After a brief absence from SoCal racing due to an engine failure earlier this season, Rob Burgoon came back with a vengeance, taking two wins at Buttonwillow in June.
For Saturday’s start, Burgoon was on pole with Brett Becker in second, Steve Champlin in third and James Brown in fourth. Becker led the field into the first turn, but mistakes on the first lap cost him many positions. Burgoon took advantage and leapt out to a lead he would hold till the end.
“Today was my first time on a new Race Engineering engine, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to do, but I pulled off the win today,” Burgoon said.
That left Champlin and Brown to battle for the rest of the podium. Champlin got ahead of Brown in the early stages of the race and held on for second place.
“I missed a shift on the start and kind of piled up the field a little bit, but I managed to get back to second and kind of had an uneventful race after the first three, four laps,” Champlin said.
Brown contested Champlin for those few laps, but had mechanical issues that slowed him up. Issues aside, it was a big day for Brown, who scored his first podium in Spec Miata.
“The start was interesting, very, very busy, a lot of guys fighting for space,” Brown said. “I was running with Steve for second place and the car developed a vibration under braking, so I just nursed it home. I ran a lonely third.”
Sunday’s race grid had Burgoon on pole again, followed by Sean Douglass, Steve Champlin and teen driver Hannah Grisham.
Burgoon again pulled out a gap to lead the field, with Grisham never out of his mirrors. Grisham went on the take second place, her first podium in Spec Miata after several years in karting.
“It’s my first podium. It’s exciting. Hopefully there will be more to come,” Grisham said. “There was a hole on the inside at the start and I just went in there, and it worked out.”
Meanwhile, the battle for the last step on the podium ensued Douglass bobbled out of Phil and lost it. Then Ryan Wellman spun exiting Sunset and Champlin charged into third. Becker tried to get past Champlin, but mistakes cost him and Champlin held on to take the last step on the podium.
“I did a really good job starting the race in fourth gear instead of second gear,” Champlin said. “So I had to spend the whole race trying to get back up to the front, and I managed to get a third.”