The 3rd round of the Trans Am West Coast Championship series took place on May 16th at Thunderhill Raceway. Coming off some tough luck at Laguna the Grr Racing team was looking to make a strong come back for the event, and her pace proved to be at the top of the charts.
After qualifying on Saturday Abbate put down her personal best lap time of a 1:49.2 earning her the 3rd place position on the grid. “I am so proud of our efforts and Anthony has put so much work into this car and it is really showing. Together we have worked hard to improve and it feels so good to be starting on the 2nd row for the race”, she shared.
Several competitors in the TA2 category were forced to make modifications to their vehicles due to the strict sound limits of the Northern California track. The Grr Racing team came equipped with a fully custom turn out exhaust which was worth the investment. “It was a really big commitment have this exhaust made, but, we have been here the last two years and it has been a serious issue for many teams” Crew Chief Anthony Philleo shared.
Sunday’s 100 mile feature event packed some exciting action from the drop of the green flag. Abbate maintained her 3rd place position for 12 laps of the race, showing great pace and catching the 2nd place car. Unfortunately, as she entered turn 3 she spun into the grass on the outside of the corner. She got the car fired up quickly, but she was high sided on a birm, leaving her immobile. Due to the heat of the engine a fire out broke around her in the dead grass surrounding her car. She exited the vehicle and tried pushing the car but it was wedged too tightly on the birm. Several laps later, the fire and safety crew towed her off the birm directly to the back paddock.
Abbate got right back on track and did her best to pick up where she left off. She ran extremely consistent lap times and worked her way through the entire field, passing every car at least once. She made up 1.5 laps and was running some of the fastest, most consistent lap times of anyone in the field.
“It is a bummer, but I have learned so much today,” Michele stated,
“it is gut wrenching to miss out on this awesome opportunity we had lined out for us, but, that’s racing, and I have so much to take away from this weekend. I am learning more and more everytime I hit the track in my TA2 car and it was so cool to have the pace to be up front. Our time will come”.
The next round of the Trans Am West Coast Championship series is a month away and will be at The Ridge in Shelton, WA June 13-15. Catch all the action then and stay tuned for some exciting announcements from the Grr Racing team! Don’t forget to download the official Grr Racing App for android devices!