NASA SoCal racer Rob Burgoon showed up for the last race of the season at Buttonwillow Raceway in October, and took home all the Toyo Bucks, a great showing for the veteran racer.
For Saturday’s race, Burgoon started from fourth, behind Teen Mazda Challenge drivers Matt Million, Noah Grey and Garrett Dixon on pole. Burgoon wasted little time getting around Grey and Million, leaving them to fight for third.
“Most of the race I was battling with Noah Grey,” Million said. “We were pretty even, having a really good race cutting through lapped traffic until the Esses on the very last lap. He got a little bit loose and I took the opportunity made the pass.”
That settled third place, leaving Burgoon and Gray to scrap for the top step on the podium. Burgoon crossed the finish line in second, but Gray had passed an out-of-class car under a yellow flag, a move that would have cost him the race if his car were not already DQ’d for being two pounds underweight.
“I started from fourth and I started picking off people and I was closing in on the leader,” Burgoon said. “Then he made a rookie mistake with the rules of the track, and once that was done, I had it on video, so I backed off to save my tires for tomorrow.”
In the season points race, Brett Becker led Wilson Steele by five points after dropped races. The championship was on the line that weekend. However, in Saturday’s race, Becker, spun, then had a valve stem fail on his right rear tire, which put him out of the race. On Sunday, Becker’s engine blew in qualifying. Fellow racer Sean Douglass loaned Becker his car, but it was misfiring so badly, Becker retired early, handing the championship to Steele.
For Sunday’s race, Burgoon again started from fourth and chased Million, Grey and Dixon. He caught them after a couple of laps, but made an error in a passing attempt and backed off. A full-course caution bunched up the field, which gave Burgoon the opportunity to take the lead.
In the end, it was Burgoon with his second win of the weekend, Million in second and Garrick Delafuente scoring his first Spec Miata podium from his 10th-place starting position.
“It was all just consistency,” Delafuente said. “I could see them, one here, one there, so I just ran smooth consistent laps. We had a good restart after the double yellow. That helped out a lot. I gained that little gap I lost at the beginning.”