NASA Central spent the weekend of September 13-14 for the first time at the Kansas Speedway roval. Over the weekend, a large group of HPDE, Time Trials, Lightning and Thunder and Heartland Vintage Racing drivers hammered around the banked oval track and its infield circuit.
Mark Kirby and Matthew Miller had a great bout between their Vipers during Saturday’s Thunder race. Miller took a strong lead coming out of Turn 6 while Kirby caught lapped traffic. Miller came into Turn 1 on the final lap a bit too hot yet he maintained the lead with a car length to spare. Unable to overcome Miller’s high speed advantage and losing his infield edge, Kirby took second place with Miller coming in first. Sam Mangiamelli and Keith Moody had their own fight behind the Vipers. Moody’s stock car was right at home on the banked NASCAR track, but Mangiamelli’s Diasio lacked the proper horsepower to fully maximize his time on the oval, but was able to gain back time on the tight interior circuit. Moody had a surprise spin, giving Mangiamelli an opportunity to gain the lead. Despite his Diasio having an oil line go out, Mangiamelli finished ahead of Moody.
Time Trials had a solid turnout with 19 drivers. Despite the Vipers being the fastest on the track, Phil Verhaeghe led TT1 throughout the weekend in his supercharged Elise, with a time of 1:26.42. After seeing Jim Lipari’s success after removing his high-drag rear wing on his TTB Lotus, Verhaeghe tried the same in an effort to compete with the Vipers, but unbalanced the massive front splitter, turning his car into an undrivable mess for a lap before coming in and reattaching his wing. Five seconds behind were Jon Schulte and Ron Nolan in their Nissan GT-Rs and Jacob Diehl in a souped-up Evo. Todd Wayman set the pace in TT2 with his LS swapped 944, setting a lap time of 1:30.183. Allen Myers in his new Mustang Boss 302S and Terry Bouge in his Corvette Z06 finished second and third behind Wayman. Richard Seltzer in his 996 GT3 cinched the win over LJ Foster in his TT3/ST3 Honda S2000.
NASA Central Region Chief Steward Nicholas Scott trailed close behind in third, driving his Corvette. Douglas Donaghue only drove Saturday, but set a blazing lap of 1:38.055 in his S2000 that he luckily didn’t need to defend Sunday, winning TTB. Lipari almost nipped first, less than .200 seconds away from beating Donaghue. Chris Paskach and his Mustang lapped the track faster Saturday than on Sunday, but claimed third behind Kyle Pearson in second in his VTEC powered S2000. Greg Hagopian, Steve Davis and Quincy Burk had TTD ,TTC and TTU to themselves, placing first in their classes. In TTE John Pennington pulled off a clear win in his BMW over Greg Pfau’s Miata.
Saturday’s Lightning race had Steve Johnson’s Miata finishing first in PTE followed by Andrew Lanning in second. A healthy distance behind Lanning, Scott Bettinger came third after qualifying fifth. In Spec Miata, Warren Dexter held a comfortable lead by the time he won, with Natalie Fenaroli taking second. Dillon Dexter took third with Zane Dexter in fourth. Darren Hofmann finished fifth, after picking up his pace from qualifying.
The Thunder race on Sunday saw Kirby claim victory after Miller retired early with a mechanical issue. Mangiameli encountered a similar situation as he was closing in on Moody, but then his engine suddenly lost power, causing an early retirement from the race. Without the Diasio to compete with, Moody finished second behind Kirby in ST1. Stephen Myers was able to participate in Sunday’s race in his Panoz after he convinced someone to bring clutch and transmission parts down from Ames, Iowa, but he retired early.
Sunday’s Lightning race was an excellent display of driving skill with multiple battles taking place and some daring passes. Chrispin Beaver dominated PTE, winning by a full 50 seconds, pulling away while the other drivers fought for position among themselves. Steve Johnson claimed second while Andrew Lanning followed in third. Some notable exchanges in Spec Miata came when Zane Dexter closed in on Dillon Dexter and finished a hair’s width ahead for second place. Warren Dexter proved his speed once again and took first after a tough battle with Fenaroli, who took pole position, but made an error at the end and finished last. She did set the fastest Spec Miata lap in the process.