Young innovators rev up for opening day of the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park

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Young innovators rev up for opening day of the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park

Rafa Matos Captures Pole for CUBE 3 TA2 Series 


LAKEVILLE, CONN. (24 May 2024): Beautiful weather graced the opening day of the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic on Friday as the lush green hills of the Berkshires met crystal-blue skies. The sound of American horsepower set the rhythm for an exhilarating day at Lime Rock Park.


CUBE 3 TA2 Qualifying

Rafa Matos (No. 60 Concord American Flagpole/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang) earned his second Pole Award of the season, clocking a time of 51.658 on his third lap around the circuit. Starting beside Matos will be Evan Slater (No. 17 CUBE 3/Franklin Road/M1 Ford Mustang), who qualified second with a best time of 52.084.


“It feels great to get the pole today,” said Matos. “I think the Nitro Motorsports team prepared four amazing racecars. All the cars are very fast. We were a little bit behind in practice, but my crew chief worked really hard to make sure the car was the way I liked it for qualifying. Qualifying was a bit complicated. I was catching traffic on my fastest lap, so I had to sacrifice that lap and go for another one. The car was good enough that I managed to put a couple of good laps together and get the pole position, very close to the track record. Hats off to Concord America Flagpole. This is Chris Dyson’s home track, and there’s a lot of anticipation for this event for us. It’s amazing to deliver a good result. Let’s get it done tomorrow.”



Winner’s Circle Project

Friday was more than just about speed and competition this year, as 150 students from five local high schools, all participants in the Winner’s Circle Project, joined the action-packed event, blending their year-long STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education with the thrilling world of motorsport.


The Winner’s Circle Project, a non-profit organization, was meticulously designed to inspire fresh, young, innovative minds. Over the past academic year, high school students  built Factory Five racecars from the ground up, marketed their race teams and even designed logos and gear for their teams. Their hard work took center stage as the students eagerly showcased their custom-built racecars in the Paddock and presented their marketing plans to Lime Rock Park executives as part of the judging. The excitement peaked as program ambassador Chris Dyson, along with other Trans Am drivers, took the students’ cars for a spin around the legendary track in celebration of their efforts.


In addition, the students received a detailed technical inspection presentation, an exclusive paddock tour and a visit to the Pirelli tire trailer and Sunoco fuel station to further deepen their understanding of the technical aspects of racing.


Only three tenths of a point separated first from second place, but the overall presentation from Roy C. Ketcham High School gave the first-year participants the victory. All five cars will be auctioned off to raise money for the program.


“This program is a perfect blend of theory and practice,” said Lime Rock Park CEO Dicky Riegel. “The students aren’t just learning from textbooks; they’re applying their knowledge in real-world scenarios, and today is a celebration of their hard work and creativity. The innovation displayed by all five schools made the decision challenging for the judges. They are the next generation of motorsport industry professionals, and based on what I saw today, we would be so lucky to have all of them.”


What’s Next

Race day activities resume on Saturday with racing from Trans Am TA2, SVRA, International GT and Formula Race Promotions. Gates open at 7:00 a.m. on with racing action starting at 9:05 a.m. Tickets for Saturday are available at the gate. All active military and veterans plus up to four family members receive free admission for Memorial Day weekend. Service members must be present and show a military I.D.


For complete event information, including the schedule, visit: