Festival in the City of Music
The Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli heads to Nashville, TN for the second Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, where the TA2 class will battle it out in the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Cooler Challenge, co-hosting IndyCar , Indy Lights, SRO Motorsports Group and the Stadium SUPER Trucks. The marquee event, which is expected to host 100,000 race fans over the weekend, also includes military demonstrations, Pro Watercross on the Cumberland, fireworks and concerts by Tim McGraw, Aaron Lewis, Brantley Gilbert and Carly Pearce. This weekend’s entry list has 40 entries, up from last year’s 37.
The Party Before the Party: FanFest on Broadway
Thursday night, before the on-track action begins, the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will host FanFest on Broadway. The free event will take place on Broadway in downtown Nashville between 1st Avenue S and 4th Avenue S between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. local time.
The event will include show cars, sponsor presentations, a mini-grand prix, a Stadium SUPER Trucks exhibit and an IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge where teams will compete for $10,000 in prize money.
The Trans Am Series will feature seven race cars, with drivers present to sign autographs and hand out free gifts:
• Dylan Archer’s No. 0 MMR/FPEC Racing Group Ford Mustang
• Ford Mustang GHOST Energy n°30 of Michele Abbate
• Scott Borchetta Ford Mustang’s No. 48 Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers
• Ford Mustang Nitro Motorsports n°70 of Brent Crews
• Thomas Merrill’s #26 BridgeHaul/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang
• Connor Mosack’s Chevrolet Camaro Nic Tailor/IFS-SLR/M1 Racecars
• The Chevrolet Camaro #4 Franklin Road Apparel by Ken Thwaits
Denise Stefanie will sing the national anthem for the Trans Am race
Singer, songwriter and producer Denise Stefanie will sing the national anthem before the engines start for Saturday’s Trans Am race. Stefanie recently announced the release of her new single, “All In”, in support of Race for RP and the Relapsing Polychondritis Foundation to raise awareness and advance research into the rare autoimmune disease. Stefanie is an accomplished artist who has performed across the country as the lead singer of Cirque du Soleil. The song’s music video features footage of Race for RP riders, team members and supporters of the initiative.
CBS Sports Network airtime
This weekend’s TA2 race broadcast from the Music City Grand Prix, presented by Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers and Race for RP, will air on CBS Sports Network the week following the event.
The Big Machine Vodka Spiked Cooler Challenge airs for the first time on Saturday, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on Sunday, August 14 at 1:00 a.m. ET.
Local drivers/owners go home to Music City
Tennessee is home to only two riders in this weekend’s TA2 field, but the impact of those riders/owners is significant in the city of Nashville.
Scott Borchetta, driver of the No. 48 Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers Ford Mustang, calls Nashville home. Currently ninth in the TA2 standings, Borchetta is heading into the weekend with momentum, with three consecutive top-10 finishes in the last three events. In addition to being a fierce competitor and owner of Scott Borchetta Racing in Trans Am, Borchetta owns Big Machine Racing, which races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and scored its first win with Trans Am alum Tyler Reddick earlier this year. at Texas Motor Speedway. Prior to his racing efforts, Borchetta founded Big Machine Label Group (authorized sponsor of the Music City Grand Prix) and acquired Big Machine Distillery (producer of Big Machine Vodka).
Ken Thwaits, owner of Showtime Motorsports, competes full-time in the Trans Am TA class, where he currently sits second in the standings. This weekend he takes the wheel of the #4 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro with teammate and full-time TA2 driver Cameron Lawrence, eighth in the battle for the TA2 Championship. A native of Brentwood, Tennessee, Thwaits is also the CEO of Franklin Road Apparel, which is located 20 miles from Grand Prix Music City in Franklin, Tennessee.
New guaranteed winner
With only one event in the books for the Music City Grand Prix, there is only one previous winner: Mike Skeen. Skeen took the win in the 2021 event but is not competing this year, meaning we are sure to see a new winner in this weekend’s race. This weekend, Guy Cosmo is racing Skeen’s Mustang 89 3-Dimensional Services Group. Cosmo made his Trans Am debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this year, earning a fifth-place finish.
Last year’s best riders in this year’s field were Thomas Merrill and Connor Mosack, who took the podium with second and third place finishes, respectively.
Brent Crews breaks records
At just 14 years, three months and four days old, Brent Crews became the youngest winner in Trans Am Series history after dominating the TA2 event at Road America. The day before, Crews had won the title of youngest winner of the Motul Pole Award at 14 years, three months and three days. The North Carolina native now sits fourth in the points standings, just 11 points off third place and 44 points off the lead.
Making history is nothing new for Crews, who became the youngest National Midget winner at 13 in 2021. That season he won five races, two more than the series champion.
Race Liberante makes its Trans Am Series debut
This weekend in Nashville, karting star Race Liberante will make his Trans Am Series debut at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. The Race Factory owner will race the #59 Armada Analytics/Innoviv/Race Factory Ford Mustang for B2 Motorsports. Liberante has experience in various racing disciplines including karts, Legend Cars, late model NASCAR, Spec Miata, GT3 Cup, USF2000, Honda powered US Formula 4 Championship and more , winning more than a dozen championships.
Close points race now has a tie in mind
TA2 heads into round nine of the 2022 season with a tie at the top of the Championship standings and a tight points race. In the last outing of the series at Road America, a third-place finish was enough for Thomas Merrill to tie Rafa Matos in the No. 88 Ford Mustang of the Three-Dimensional Services Group to take the points lead. Merrill is on a roll from Sonoma Raceway, with two victories (Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio) and four consecutive podiums. Matos equals Merrill with two victories in 2022 (Sebring International Raceway, Sonoma), but leads him on the podium this season (three in total, against six). Connor Mosack is third in the points standings, 33 points behind the leaders, with Brent Crews and Mike Skeen not far behind in fourth and fifth.
Rookie Rankings and Young Gun Update
The Wilwood TA2 Rookie Rankings and the Peter Gregg Foundation Young Gun Rankings remain one of the closest points battles of the year, with multiple drivers in the hunt. Brent Crews’ victory at Road America was enough to defeat Evan Slater in the #35 Cube3 Architecture Camaro for the rookie leaderboard and fourth in the championship standings. Crews now holds a 13-point advantage over Slater and a 47-point lead over third-placed Dylan Archer.
Connor Mosack continues to lead the Young Gun standings 11 points ahead of Crews and looks set to claim his first victory very soon. Slater is now third in Young Gun points.