Round 10 of the NASA Southeast region would find fun-loving crew of American Iron racers in Daytona the weekend of Nov 1-2. The legendary high banks delivered an exciting two days of racing for the first time ever for NASA at the epic and incredibly fast 24-hour circuit.
In Saturday’s American Iron qualifying, Daytona veteran Richard Golinello, in his 2012 Mustang, was on top followed by Bruce Byerly, in a 2008 Mustang. Unfortunately, Florida racers Jeff Lindstrom and Carmine Pace would not make the qualifying grid. Both suffered from mechanical and/or on-track incidents that put them out for the rest of the weekend.
When the group took the checkered flag, Golinello leapt ahead with Byerly hot on his heels. Terry Mathis, in his 2002 Camaro, was not going let the two Mustangs have all the fun. All three battled and jockeyed for position the whole race. When the checkered flag flew, Golinello was first, holding off Byerly in second, and Mathis in third.
On Sunday, in American Iron battles, one second separated the top five cars, proving the AI competitive formula. When the checkered flag waved, Rich Golinello once again was first to get there. Surviving a hard-fought, three-way, door-to-door battle between Byerly, Mathis, and Todd Rodgers for second and third place. Byerly took second again and Rodgers took third in his 1994 Mustang.
In usual fashion, the Spec Iron guys also were going at it with the close, exciting racing that goes along with “spec” classes. From the drop of the green flag, Robert Miller, Cody Powell, and Cash Canada, all in 2010 Mustangs, were the ones to watch as they posted the top three fastest times in qualifying, with Miller posting the fastest time and securing pole position. These three battled the whole race swapping podium positions while the other SI competitors gained on them every lap. When the checkered flag waved, Powell took first, with Miller taking second and Canada third.
Sunday’s race was a rematch from Saturday. However, Powell edged out Miller for pole position. Unfortunately, Powell suffered a transmission problem on grid for the race and had to go to a backup car, which caused him to go a lap down and not be in contention for the win. When the green waved, Miller checked out while Canada and SI rookie Brandon Dillard, in a 2008 Mustang, battled for the second and third positions while trying to catch Miller. Unfortunately, time ran out and when the checkered waved, Miller had the win, with Canada in second and Dillard rounding out the top three with an impressive third-place finish. — Bruce Byerly and Ed McQuire