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Chris Green |

TeamSLR Trio Looks To Conquer Mid-Ohio

 Rookie Thad Moffitt Coming Off First TA2 Podium; Joins Teammate Dillon Machavern in Welcoming CARS Tour Frontrunner Carson Kvapil for His First Taste of Trans Am Racing

 ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (June 21, 2023) – Six races into his rookie season on the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series tour, Thad Moffitt scored his first podium finish three weekends ago on the downtown streets of Detroit. The driver of the No. 43 Safety-Kleen/Victory Impact Chevrolet Camaro for TeamSLR and his fulltime teammate Dillon Machavern, who scored his first top-five of the season in the Motor City, hope to keep the momentum going in Sunday’s round seven of the 2023 campaign, the 3-Dimensional Services Group Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.

Moffitt is hoping his second-place finish in the second race of the Saturday-Sunday TA2 doubleheader at Detroit is the launching point for a solid second half of his inaugural season competing in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.

He and Machavern will be joined for the first time by 20-year-old Carson Kvapil in the three-car TeamSLR entry for Sunday’s 45-lap, 70-minute race on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio circuit, set for a 12:40 p.m. EDT start.

For the first time in his rookie TA2 season, Moffitt will be competing at a track where he’s raced before. In June 2021, he qualified ninth and finished third in the ARCA Menards Series race at Mid-Ohio, driving a David Gilliland Racing entry. The 22-year-old grandson of racing legend Richard Petty is hoping to benefit from the lessons learned that weekend to keep his steady progress in TeamSLR TA2 M1 Racecars equipment progressing at an accelerated rate. He arrives at Mid-Ohio 11th in the driver standings.

Machavern, driver of the No. 17 Heritage Automotive/Unifirst SLR-M1 Racecars entry, returns to the Mid-Ohio circuit he’s visited on numerous occasions with the TA2 series, as well as IMSA competition. He finished fourth and fifth in the 2015 and 2016 TA2 races, respectively, and posted a sixth-place finish in IMSA’s GTD class with co-driver Bill Auberlen in 2018. The 27-year-old from Charlotte, Vermont, arrives at Mid-Ohio eighth in the driver standings.

Kvapil, the son of 2003 NASCAR Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil, will be making his first career TA2 start in the No. 8 SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro looking to begin developing his road-course racecraft in earnest. He cut his racing teeth on dirt short tracks and most recently has become a frontrunner on the CARS Tour for Pro Late Models and Late Model Stocks. The current driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports team has won three of the seven Late Model Stock races so far this season and sits atop the driver standings. After this weekend, he’s set to return to TeamSLR for round eight July 9 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

As with all races this season, Sunday’s event at Mid-Ohio 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 29, at 8 p.m. EDT.

Chris Green |

Dillon Machavern, Driver, No. 17 Heritage Automotive/Unifirst/SLR-M1 Racecars Entry:

You showed consistent top-five speed during the Detroit doubleheader. Do you feel like you and the team are headed in the right direction as you turn the corner toward the second half of the season this weekend at Mid-Ohio?

“I’m pretty optimistic, actually. I think we learned a lot at Detroit just about how to communicate setup on the car. We were taking baby steps and we finally decided to take a big swing at it and that was pretty successful for us. I think at Detroit we were closer to the pace we wanted to be than anywhere else, so I think moving forward we’re going to be in a pretty good spot to be really competitive and make the right changes quickly because, of course, we don’t have a lot of time to execute and pick a direction on these race weekends. So, yeah, I’d say ‘optimistic’ is the word for the weekend.”

How do you feel what you learned at Detroit can translate to success at Mid-Ohio?

“I think the main thing going to a known track like Mid-Ohio is we already have a pretty good idea of what the baseline is going to be, so we don’t have to spend as much time figuring out gear ratios and just establishing the base spring package we have to be on, etc. I think we’ll roll off the trailer closer than Detroit just because we have that history at Mid-Ohio, so it’s going to be more fine-tuning compared to Detroit, where we were trying to figure it out for the first time just like everybody else.”

What do you feel are some of the key points on the track that are important to making good lap times?

