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DOUBLE PODIUM FOR NITRO MOTORSPORTS AT THE TRANS AM SERIES PRESENTED BY PIRELLI SEASON OPENER

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Making their presence felt at the opening round of the 2024 Trans Am Presented by Pirelli, Nitro Motorsports concluded the first wheel-to-wheel action of a new season with a double podium performance at the hands of Tyler Gonzalez and Rafa Matos. Putting a trio of drivers in the top-five and four in the top-ten, the Nitro Motorsports brand was close to the front of the field all weekend long.

“It was a great way to start the season,” expressed Nitro Motorsports’ Nick Tucker. “While we would have loved to earn the win, I think as a team, we proved that we are here to compete and have a handful of drivers who will fight for wins week in and week out.”

After a test day on Thursday, official competition rolled onto the bumpy Sebring International Raceway on Friday morning with practice before qualifying later that afternoon, setting the grid for Saturday’s opening round.

With drivers coming to grips with a new season, a bumpy racetrack, and working together as a team, qualifying yielded the results Nitro Motorsports was looking for. Veteran driver Rafa Matos led the way with a strong P2 effort, but hot on his heels was the young gun and reigning Toyota GR Cup North America Champion Tyler Gonzalez in third. Thomas Annunziata started his weekend off well, claiming the seventh fastest lap of qualifying, just ahead of Gio Ruggiero and Ben Maier in eighth and tenth respectively to put a quintet of team drivers in the top-ten. On the outside of the first five rows were the 11th-place qualifier of Darin Mock, and Cale Phillips, who was classified in 28th but would look to move forward on Saturday.

Saturday was met with excitement and anticipation as the first race of the season would go green just before the noon hour. Matos got away with a quick start and ran in the second position with Gonzalez close behind in third. With a race that saw four caution periods over the 28 laps, competitors were held close as they battled for real estate, position, and championship points before the checkered flag would fly.

In the end, it was Gonzalez who scored Nitro Motorsports’ best finish sneaking by Matos just past the midway race distance to stand on the second step of the podium with Matos crossing the line and earning valuable points for third. Annunziata moved forward from his P7 starting spot to put a trio of team drivers in the top-five in fourth, while Ben Maier made an epic last lap move to slot himself into eighth and earn a top-ten finish to start the season. Darin Mock fell back early but managed to salvage a 15th place finish in the end while Gio Ruggiero ran inside the top-ten early on before trouble hit him and Cale Phillips pushing them back to 20th and 32nd on the results sheet.

Tucker added, “Congrats to the entire team on a solid effort. It is great to see the success, but this is only one race, and we have a season-long battle to endure. The focus shifts to the next one in just under a month.”

Next up for the Nitro Motorsports and the Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli will be a trip to the famed Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta over the March 21-24 weekend in Braselton, Georgia.

For more information on Nitro Motorsports, please visit them online or contact Nick Tucker via email HERE or visit them online at www.RaceNitro.com.

Photo Credit: RTD Media

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