Matos grabs fourth TA2 win of the year at Road America

Rafa Matos drove to GYM WEED Winners Circle for the fourth time this season at Road America, earning his 24th-career victory as the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series’ winningest driver in history. After starting second, Matos made an early pass for the lead and was a force to be reckoned with, maintaining the first position through multiple restarts and overcoming late-race mechanical issues to take the checkered flag and extend his lead in the point standings.

Jake Drew (No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro) started the race from pole after setting a new track record in Friday’s qualifying session. On the initial start, Drew easily maintained the lead, but a full-course caution was deployed on lap two for a car stopped on the back straight. When green-flag racing resumed two laps later, second-place starter Matos (No. 60 Concord American Flagpole/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) challenged Drew and deftly passed him to the inside. Thomas Merrill, who restarted fourth in his No. 26 HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang, quickly moved into third by passing Mike Skeen (No. 17 Team SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro), then made his way around Drew, costing the No. 7 another position and taking over second.

While Matos smoothly led, the running order behind him changed rapidly. Drew dropped back to sixth, and Merrill lost the runner-up position to Austin Green in the No. 89 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang, while seventh-place starter Connor Mosack (No. 57 Silver Hare Racing/PRG Chevrolet Camaro) moved up to fourth by the second double yellow of the day on lap eight.


The top five remained the same during the next green-flag run, but the field was grouped together by another caution on lap 14. When racing resumed on lap 17, Matos had another beautiful start, while Merrill reclaimed second after getting back around Green. Skeen got into trouble while racing with Drew, allowing Drew to slide back into the top five.

Suddenly, Matos began to struggle with a transmission issue, his car popping out of gear. One lap later, Merrill was right on Matos’ tail and looking to make the pass. Matos was forced to drive the rest of the race with one hand on the steering wheel and another on the shifter, allowing him to keep the car in gear, yet he was still able to hold off Merrill’s advances. Meanwhile, Drew had an excellent run in the final laps, picking off both Green and Mosack to find his way back into a podium spot.

When the checkered flag waved, Matos earned the victory, followed by Merrill, Drew and Mosack. Thomas Annunziata (No. 90 Bayshore Mortgage/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) amazingly worked his way all the way through the field after starting last due to a pre-race penalty, claiming the final position in the top five with a late-race pass on Green.

“It was a very special day for us; our fourth win of the season,” said Matos. “A great moment for us, a great moment for Nitro Motorsports. Hats off to every single member of the team. This is a group effort. They worked their [butts] off and prepared a fantastic car. Thank you to Concord American Flagpole and my biggest supporter, Chris Dyson. Thank you very much for believing in this program. I want to congratulate Tyler Kicera, also. A lot of times, Tyler is the mastermind behind the team. He’s a great man, great driver. It’s been a good day for us, and we’re just stretching that points gap even more. Hopefully we’ll come back after the summer break and wrap up the championship.”

The Pro/Am Challenge race was exciting, with four different drivers leading the class over the course of the race. Jared Odrick (No. 00 BLACK Underwear/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) started fourth in class and overcame a spin in Canada Corner to make a late-race pass for the lead, earning his first-career Trans Am victory with a 10th-place finish overall.

“I’m doing my best not to cry, you know,” said Odrick. “I have a lot of goals within racing, and I want to keep this going. I’m just so happy that I was able to run with Nitro Motorsports. Everybody there has just been awesome. It’s been amazing to be able to come over here and the welcome that I’ve received. Thank you to CB Motorsports, as well, for helping me get into this series in the first place, and to Mike Skeen and all of his initial convincing. He told me that if I want to become a better driver, then I’d better run TA2. I want to say thank you to my girlfriend, Crystal. Thank you to Black Underwear and to my crew chief, Cody. We had a tough first week at Pittsburgh, and we’ve just been fighting back ever since.”

The highlight show of Saturday’s race will air on MAVTV on Thursday, July 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Next up for the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series race is the SpeedTour All-Star Race at Lime Rock Park, July 19-20, where legendary drivers from all racing disciplines will pair up with the TA2 stars of today.

The next points battle for the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series will be August 21-25 at Watkins Glen International for the Mission Foods Watkins Glen SpeedTour. Tickets can be purchased here on


Story originally appeared on Racer