Matos grabs second consecutive TA2 win in Pittsburgh

Rafa Matos continued his domination in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series, earning his second-consecutive victory and third of the 2024 season. After taking the lead from polesitter Ben Maier by Turn 3 of the first lap, Matos executed flawlessly in his No. 60 Concord American Flagpole/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang to win in TA2’s first visit to Pittsburgh International Race Complex.

Maier started Round 6 at Pitt Race with his No. 80 BOE Marine/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang on the pole next to Jake Drew in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing/PRG Chevrolet Camaro, but after the green flag waved, Matos jumped from third to take the leaders three wide into Turn 1. After a scramble for position, it was Matos who emerged with the lead, securing it before the field entered Turn 3. Other drivers also made huge leaps in the running order on the first lap, with fifth-place starter Adrian Wlostowski (No. 3 CMI/Spot-On Services Ford Mustang) sneaking into third, and ninth-place starter Thomas Merrill (No. 26 HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang) quickly jumping up to fourth, while Drew slid back to fifth.

It wasn’t long before the top five changed again, with Wlostowski spinning on lap three and dropping to 17th. On lap 14, Drew and Merrill were battling for position and made contact, resulting in Merrill spinning into the grass and bringing out a full-course caution. The race restarted on lap 18 with Matos, Maier, Drew, Tyler Kicera (No. 40 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) and Josh Hurley (No. 20 Greenlight Simulation/BCR Ford Mustang) in the top five.


Matos had a perfect restart, and the race stayed green for the remainder of the event, leaving Maier to fruitlessly chase the two-time champion, who ticked off consistently fast times lap after lap and opened a significant gap over second. The racing wasn’t over though, as the drivers behind the top two were engaged in exciting battles. Carson Kvapil (No. 28 Team SLR-M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro), who started 10th, cracked the top five on lap 21, and moved into fourth on lap 26. Thomas Annunziata (No. 90 Bayshore Mortgage/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) started last after missing qualifying yesterday while racing at Sonoma Raceway, but worked his way into fifth on lap 31.

On the final lap, Kvapil squeezed by Drew to score the last podium spot. Matos, Maier and Kvapil were the first across the finish line when the checkered flag waved, followed by Drew and Annunziata. After the race, Drew was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact with Merrill, moving Annunziata up to fourth, and Pennsylvania-native Kicera into fifth.

“All the credit goes to the Nitro Motorsports team; these guys are amazing,” said Matos in GYM WEED Winners Circle. “They gave me a fantastic car. The Concord American Flagpole Mustang was hauling the mail today, it was amazing. I had a good initial start, and I was able to go around Ben [Maier], but he kept me honest all race long. I was pushing really hard to build that gap. I couldn’t believe how long those last 10 laps took, but we were able to manage the gap and win for the 23rd time. Hats off to every single person that has been helping us, as well as my family, my wife and daughter. I love you guys.”

The highlight show of Sunday’s race will air on MAVTV on Thursday, June 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series next hit the track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 20-23.


Story originally appeared on Racer