Abbate Conquers Engine Issue and Races to the Checkered Flag

May 6th, 2019 (Las Vegas, NV) – The Trans Am West Coast Championship series presented by Pirelli joined the National Trans Am Series and SVRA for the Trans Am SpeedFest at Laguna Seca in Salinas, CA.  The series made the  return to the iconic WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway after a 15 year absence.

With only a few days to diagnose and repair the engine issues that were faced just a few days earlier at Auto Club Speedway, the Grr Racing team was definitely working over time.  Local Las Vegas engine specialist, Insane Power, helped the team troubleshoot and pinpoint the problem of a bad injector.

Photo Credit: Richard Pochop Photography

With no time to spare the Grr Racing team headed north to make their first debut in the National Trans Am series crossover event with hopes of turning their luck around.  “I have only raced at Laguna Seca once about 5 years ago,” driver and team owner Michele Abbate stated.  With both practice and qualifying being significantly shorter than expected due to on track incidents, the team was unable to gain valuable seat time, but, Michele was able to secure the P19 position overall and P4 for the West Coast division.

“We made a last minute gear change to the car and Michele adapted quickly and shaved 2 seconds off her time in 4 laps – thankfully we made the right decision”, Crew Chief Anthony Philleo shared.

With the 27-car TA2 field, the green flag dropped and all cars managed to make it through the first corner cleanly.  Abbate lost a few positions off the start, but managed to gain them back shortly after.  As she was glued to the bumper of the 29 car, and turning quicker lap times for several laps, Abbate was eventually pushed to the outside of the track which resulted in a spin in turn 11.

Photo Credit: Richard Pochop Photography

Getting back to the track as quickly as possible, she was able to maintain consistent lap times and began to slowly reel the feild back in.  Michele gained back her 19th place position (7th in the West Coast division) and received the checkered flag at the end of the 70 minute/100 mile race.  “This is a huge accomplishment to complete this race with the entire national TA2 field here at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.  Our team has worked very hard to get to this point and we continue to keep improving each race.  I am truly looking forward to Sonoma in 5 weeks.  We will be putting the work in and I can’t wait to return to the track where I debuted and took my first Run Offs podium finish last year!”, Michele shared.

Be sure to catch the action from the weekend on Michele’s social media channels and stay tuned for some exciting things coming from the team as they prepare for their next races!



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