ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (May 22, 2023) – Since 1972, sportscar racing on Memorial Day weekend in the quaint, New England setting of Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut, has occupied a humble but rightful place on the motorsports calendar alongside three of the world’s most iconic events – the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and Formula One’s Grand Prix of Monaco.
This weekend, the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series continues the sixth decade of Lime Rock’s holiday weekend tradition with the annual Memorial Day Classic on its 1.478-mile, seven-turn hillside road course, which has seen the likes of legendary drivers Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby and Brian Redman navigate its challenging confines since first opening for business in 1957.
Among the 39 car-and-driver combinations to watch in Saturday’s 68-lap, 75-minute TA2-class race – Round 4 of 13 on the 2023 schedule – are TeamSLR’s Dillon Machavern and Thad Moffitt. Machavern, the 27-year-old veteran road racer from Charlotte, Vermont, will be looking for his first career victory on his home racetrack, situated some 200 miles due south of his hometown on the shores of Lake Champlain. Moffitt, the 22-year-old from Trinity, North Carolina who joined the TA2 Series fulltime after spending the past six seasons racing primarily stock cars in the ARCA Menards Series, will be looking for his breakthrough run this weekend after a trio of 12th-place finishes in the opening three events.
While victory at Lime Rock has eluded Machavern over the years, the driver of the No. 17 Heritage Automotive/Unifirst SLR-M1 Racecars entry has come painstakingly close on numerous occasions. He drove to runner-up finishes in TA2-class competition there in 2015, 2019 and 2021, the latter coming with TeamSLR. He scored another runner-up finish in the 2017 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race there, and added a third-place run the following year and a fifth-place finish last October. After finishes of sixth in this year’s TA2 season opener at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway and eighth in the most recent round March 26 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Machavern certainly feels he has the speed in his M1 Racecars equipment and the local knowledge that can help him finally achieve that maiden Lime Rock win. At Road Atlanta, he stormed to the eighth-place finish from the back of the 37-car field after a grid penalty.
Race-day speed also has been evident in Moffitt’s No. 43 Safety-Kleen/Victory Impact Chevrolet Camaro for TeamSLR through the season’s opening three events. The grandson of racing legend Richard Petty feels somewhat snakebit as he overcame getting spun from behind on the opening lap at Sebring before rallying for his first of three 12th-place finishes. At NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Lousiana, in round two, Moffitt was running top-five lap times and gaining ground on the lead pack before, again, getting turned from behind, dropping back to 16th, then battling back to 12th. And at Road Atlanta, he, too, had to rally from the back after a grid penalty. He arrives at Lime Rock eighth in the TA2 standings and atop the leaderboard for Rookie of the Year honors.
As with all races this season, Saturday’s 1 p.m. EDT race will be streamed live on the Trans Am and SpeedTour channels on YouTube. And Trans Am’s new TV partner this year, MAVTV, will rebroadcast it in a one-hour package Thursday, June 1, at 8 p.m. EDT.