Podium Finish for Abbate at Road Atlanta Honoring Her Brother

Michele Abbate TA2 Podium Photo by: JAck Shanlin


Podium Finish for Abbate at Road Atlanta Honoring Her Brother

It has been a very challenging off-season for driver Michele Abbate, affecting her both on and off the track.  Due to lack of funding, she was forced to opt out of the Trans Am TA2 season opener at Sebring, but thanks to her partners and sponsors she was able to take her first 2024 start at Round 2 of the Championship at Road Atlanta.

“Road Atlanta is a track that I truly enjoy racing at, and for it to be the first race of mine since my brother was killed I really wanted to do something special to honor him and raise awareness for the seriousness of driving under the influence.  It is my honor to pay a tribute to Michael on the passenger side of my #30 GHOST Energy Ford Mustang and I just know it will bring me good luck”, Michele shared Thursday morning at the track.

Michele Abbate honors her brother, Sgt. Michael Abbate, who was killed by a drunk driver while on duty on 11/30/23 – with a special livery tribute. Photo by: Jack Shanlin

Testing and Practice went well as Michele got reacclimated to the Nitro Motorsports prepared TA2 Mustang.  Weather was cooperating for the most part, until it became time for qualifying and the rain started coming down heavily.  The Trans Am series made the decision to cancel qualifying, which then reverted the race grid to Official Practice times.  Michele earned the P22 position overall and 5th in the Pro/Am class.

“It’s actually pretty cool for me to start 22nd;  22 was my brother’s birthday and racing number… It’s nice to feel him with me here; not to mention my Nitro teammate Rafa Matos earned the pole position with a 1:22.222 and today is the 22nd of March…”, she smiled.

Saturday brought on ideal racing weather with the sun shining and cool temperatures.  The 100 mile race kicked off at 12:45 pm and it provided a very exciting race.  Michele was timid off the start, working hard to keep clean and stay consistent.  Her lap times started to get faster and the race stayed green for a while after an early caution from an impact in Turn 5.

Abbate continued to work her way up through the field with passes and smart driving- taking care of her car and tires.  She took the green flag after another restart in 13th and with just half a lap remaining, Michele made her way up to P11 overall and P3 in the ProAm class as she crossed the checkered flag.  This was Michele’s best finish to date in the Trans Am TA2 National series, and first time on the Podium for Pro Am – Her first time on the podium since 2021 with the West Coast series.

After post-race penalties were given, Abbate moved up into the P10 position and P2 in Pro Am.  Michele was all smiles at the winner’s circle and commented,  “I cannot express in words what today meant to me.  I know my brother was sitting right next to me in my #30 GHOST Energy Ford Mustang and he guided me safely through the field and I am so proud of our finish.  Post race results putting us P10, with my first top 10 finish nationally and a 2nd place finish in Pro Am is really a dream come true.  It proves I belong here and I’m excited to put in the work to keep progressing and honoring my brother throughout my racing career”.

You can catch Michele on the West Coast for her next Trans Am TA2 race, April 18-21 at Sonoma Raceway, where she made history as the first female to earn a podium finish in Trans Am TA2 history in 2020.  You can also catch the Road Atlanta race recap/highlight show on MAVTV this Thursday, March 28
9:00 p.m. ET



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