This race was dedicated to Darren Brady who unexpectedly passed away in August of this year. Darren was a longtime racer and instructor with NASA Southeast.
Twenty Spec Miatas registered for the Darren Brady Memorial Race at Carolina Motorsports Park. The newly paved track and cool weather promised fast times and new track records! On Saturday, Aiden Baker Crouse set fastest time for pole position with a 1:49.159, followed by Keith Williamson, Tyler Harrell, James Harrell, Don Elvington and Camden Gruber.
Nineteen Spec Miata’s took the green flag and Crouse made it through Turn 1 followed by Tyler Harrell as Williamson went four-off falling back four positions to follow Elvington in P3, Eric Gerchak in P4 and Gruber in P5. Crouse immediately started gapping the field and was never threatened for the remainder of the race. Williamson out-braked Gruber and Gerchak at Turn 11 to pass on the inside to reclaim two positions.
On lap three, Elvington, Williamson and Gerchak were hanging on to Tyler Harrell until Williamson decided to try late braking again at Turn 11. But he could only get beside Elvington and the two went side by side, tracking out of Turn 11 and then into Turn 12 where Williamson fumbled a shift tracking out, enabling Gerchak to get beside him going into T14 to pass for P4.
Harrell now started to gap the three-car fight behind him and he would never be threatened for the remainder of the race. On lap five, Gerchak got inside Elvington at Turn 8 to take P3. Lap six saw Gerchak run too deep into Turn 11, allowing Elvington and Williamson to get beside him in the turn, with Gerchak eventually giving up the position to Elvington and Williamson, dropping back behind them.
Gerchak followed up with a missed shift coming out of Turn 14, and gave up P4 to Williamson. Eight turns later, Elvington tried a new line to the left of T8, dropping two positions, and the race ended with Aiden Crouse winning with an 11-second lead and a new Spec Miata track record of 1:49.501. Tyler Harrell was P2, Williamson third, Eric Gerchak fourth, Don Elvington fifth and Matt Goodrich sixth.
Aiden Crouse won pole again on Sunday with a 1:49.192, followed by Harrell, Williamson, Gruber, Elvington and Gerchak. Harrell got a great start in the race as he and Crouse came out of Turn 1 side by side and then Harrell got the better run through Turn 2 with Crouse dropping in behind him going into Turn 3. Williamson went two-off tracking out of Turn 3 and was gapped by Harrell and Crouse, but managed to stay in third.
Gruber started to pass Williamson, but went wide entering the Carousel and lost his position to Gerchak. Then Gerchak missed his two-three shift again coming out of Turn 14 to leave the order Crouse, Harrell, Williamson, Gruber, Gerchak, James Harrell and Elvington. On lap two, Crouse got a run on Tyler Harrell coming out of Turn 3 to get to Harrell’s left side entering Turn 4 and completed the pass entering the Carousel for the lead. Harrell was able to close back up in Turn 13, but Crouse opened the gap in the next few corners and again was not threatened for the remainder of the race.
The race ended with Aiden Crouse lowing his track record to 1:49.425 followed by Tyler Harrell P2, Keith Williamson P3, Camden Gruber P4, Don Elvington P5 and Eric Gerchak P6.