Austin, TEXAS – November 7, 2023 – As the 2023 Big Machine Spiked Coolers TA2 season concluded at Circuit of the Americas, Tom Sheehan found some silver linings with his Mike Cope Racing team.
Heading into the race week, Tom and the No. 97 LTK Insulation Technologies Mike Cope Ford Mustang were prepared for the challenges and demands at COTA. When race day arrived, “The Ironman” was ready to work for his team like LTK’s trusted line of insulation products.
Tom took to the 3.426-mile, 20-turn FIA Grade 1 road course in Austin, Texas with confidence and a fast car. Throughout the race weekend, the New Hampshire native and his team kept fine tuning the car.
During Friday’s test sessions, Tom posted times to rank P21 and P23 on the speed charts out of a line-up of 46 cars. While Tom was P28 in the practice session and initially qualified P31, he lined up P29 for Sunday’s race.
Like LTK’s core value with mechanical insulation projects, Tom showcased experience, productivity and speed on race day. Once the field took to the green flag, Tom leapt from P29 to P26 in the opening laps.
By Lap 10, Tom worked his way up to P24 as the race’s first caution came out, lasting three laps. Following the Lap 13 restart, Tom drove up to P21 before a Lap 15 caution slowed the action at COTA.
When the race restarted on Lap 18, Tom epitomized LTK’s belief in innovation creating advantages with his skilled driving. Restarting in P21, Tom showcased his nifty skills by working his way up to P15 on Lap 19.
A Lap 20 caution briefly slowed the race for two laps before Tom prepared for a pivotal Lap 22 restart. Showcasing Granite State smarts and agility, Tom raced his way up to P11 on Lap 23.
It appeared as if Tom was knocking on the door, ready to challenge the Top 10 runners. However, mechanical issues besieged Tom on Lap 25 near Turn 14, ending an otherwise remarkable race day.
Although Tom placed P31 in a race won by Thomas Annunziata, Tom’s spirits were not broken. If anything, he kept his head up and reflected on the gains and positives from the 2023 season.
Following Sunday’s race, Tom offered his thoughts to our race reporter.
“I don’t know if the motor let go or tightened up or it just ended up on that last restart,” Tom said. “It was running well. I got the car a little jacked up, but I kept my foot in it. I think it was making power all the way to the end. It just wouldn’t restart. I think it just got hot. I don’t think the motor gave up. But the guys will figure out what’s going on.
“It was a good weekend for the race. We raced well. We just kind of plateaued at that pace all weekend. We couldn’t really get out of that box of running those low fifteens. And, you know, we pulled off I think one lap that was a little bit better on the weekend. But in the race, I could just keep doing that lap. And that kind of turned into the pace in the Top 10.”
Along with pace and determination, Tom battled hard for every position against a relentless, closely competitive field on the track.
“They weren’t giving anybody anything,” Tom said. “And there was some attrition. But I passed a lot of cars. So, it was a lot of fun and it was a good drive and just didn’t get the result.
“I’ve got a great crew. Guys worked really hard all year. We’ll get ready for next year and just keep working hard and look for the day that the chips fall into the right bag and pull out a great result.”
Overall, Tom had a competitive season in 2023 with four Top 15 finishes and six Top 20 finishes. A competitive season was highlighted by Tom’s best result of P7 in the second Detroit street race.
Considering the gains and progress made this year, Tom looks forward to bringing momentum over into 2024.
“We’re going to take this season and next year try to fire off better,” Tom said. “And the results will come. We keep doing what we did today and we’re going to find ourselves in a pretty good spot.”
For now, Tom and his team will work on furthering their gains during this offseason. Then, Tom and the TA2 field kick off the 2024 season at Sebring International Raceway on Feb. 22-25. In 11 prior starts at the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course, Tom’s best finish is P8 in 2021.
Trans Am races are available for live streaming on Trans Am and SpeedTour’s YouTube channels, with full playbacks immediately available after the race. Additionally, the races can be seen in edited, 60-minute features broadcasted on MAVTV’s Thursday night primetime slot at 8 p.m. ET.
Follow Tom’s social media channels via his Facebook page, Damon Racing, Instagram account (@TomSheehanTA97), and X account (@TomTA2_97). For more information on LTK Insulation Technologies and the line of high-quality products, please visit https://ltkinsulationtechnologies.com.
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