Prociuk reflects on 100 Trans Am starts

This weekend at Road Atlanta, Keith Prociuk in the No. 9 HP Tuners/Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang will hit a milestone few reach in their Trans Am careers: 100 starts. Prociuk, who has been racing in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series since 2014, will be recognized at Saturday’s podium with a 100-race commemorative trophy. Prociuk will become only the 20th driver in the series to compete in 100 events.

Prociuk offered his thoughts, reflecting on his decade in the Trans Am Series:

“Well, it’s been about 10 years, and in a few days, I’ll start my 100th race with Trans Am in the TA2 Series.


“This weekend, we’ll be at Road Atlanta, a track considered by many as a bucket list track. Trans Am has been coming here for years, so I have plenty of laps under my belt. It’s one of my favorite tracks and I certainly have high confidence going into the weekend. Road Alanta is one of the few tracks where, in our TA2 car, every segment is enjoyable. It should be a fun weekend, and hopefully, we’ll put on a good show.

“Looking back, it’s been quite the experience. What kept me engaged is the new challenges that continue to present themselves in the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 Series. From spec ECU’s, a tire provider change, suspension and aero rule changes, all these things I must adapt to as a driver, and so must our team. It keeps it interesting and fun. We don’t just show up every weekend and expect to be competitive without putting any additional effort in. It’s a constant effort of new ideas, innovations, experimentation. We try a lot, learn a lot, fail sometimes, but continue to grow.

“As a team specifically, COPE has been a big part of what has made me stick around for 100 races, and hopefully many more. We’re primarily an arrive-and-drive team that has many wins and two TA2 championships. I like to think of us as an underdog, mid-budget team that shows proof you don’t need to have factory-like backing to win. The combination of Thomas Merrill and Mike Cope showcases this perfectly. Thomas, who I’ve heard referred to as the best kept secret in motor racing, and Mike, with his vast years of experience, connections, and resources, continue to put up results that often make us the team to beat. It’s a great feeling to be a part of the team’s success, and I know everyone involved in the team feels the same way.

“I’ve been active in helping the series evolve. I believe that TA2 is now in the best position it’s ever been to provide a reasonably affordable, fair and competitive racing environment for up-and-coming talents, seasoned pros, and arrive-and-drive Pro/Ams like myself. I’ve raced with many of the younger NASCAR drivers that have gone on to win in Xfinity and Cup. Now, we race with some young talent that already delivers impressive results in other series. It’s pretty neat to be able to race with these talents and see their successes elsewhere, as well. It’s amazing what they’re able to do behind the wheel.

“I’ve had many fun races and many great season-long battles. I’ve raced in some of the most nail-biting conditions but made it through (Thanks to the support and encouragement of the team). I’ve been taken out due to the errors of others and might have taken one or two people out along the way due to mechanical failure (but no way, definitely not, never, driver error). I’ve held grudges and gotten over it. I’ve probably upset others and hopefully they’ve gotten over it too.

“One hundred races. One hundred weekends. One hundred trips across the country. So many wonderful memories and experiences. I would just like to say thanks to all the Trans Am staff, competitors (drivers and crew), vendors and trackside support, corner workers and track staff, the entire COPE team, the fans, and anyone else that took part in keeping the Trans Am show going. It’s a great series and happy to be a part of it.”

Prociuk’s team owner Mike Cope also reflected on the driver’s 100 races and time with the team:

“Keith Prociuk is a huge part of Cope Race Cars. His unwavering support over the past 10 years has led to a large part of our success, both on and off the track. I couldn’t be prouder to have him as a customer, but more importantly, as a friend to myself and my family. Keith basically IS family at this point.

Drivers have come and gone, but Keith has always been a constant at Mike Cope Racing. We have made a lot of friends over the years like Tony Buffomante, who now has his son racing one of our cars, and I can see Keith going down the same path with his kids.

“One hundred starts…100! That in itself is an honorable achievement. And now, with the addition of the Pro/Am division, you’re going to see Keith on the top step of the podium. He holds his own quite well with the Pro drivers and I can nearly guarantee you’ll see him outrun quite a few of them chasing this year’s Pro/Am championship.”

Prociuk will take the flag for the 100th time this Saturday, March 23rd at 12:45 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on MAVTV and streamed on the Trans Am YouTube channel, @TheTransAmSeries

Story originally appeared on Racer