Abbate Earns Exciting P2 Finish in Trans Am Race at Sonoma

April 24, 2024

Shift Up Now Athlete and Foundation Grantee Michele Abbate brought home a second-place finish in first race of the Sonoma SpeedTour doubleheader at Sonoma Raceway on April 18-21, 2024.

Driving the No. 30 Ghost Energy car for Nitro Motorsports in the TA2 class of the Trans Am West Coast Championship among an 19-car field, Abbate took to the track on a Cope chassis and Pirelli tires.

No stranger to the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course, the Las Vegas native has previously finished on the podium at Sonoma Raceway in several categories. The doubleheader weekend was her second event of the partial schedule she’s running this season.

In addition, Sonoma marked Abbate’s second weekend running a special livery honoring her brother Michael, a Nevada State Police Sergeant. Last November, he was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver.

Following the Sonoma weekend, Abbate was able to donate more than $2,000 to Heroes and Handcuffs, a Nevada non-profit dedicated to legislative reform and victim support. Abbate’s online community helped her surpass the $1,500 fundraising goal she set last month for her birthday.

Practice took place on Friday and Abbate was fifth-fastest in the field. The following morning dawned cool for qualifying, making for fast track conditions and lap times. She qualified P3 for race one, taking place later that afternoon.

At the green flag of the 40-lap competition, chaos ensued in turn two. Abbate capitalized and stayed out of trouble, advancing one position. Then, as the mid-pack made their way through the first lap, additional incidents occurred in turn four and the carousel, bringing out a full- course caution for three laps.

Before the restart, two cars had passed Abbate in turns seven and eight, so she was running P4. However, she gained one spot back on the restart to hold P3 in class. Later, another three- lap caution flag flew, and Abbate said she was “battling to make up lost ground.”

She fought hard to stay in the top four for the remainder of the race, trading places several times with the cars running second and third.

A late-race caution and subsequent red flag flew at lap 26, which bunched up the field for six laps. On the restart, Abbate was P2 in class and P3 overall. She held off the TA2 field for six laps, ultimately holding her position for the finish. She also ran the third-fastest lap of the race to earn a P3 spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.

“This season, I’ve been focusing really hard on pushing myself, and getting outside my comfort zone,” said Abbate. “I know I’m with the best team, and I’m getting faster and more confident every time I get in this car.

“This weekend, I feel I made a lot of progress. And even though I made a mistake in the race that set me back, I was able to shake it off and fight my way back to the front of the field, bringing home my second podium finish from two events so far this season. While I wish I was able to race full time, I’m so grateful to all of my partners, and to Nitro Motorsports. And I’m determined to keep making the most of every opportunity this year that I have.”

On Sunday, Abbate’s car experienced a suspension failure in turn two of the first lap. No contact or damage resulted, but she was forced to retire the car for the day.

Abbate's season will continue when she returns to the Trans Am National Tour for their event at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day Weekend.

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