“Turn one is a difficult corner. It’s really inviting to turn early, and then you’re not able to get the power down. It’s interesting, too, because you’re just using a curb, you don’t have a very defined apex there because the other side’s also pavement, but if you hit that curb wrong, you’re all out of whack. And that’s a super important corner to fire down into one of the few passing zones in the Keyhole, which is also very inviting. And depending on the day and the temperature and other variables, the grip can be in different places there, so you can make some outside passes at times, it’s a place that’s always exciting. The technical part of the track, it’s just survival more than anything else, especially in these cars because they’re so big, so you kind of just want to get through them. You’re not really going to be passing anybody unless the speed is way off or somebody makes a mistake, so just getting through that stuff is the most important thing. Overall, it’s a super difficult track to pass on. Long-run setup is going to be important because you have to get off the corners well. I’ve had cars that didn’t turn very well but got off the corners well there and was really successful with it. And there’s always the X factor of rain there because it’s the most slippery place we go to when it’s wet.”

Thad Moffitt, Driver, No. 43 Safety-Kleen/Victory Impact Chevrolet Camaro:

Your general thoughts about heading to Mid-Ohio coming off your first podium of the season at Detroit?

“This is a track we’re going to with TA2 where I’ve actually run a race. I finished third in an ARCA car two years ago for David Gilliland Racing – Ty Gibbs won and Austin Hill finished second. The biggest thing for me, like it is at a lot of these places, even though I’d gotten some laps at certain tracks – like at Lime Rock, I ran a Miata, so I knew where the corners were but I didn’t really know how aggressive you could be with a TA2 car – it’s been baby steps. For me at Mid-Ohio, I drove something heavier with more horsepower, so that gives me kind of a good baseline to start for how aggressive you can be on certain parts of the racetrack. I know we’ll be a lot faster in the TA2 car because we weigh about 600 or 700 pounds less.”

What do you remember about the track from your ARCA race there in 2021?

“I enjoyed Mid-Ohio a lot because it has a little bit of everything. It has the high-speed stuff – turn one was a really high-speed corner, you shift down from fourth to third and then you’re right back in the gas. And then the braking zones are really good, a lot of good ones for passing. Up the hill into turn two and then back down the hill into turn four was a good place. (Turns) five, six and seven where you go up the hill and then back down to the right is really on edge, slow, technical – you have to put your car in the right place because if you don’t, you’re going to be way out.”

With everything Mid-Ohio throws at you, would you consider it one of the more demanding tracks you’ve visited?

“I would say it’s a pretty demanding track, mentally. You really don’t have time to take a break. I know we have the long straightaway, but you’ve really got to be on your game, hitting your marks every lap. I remember that place being really line-sensitive, and if you’re off just a little bit, it made a big difference on the stopwatch. So I think it’s going to be big to hit all your marks and know where you’re at the whole time. I think it’s back to the traditional road courses we were at in the early part of the year. You’ve got your slow, technical stuff where you need to be turning well, and you’ve got your fast, high-speed stuff, and you’ve got to be good in the braking zones. Another thing about the track is all the runoff area –

there are not a whole lot of things you’re going to hit. So if you do have an off, it’s not like the whole weekend’s done like it would be at a place like Detroit if you have an off.”

What areas of your road-course racecraft do you feel you need to work on as you approach the halfway point of the season?

“I think that, for me, some key points that I need to work on is our short-run speed. The fire-off qualifying stuff, it seems like every week we have a better car than we qualify and then, once we start racing, we pass four or five cars and the leaders have opened up a gap. So if I can work on getting a little bit more in those first two or three laps and working on that short-run speed, it’ll put us in a better position at the end of the race.”

Do you feel like the runner-up finish at Detroit signals something of a turning point to your rookie TA2 season?

“Our most well-executed race was the Sunday race at Detroit. On my part and everyone’s part, I felt like we were just solid all weekend. Really, we weren’t a second-place car or a driver that day, but we ended up just staying out of trouble, which is like 90 percent of these races. So for me to be able to put the whole weekend together – I think the confidence is there, I know I can run up front in these deals, but I just need to get more out of the car in the short-run speed and stay out of trouble. Saturday at Detroit, I felt like we were going to have a really, really good day, too. I was passing cars and moving forward, but then I got into the wall a little bit and cut that left-front tire.”

