shrader spun in Turn 2, only for Boes to experience a mechanical problem three laps later, forcing him to retire.

After a full caution, Kelley and Barber were followed by Lynn, Jim Guthrie (No. 27 Guthrie’s Garage Ford Mustang) and Carroll, who had worked his way back into the top five. The final laps of the race were wild, with five different cars in the top 10 spinning due to heated battles, shuffling the starting order. When the checkered flag waved, Kelley claimed his first Trans Am victory, followed by Barber and Guthrie. Sutherland fought his way into fourth place and Lynn crossed the finish line in fifth. After the race, Barber was penalized for avoidable contact with Carroll, dropping him to fourth in the finishing order.

“We let the race come to us,” Kelley said. “You know, the first half of the race we held back a little bit and let people burn their tires and cars a little bit. When we had a chance to take the lead, I thought, ‘That’s OK, I’ll let (Tim) Barber get it back in a minute.’ And then I thought, ‘Okay, I think we can keep up the pace.’ Then at the end I thought, ‘He’s not going to make it.’ I want to thank my children, my father. We have a great crew here. You know, they don’t look like much, but they do a good job,” Kelley concluded with a laugh.

CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series Top Five:
1. Kyle Kelley, No. 80 PK+k Properties/ Ford Mustang
2. Jim Guthrie, Guthrie’s Garage Ford Mustang No. 27
3. Ken Sutherland, No. 68 Kallberg Racing/Wyatt Fire Chevrolet Camaro
4. Tim Barber, No. 33 DIG Motorsports Ford Mustang
5. Tim Lynn, Ford Mustang No. 71 RoofOptions

CoolBoxx Coolest move of the race:
Tim Carroll, No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro

It was a frustrating day for all three XGT cars in today’s race, with all experiencing mechanical issues during the event. Second-in-class Tim Rankin in the No. 5 TCR IT Solutions Ford Mustang was the first to experience a problem when his brakes locked on pit road on lap 11, ending his day. Chris Evans in the No. 92 Central Welding Supply Ford Mustang was the next to fall victim to the track, breaking an axle on lap 22.

From first overall, Michelle Nagai in the No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro briefly relinquished the lead to TA2’s Tim Barber on the first lap before retaking it on the second lap. Once in control of the race, she held the points position until the restart on lap 34, when she began to experience a pedal problem and dropped to ninth. She dropped further to 13th, retiring on the white flag lap and eventually finishing 15th overall. As the last XGT car standing, she was awarded the win.

“It was a great race until the last restart.” Nagai said. “The pedal decided to go to the floor and said, ‘No, you’re not doing this today.’ We dealt with what we were dealing with. Anyway, it wasn’t what we wanted, but we had a good run. And you know what? We’re moving on to Portland thank you for keeping me clean. It was a good race. Tim Barber was pretty good at it today, so I appreciate him for keeping me clean every race.

XGT Results:
1. Michelle Nagai, No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro
2. Chris Evans, Ford Mustang, center weld facility #92
3. Tim Rankin, No. 5 TCR IT Solutions Ford Mustang

David Hampton in the No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport once again had the GT field to himself and spent the race working his way through the field and taking on TA2 competitors. After starting 21st overall, he climbed all the way to ninth place to take his fifth GT win of the season.

“This is really fun, and I’ll tell you what, I’m exhausted after so much riding,” Hampton said after also competing in the International GT this weekend. “All the TA2 guys, they were just absolutely amazing. They’re really great.” close, but we’re just figuring it out and I’m happy to be there. I hope they like it because it’s a lot of fun; the AR Motorsports team is absolutely amazing. They just work on the car; they get it so good. Thomas Merrill, my coach, is just incredible. Thanks to Martin, the crew chief, and John, who plugs me into that car every time. Thanks guys.”

GT results:
1. David Hampton, No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport

Steve Goldman, the only car in the TA class, took his third win of the season in the No. 13 LIG Chevrolet Corvette. Goldman started the race 20th overall and had worked his way up to 14th before the race’s final restart. Unfortunately, he suffered a mechanical problem after the green flag wave, forcing him to stop nine laps before the checkered flag.

“Winning a TA race at Laguna Seca feels great,” said Goldman. “And what a beautiful day compared to yesterday, huh? Our No. 13 LIG Racing Corvette was hooked up today and then the strangest thing happened on the final restart. I don’t know if it was the axle, the Detroit Locker or what, but as soon as I hit the gas it kept kicking sideways. So something was wrong. But until then it was fine.”

TA results:
1. Steve Goldman, No. 13 LIG Racing Chevrolet Corvette

Final details:
Full race results can be found here.

The Western Championship returns to action July 26-28 for a doubleheader at Portland International Raceway as part of the PIR SpeedTour.