NASA Great Lakes made its first of three stops for 2024 at Mid-Ohio to christen the new pavement, and everyone needed a sharpened pencil to start new track notes. The track surface didn’t disappoint and neither did the racing action. Seventeen Spec Miata drivers joined the weekend fun which utilized the pro circuit configuration.

Weather for the weekend began with light rain on the Friday test day, which was an improvement over sleet and snow from April 2023. Given the fresh asphalt, many drivers chose to test the surface using the Toyo RR and were greeted by the expected higher grip levels. Only one triple spin down the backstraight by Randy Summerville — in a freshly painted car— was recorded and will be added to the year-end video.

John Allen started the year at NCM Motorsports Park in late March with three wins in three races. Mid-Ohio qualifying indicated he may have a tough battle ahead of him. The top three competitors were separated by the slimmest of margins, all with a 1:43.5. Jonathan Davis took pole in his return to Spec Miata competition, with John Allen P2, and Teen Mazda Challenge driver Aryton Grim P3. As in prior years, a tight pack of racers was evident with the top eight drivers qualifying within 1.2 seconds of one another.

Jonathan Davis leads Kyle Webb through Turn 1 at the NASA Great Lakes races in April at Mid-Ohio.

At the green on the back straight, Allen was quick to take P1 from Davis and increased that lead to 2.6 seconds on lap seven. Veteran Kyle Webb, starting P5 was hooked up, getting by Ryan Roberson (P4) on lap two, then by the young Grim on lap four. Grim and Webb swapped positions two more times with Webb prevailing for the second step on the podium. At the end, it was Allen in first, Webb in second and Grim in third.

Farther back in the field, John Poppenhouse had a slight off at China Beach after taking the green flag and lost two spots to Randy Summerville and Travis Lee. Poppenhouse did recover, and retook Lee two laps later, and exchanged positions with Summerville three times, with the final overtake lap 13, prior to the checkers lap 15.

Race two Sunday morning was gridded by fast lap times from race one. Webb sat in P1 (1:43.2) followed by Allen (1:43.7), and Davis (1:43.7). Just as in qualifying, the top eight competitors were within 1.2 seconds of one another. And, just as in race one, Allen grabbed P1 on lap one with Grim, who started P4, following Allen and jumping to P2. Also on lap one, Ryan Roberson (P6) got around Mount. Lap five saw three of the top five competitors shuffle due to a bobble in the lead pack and that was the last action of the race as the yellow flag appeared that ultimately ended the race early. Allen got the win, followed by Grim in second and Mount in third.

Pole for race three Sunday afternoon was again held by Webb (1:43.1), followed by Grim (1:43.2) and Davis (1:43.3). The top seven racers were separated by 1.2 seconds. Grim immediately gained P1 on lap one, and maintained an approximate 2-second lead over the entire 12-lap weekend finale. Grim took his first series win, followed by Allen in second and Webb in third.

The competition for 8th, 9th, and 10th saw a total of seven position changes between Lee, Poppenhouse, and rookie Chris Schuster. The trio were separated by less than 2 seconds most laps. The final pass occurred on the white flag lap as Poppenhouse capitalized on a less than optimal exit out of keyhole by Schuster leading to a pass on the outside at China Beach.

Overall a great weekend for Spec Miata. We hope you join us for our next event Memorial Day weekend back at Mid-Ohio!



Image courtesy of Downforce Media

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