Opening day started with five drivers in 944 Spec, Brad Raum, Shannon McCue, Steve Brewster, Rick Briggs and newest driver to the Great Lakes Region Gary Barton.
Saturday’s qualifying saw Raum on pole followed by McCue, Brewster and Briggs. The 944 Spec racers brought up the rear of the Storm group behind GTS and Spec E-30.
At the start, McCue and Raum bolted down the back stretch and into Turn 1 with Raum edging out McCue to hold the lead. Raum and McCue carefully navigated through some of the slower Spec E-30 traffic. Raum passed some cars in good spots on the track and stayed in the lead until the end. A pitched battle between McCue and Brewster ensued for second and third and they finished in that order. Raum also set a new track record Saturday with a 1:48.6, beating the record he set last year by a couple of seconds.
Sunday brought rain storms. Brewster and McCue braved the conditions and made it out for warm-up and qualifying while Raum and Briggs did a little extra work on the cars. By race time, the rain stopped, but it continued on and off throughout the race. McCue was on pole, followed by Brewster, Briggs and Raum.
McCue jumped into the lead, followed by Brewster, Raum and Briggs. By the second lap, Raum passed Brewster, but a lap later Raum went too hot into the Keyhole and slid off track, which that was enough for Brewster to regain second. Former World Challenge driver Ernie Jakubowski hit the outside wall in the backstretch in his GTS car, which brought out a full-course caution for several laps.
The race resumed with McCue in front followed by Brewster, Raum and Briggs. Eager to put more cars between him and the rest of the 944 drivers, McCue attempted a pass on a Boxster in the Carousel and quickly learned that the grip level with two wheels in the grass is less than ideal for passing. That mistake allowed the Spec E-30 separating McCue from Brewster to get a good run and pass McCue in Turn 1. The battle was on with Brewster glued to McCue’s bumper. Raum had a great view of the action and managed to keep both cars in sight, but not close enough to contend for the lead. McCue held on for his first win of the season, with Brewster in second and Raum third.