It’s not unusual for race drivers and race teams to create promotional videos. They’re typically to attract new sponsors to their organization. David Pintaric had a completely different idea. At first, he wanted to share his experiences in racing a 850-horsepower, LS V-8-powered Cadillac CTS-V in the fabled Trans Am Series with those close to him. Many couldn’t attend his races and were, well, a little unclear on what exactly was involved. In a way, it was like a home movie. “I really wanted to memorialize for my friends and family what a race weekend looks like. It’s so hard for them to imagine the focus and intensity that goes into each race,” Pintaric added.
But then it began to accumulate momentum. David recognized that his home movie was starting to take on a much more important role. “Initially, it was just a project for myself but as we progressed, I recognized that I could share an important message about Kryderacing [his team] and Tony Ave [car builder], and the Trans Am Series itself,” Pintaric explained. The result is a fascinating 13-minute film titled HUNTERS: A Weekend in Trans Am.
Where Professionals and Dedicated Amateurs Meet
The reason behind Pintaric’s enthusiasm is he sees Trans Am as an excellent opportunity for drivers who’ve been successful in club racing to move up to a series where they can compete against professional drivers like Boris Said, Chris Dyson, and Andy Lally. Even NASCAR legend Bill Elliot has competed in Trans Am.
“We’re not just seeing an increase in the number of competitors trying Trans Am now,” said John Clagett, President of the Trans Am Race Company. “We are seeing some incredible talents joining the series. Trans Am is the home to talent from all backgrounds and all career stages, much like it was during its early years.”
The Glory Years
Clagett is referring to what many consider the Golden Years of the Trans Am. In the late-1960s to early-1970s, factory teams from every U.S. manufacturer competed. Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, and Javelins were piloted by legendary drivers including Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue, Peter Revson, George Follmer, and Parnelli Jones. Alongside were scores of amateur drivers who competed in races around their area.
Under the current administration of the series, the format has returned to its roots. “100 miles, no pit stops, no driver changes. It’s a sprint, where even the slightest error can cost you everything, and it’s a competition that pits driver-against-driver not computer-against-computer. The TA class and the TA2 class are raw platforms — no ABS, no traction control — they make you drive the car,” Clagett explained.
A National Championship
David’s own path started in amateur competition. After winning an SCCA National Championship in 2010 in a Dodge Viper, he started thinking about stepping up to the pro levels. That move came in 2013, when he entered nine out of ten Trans Am races, finishing sixth in points. He was also awarded series Rookie of the Year.
Now his sites were on winning races. And after that, winning championships. But in doing so, it would take a lot of hard work and dedication. “I’m going to go as hard as I can. If I don’t have the success that I want, I’ll be disappointed, but would be more disappointed if I didn’t go at it 100 percent,” Pintaric explaines in the film. He likens his quest to that of mankind 2000 years ago, who had to hunt to stay alive. “This is my hunting. This fulfills my spiritual need for the challenge of life.”
While he placed a disappointing fourth at his home track of Mid Ohio Raceway — where most of the documentary was shot — the film closes with his first-ever victory in the series three months later at the Daytona International Speedway.
“I believe we can all see a bit of ourselves in David’s journey,” said Clagett. “David grew up a fan of Trans Am; the drivers who came before him . . . those were his heroes. Now, with the series once more prospering, David has the chance to live that dream; and better yet, he’s now a Trans Am race winner — he’s up with them now.”