Will Rodgers was once again in a class of his own, leading from flag to flag to earn the overall victory in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Western Championship’s debut at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch with his XGT class Mustang. Rodgers earned the overall Motul Pole Award and held his lead during the caution-filled event, finishing the race with an impressive gap over second place.

Meanwhile, Brody Goble in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series led from start to finish to earn his third victory of the season. After points leader Greg Tolson suffered a mechanical issue early in the race, Goble’s win allowed him to take the top spot in the standings for the first time this season.

This was Rodgers’ fourth win of the season in four starts. He was the overall race winner in three of those victories.

It was Goble’s third win of the season. He has won from the pole in all three of his 2023 victories. Goble now holds the points lead going into the season finale at Circuit of The Americas. This is the first time all season that he has topped the standings after missing the season-opener at Thunderhill Raceway Park.

Greg Tolson has held the lead in the TA2 standings since WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in May, but dropped to third after an early DNF.
Tim Rankin won the SGT class in his first-career Trans Am race.
JC Meynet earned his fourth win and seventh podium in seven races this season.

Rodgers in the No. 32 Chris Evans Race Cars & Design Ford Mustang, was uncontested in his domination of the XGT class. After starting the race from the overall pole position, he held the lead from start to finish. His only competitor in class, Michelle Nagai in the No. 72 Nagai Racing/Berkeley Jet Drive Chevrolet Camaro, also had a great deal of speed all weekend, starting second in class and sixth overall. Unfortunately, her car began to smoke heavily on lap four, causing her to get black flagged.

As she pulled off the track, it became evident that she had an engine fire, which brought out a full-course caution and ended her day. Rodgers continued to hold the overall lead for the remainder of the race despite several cautions bunching up the field, and took the checkered flag for the fourth time this season.

“The race went according to plan for us,” said Rodgers. “Being one of two XGT cars out here this weekend with Chris Evans Racing, we’re still out here debuting this car and showing people how dominant it is, performance-wise. It’s a great value opportunity for people to get involved and have a blast driving something with this much horsepower, this much grip, and this much tire. We proved that once again.

“The race was a little hairy with cautions and a lot of debris and stuff like that, so I didn’t get to show what this car could really do on a long run, but we still outpaced the field in the way that we wanted to. We had a good time, and the car is in one piece headed to COTA, so that’s what is most important. We’re looking forward to racing against all the other classes there. I want to thank every single person on this Chris Evans Racing team. Everybody with this program is why we’re so successful, why these cars are so good. I’m just honored to be able to race it and show why they’re the best in the business here in the Trans Am Series.”

Brody Goble took the green flag from the point position in his No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford/Cortex Racing Mustang, effortlessly leading his Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series competitors during the opening laps.

Greg Tolson, who led the standings coming into this weekend’s race, started from eighth in class but worked his way into the top five by the conclusion of the first lap. It appeared that he was coming for Goble until lap eight when his No. 8 GT Auto Lounge Ford Mustang began to overheat. Forced to retire, he was relegated to 23rd in the final results, which placed him last in his class.

Behind Goble, the rest of the top five started to settle in, and he was chased by Bobby Hodges (No. 88 NATC/Garage Row Racing Ford Mustang), Tim Lynn (No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang), Michael LaPaglia (No. 31 Papini’s Garage/F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang) and Michele Abbate (No. 30 Ghost Energy/Lucas Oil/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang). Together, the five endured three more cautions bunching the field and three more competitive restarts. On the final restart, Lynn was passed by LaPaglia.

In the last seven laps, Goble worked his way up to a two-second gap before crossing the finish line, followed by Hodges and LaPaglia, completing the podium, and Lynn and Abbate, rounding out the top five. With his victory, Goble took over the point standings lead with a 22-point advantage over Michael LaPaglia. Tolson dropped to third, 38 points behind Goble.

“There certainly weren’t many long runs during the race. I thought I’d have a little bit more comfort area than proved to be the case with all the restarts; everyone’s car stayed pretty fresh,” said Goble. “We set our fastest lap on the last lap of the race, as did Michael LaPaglia and Bobby Hodges, who were doing an awesome job and certainly keeping me honest there.

