Thomas Merrill earned his second Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 race win in a row at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, backing up his victory in the series’ last outing at Lime Rock Park. Merrill stalked polesitter Connor Mosack from the second position for much of the race, taking the lead with a great pass on lap 27. Merrill was able to survive a wild restart and the remaining green-flag laps before being declared the winner on pit road during the second black flag of the day.
Mosack, in the No. 28 High Point University/Nic Tailor/SLR-M1 Racecars Camaro, earned his third Motul Pole Award of 2022, securing him the point position for the green flag. Followed by Merrill in the No. 26 BridgeHaul HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang, Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3Dimensi onal Services Group Ford Mustang, Guy Cosmo in the No. 89 3Dimensional Services Group Mustang and Brent Crews in the No. 70 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang, Mosack maintained the lead while the lineup behind him remained mostly unchanged. Cosmo and Crews began swapping positions on lap 11, with Crews ultimately claiming the fourth spot on lap 14.
A full-course yellow was displayed on lap 18, and the ensuing restart on lap 25 led to a mix-up of the top five. Merrill challenged Mosack hard, with Merrill taking over the lead on lap 27, while Crews overtook Matos for third. Just after Merrill’s pass, a full-course caution led to a black flag to rescue the No. 32 Accio Data Ford Mustang of Barry Boes from the China Beach sand trap. The restart on lap 30 was wild, with several competitors behind the top five making contact, going off the track and sustaining heavy damage. Crews elbowed past Mosack on the restart, taking over second place, and Merrill pulled out to lead once again. He maintained his position until a full-course caution was once again called on lap 35, leading to a second black flag. It was determined under the black flag that despite the clock being stopped, there would not be sufficient time to restart under green. The checkered flag was waved while cars were stopped on pit road, and Merrill was declared the victor, with Crews in second and Mosack in third.
“It was a long, hot race in the early phase, and Connor had a great pace out front,” said Merrill on the podium. “We knew we had something for him, but it was so close; it was hard to make a move. After the restart on lap 25, we were able to get close enough to get out front, and then it was just about clicking off the laps, staying clean and taking care of the car. It was tough on the restart after the black flag, because everyone heat soaked on pit lane while sitting there in the sun, so it was about cooling back down, getting the temps back in the brakes and tires, and going again. Fortunately, I got a good restart, and so did Brent . Brent was an animal on those restarts; My eyes were on him all the way to the final black flag, because I knew he was coming and I knew he had pace. I’m proud of both of us in our Mike Cope chassis; it’s been a good day for us.”
Following the event, Crews was awarded the ChillOut Keep Cool Move of the Race and the Omologato custom-branded Trans Am watch, earning the Young Gun Fast Lap Award. Curt Vogt in the No. 23 Cobra Automotive Ford Mustang won the TA2 Masters award.
The broadcast of today’s race, presented by Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers, will air on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Sunday, July 3 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
TA2 returns to the track next weekend, July 1-3, when Ryan Companies presents the Trans Am 100s at Road America.