Carson Kvapil, Driver, No. 8 SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro:

What led you to TeamSLR for your first high-level road-course racing experience this weekend at Mid-Ohio?

“Josh Wise and the guys at Chevrolet got me hooked up with TeamSLR to run Mid-Ohio and Road America to basically expand my horizons. In their eyes, I’m obviously running well in the asphalt Late Model stuff, and I’ve run dirt in the past – that’s what I grew up doing, honestly, running dirt cars. The road-course stuff, I’ve only done Bandaleros when I was 11 years old on a road course, and Legend cars when I was 13. It’s one of the main things I’m lacking in experience and skill, but they want to have you prepared as you look to move up to the higher series.”

What have you been doing to prepare for this weekend and beyond on the road courses?

 “Chevrolet got me good amount of laps and time on the simulator before I tested last week with Scott (Lagasse Jr.) at Mid-Ohio, so I feel pretty prepared. We did a day and a half of testing and I was running some pretty good lap times. I feel like I’m ready. The only thing I’m a little worried about is racing around other people. It’s different from the circle track, Late Model stuff, so that’ll be something that I’ll have to figure out. But, track-wise, I feel pretty good about it.”

How was your introduction to TeamSLR at the Mid-Ohio test?

“I’m really pleased to be working with Scott and his father, just all the guys on the team, they’re all super helpful. And all the knowledge and data they’ve got makes it a lot easier than what I’ve been doing weekly on the circle tracks. Being able to look at all the data, looking at video of last year’s laps, that’s been a huge help for me. Those guys definitely have their stuff together. Scott and I really worked well together and I think he understands what I’m saying about what I’m feeling in the car. I’m super happy and I’m super excited for these two races.”

Can you compare the TA2 car to anything you’ve raced in the past?

“The TA2 car didn’t feel super different. Obviously there’s a difference in setups for the road course than what I’m driving on the ovals. It’s kind of a mix of the chassis that I’ve run in the past in the Late Models, the Super Late Models. The actual mechanics of the car, it’s not something that I’m not used to. The radial tire, that’s a little different than what I’m used to. I’ve only run three ARCA races on radials, otherwise I’m racing on bias ply tires. The radials seem to hold up a lot better. Otherwise, nothing too crazy, nothing out of the ordinary, I just need the time to get used to it.”

What did you think of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the test?

“I honestly like Mid-Ohio as a rookie road-course guy. It’s difficult – obviously they all are. It’s challenging but not to the point where it’s so hard that it’s not fun. As far as road courses, I’ve only tested at Carolina Motorsports Park and VIR other than Mid-Ohio. All the sim time I got before testing at Mid-Ohio definitely made it a better experience. It’s a really fun track. There are definitely places I need to get better at. Compared to (Connor) Mosack’s laps (for TeamSLR) last year, and the data, for the most part on the back half of the track I feel like I’m up to speed pretty good. It feels like turns one through five or so, if I remember correctly, those were the places I was losing time, the long straightaways and stuff like that. So I’ve got to figure out how to get more speed heading down the long backstretch and then I’ll be a whole lot better. Just having other cars around me that I can follow will definitely help once we get there for the weekend.”

You’re having a successful season on the CARS Tour so far, winning three of the seven races you’ve run. Do you feel that will give you confidence as you delve into road racing in the Trans Am Series?

“Obviously, when you win races, you boost confidence in the team you’re driving for and you’re boosting confidence in yourself. It kind of reassures you that you’re doing well against who you’re racing against. It helps, for sure. We’ve had a really good season so far with JR Motorsports. We’ve won three of the seven races and should’ve won the last race. But this road-course stuff is going to be way different for me. My expectations are pretty realistic for how I’m going to do. Hopefully I do better than I think I’m going to do. It’s a racecar and a racetrack and I just have to figure it out.”