“It was tricky, but the team gave me a great car. I think we can make a couple changes to the car to help it for next time we’re here, but it was a good weekend. We qualified first and had never been here before, so we were up to speed right away. I just tried to focus ahead and not get caught up with what was behind me. The car is all good for COTA; this was a good little warmup for racing against the National Championship in two weeks. I’m excited, we’ll see how we stack up there. I want to thank Brown Bros. Racing and Cortex Racing. Just a big team effort this weekend, I’m glad I could get it done for them.”

Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series top five:
1. Brody Goble, No. 69 Brown Bros. Ford/Cortex Racing Ford Mustang
2. Bobby Hodges, No. 88 NATC/Garage Row Racing Ford Mustang
3. Michael LaPaglia, No. 31 Papini’s Garage/F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang
4. Tim Lynn, No. 71 RoofOptions Ford Mustang
5. Michele Abbate, No. 30 Ghost Energy/Lucas Oil/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang

As the only competitor taking the green flag in the SGT class, Tim Rankin in the No. 05 TCR IT Solutions/Accurate Construction Chevrolet Corvette cruised to victory. Starting 20th, he worked his way up as high as ninth, but ultimately finished 16th overall.

“The race was awesome,” said Rankin. “It was pretty eventful for my first race in Trans Am. I learned a lot and I’m just thankful for everything I have. I came here in April to learn the track with the Audi Club just so I wouldn’t be behind the eight ball when I came to a professional race, so this is my first race but second time here at Spring Mountain. It hurt me to have so many cautions, because in your mindset, you’re thinking about shifting and all the stuff going on, and then it just stops and you wait. And then you get going and you wait again. It was interesting. I’ll be back for next season and ready to go.”

JC Meynet in the No. 28 Killer Shrimp Racing Chevrolet Corvette did not have an easy run to victory, but he was still able to claim the win in the very close GT race. Starting first in class, he maintained the lead until the second restart on lap 13, when he suddenly dropped to the back of the field with an issue. David Hampton in the No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 CS took over first, but Meynet fought his way past his competitors and reclaimed the point position on lap 20.

On the lap 26 restart, Hampton once again got around Meynet, but Meynet was back in the lead one lap later and began opening up a gap on second place. On the final lap, a car in another class bumped into Meynet and his gap was lost. He drag raced Hampton to the finish line, taking the checkered flag by 0.133s. Hampton finished second, and Martin Sarukhanyan in the No. 11 Cobalt Brakes Mazda Miata finished third. Joe Bogetich in the No. 65 Westover Controls Chevrolet Camaro finished fourth, and Larry Luck in the No. 16 Luck Services BMW M3 finished fifth.

“This is a beautiful facility, I think this is the first time they’ve ever had a real big race here,” said Meynet. “It’s definitely a tricky, kind of a narrow track, but an awesome track. I love the elevation and it’s a really nice facility. I was lucky enough to win again today. On the second restart, my car fell on its face and I had to cycle through all the electronics and go back to dead last, unfortunately. I think I passed the guys in my class at least three times today for the final win.

“The last couple laps, I had a pretty comfortable gap on David, and I got knocked by someone out of class. Luckily it didn’t impact my race, but it made the finish line a photo finish. That was a really close one, and luckily it worked out. The car ran great, the tires were great, the whole event was great. My whole crew did a great job. I don’t know how many full-course yellows we had, but that made it interesting. This was probably the first race where the leader didn’t lap us just because we got packed up with the yellow flags so often. It was definitely exciting. I can’t wait for Texas.”

GT results:
1. JC Meynet, No. 28 Killer Shrimp Racing Chevrolet Corvette
2. David Hampton, No. 14 AR Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 CS
3. Martin Sarukhanyan, No. 11 Cobalt Brakes Mazda Miata
4. Joe Bogetich, No. 65 Westover Controls Chevrolet Camaro
5. Larry Luck, No. 16 Luck Services BMW M3

The Western Championship returns to the track in two weeks for the combination National Championship/Western Championship season finale on November 5 at Circuit of The Americas.