Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Best Line Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, emerged victorious for his fifth win of the season. Like Francis in TA, Buffomante began the race on pole but was quick to relinquish the position, falling back to sixth position in the 19-car TA2 field.
Curt Vogt, the sole member of the TA2 field on rain tires, led the initial laps in the No. 12 Cobra Automotive Ford Mustang, with Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 79 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Camaro, taking the TA2 lead on the restart. Buffomante continuously climbed, taking third on lap 17, second on lap 22, and finally overtaking Lawrence for the lead on lap 27.
The victory marked a substantial rebound for Buffomante and the Mike Cope Racing crew, having been knocked out of TA2 championship contention and the race one round prior at COTA after contact from behind on the No. 34’s first lap out. The finishing position also secured second place in the year end points, overtaking Shane Lewis 304 to 299.
“We knew the pace would come once the track started to dry out,” said Buffomante. “Frankly, I didn’t want to do anything dumb in the first half of the race. We knew that the No. 34 Mike Cope Ford was super fast, being on the pole with a track record; so we knew we had the pace, but again, we played it safe the first half. I was just listening to my dad on the radio, listening to times and for when to go; and when it was time to go, it was time to go. It feels good; I’ve never won here before. Thanks to Mike Cope, Wilwood and Ilmor; it’s been an up and down year but they just don’t give up and my crew chief Travis Cope just makes it happen. I just can’t thank the Mike Cope team enough; the win here at Daytona is small consolation, but its consolation nonetheless.”
Lawrence would finish second, closing out the 2017 season in fine form with three podium finishes in as many appearances, while debutant Josh Bilicki, in the No. 25 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro, finished third. Lawrence would end the race with the most laps led and the fast lap of the race for TA2, a 1:52.732.
The Robinson Racing duo of Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, and Gar Robinson, 2017 champ and driver of the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, completed the TA2 class top five, finishing fourth and fifth respectively. The TA2 class top ten also included, in order, Louis-Philippe Montour, Scott Lagasse, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, Matt Parent and Keith Prociuk.