It was a moment one year in the making for Connor Mosack, who won his first race of 2022 at Watkins Glen International. Mosack earned the first victory of his Trans Am career in last year’s second all-class doubleheader event at The Glen. With three second-place finishes and four podiums in the last year, Mosack has been fighting to reclaim the top spot on the podium ever since. After winning the pole in yesterday’s qualifying session, Mosack battled back and forth with Thomas Merrill throughout the event, making his final pass for the lead with less than five laps to go to win the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Franklin Road Apparel Classic in front of a record crowd.
Starting from the point position in his No. 28 Open Eyes/Nacarato Truck Centers/Nic Tailor Custom Fit Underwear Ford Mustang, Mosack was overtaken by Merrill in the No. 26 BridgeHaul/HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang. A full-course caution on lap one gave Mosack another opportunity to claim the lead on the lap-three restart, but Merrill, who currently sits second in the TA2 point standings, was able to defend the position. Over the next 14 laps, Merrill and Mosack raced nose-to-tail and side-by-side, with Mosack making repeated attempts overcome the No. 26, but it wasn’t until lap 17 that Mosack completed his pass and claimed the lead for the first time since taking the green flag.
A full-course yellow on lap 19 closed up the field for the second time, forcing Mosack to defend his lead on the restart, but he held off Merrill at the wave of the green flag. However, Merrill gained the momentum to make the pass on lap 25. Two laps later while racing side-by-side, Mosack was able to capitalize on Merrill getting loose and make one final pass for the lead. From there, he was able to put some space between himself and his closest competitor, crossing the finish line as the checkered flag waved. Merrill finished second, followed by points leader Rafa Matos in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang. Matos’ teammate Mike Skeen finished fourth in his No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang following an impressive drive from the 36th position due to a tire change before the race, and Brent Crews finished fifth in the No. 70 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang.
“This was a great race, I had a lot of fun out there racing Thomas,” said Mosack on the podium. “Thanks to him for racing me clean most of the time. I had to trust him a few times getting by him, and I kept making mistakes and letting him back by. It was a fun race and he kept me honest, that’s for sure. I want to thank the guys at Team SLR who gave me a really good car. Thanks to Open Eyes, Franklin Road Apparel, Nacarato Trucks, Nic Tailor and everyone who makes it possible to race every week. Hopefully this is the momentum we needed and we can finish the season off with two good finishes at VIR and COTA.”
“Today was an example of good Trans Am racing,” said Merrill after emerging from his car. “That’s the great part about this series; it’s elbows out all the time and good, hard, clean, fair racing. I did get into Connor’s door a little bit and I apologize for that, but the track was covered in grass half the time, so that kept it interesting. The No. 5 car got into us halfway through the race and bent my front suspension 45 degrees to the left, so that was exciting. Full credit to Connor for driving really well all weekend. He was super-fast and deserved the win.”
“I had a great time racing against Connor and Thomas, they’re both championship-caliber high-skill drivers,” said Matos. “Hats off to my team, 3-Dimensional Services Group. They gave me an amazing car today. They’ve worked after hours every day this weekend trying to pick up speed with this car, but we didn’t quite have enough today. I’m really happy with third place, and to keep leading the championship, we have to keep finishing in the top five.”
Following the event, Mosack was awarded the ChillOut Keep Cool Move of the Race and was presented with the Omologato custom-branded Trans Am watch after earning the Young Gun Fast Lap Award. Scott Borchetta won the TA2 Masters award.
The broadcast of the race, presented by Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers, will air on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation later that evening at 12:30 a.m. ET.
TA2 returns to the track October 6-9 at VIRginia International Raceway.
Full provisional race results can be found here