NASA Great Lakes opened the season with its regular March visit to National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Ky. A strong field of 20 racers signed up and only 1.2 seconds separating the top eight qualifiers on Saturday strongly suggests the 2022 Spec Miata season will be exciting to watch.
Chris Finnigan took pole for race one on a cloudy and cool 50-degree Saturday by a miniscule 0.06 seconds over Ryan Roberson. Teen Mazda Challenge driver Jack Dorsey was only 0.35 seconds off Roberson, but behind Dorsey, the next five racers were separated by only 0.8 seconds. Lap one saw Finnigan jump to a 1.1-second lead, and he held first place to the checkers. Dorsey, immediately closed on Roberson to within a tenth and got around on lap four to close within 0.2 seconds of Finnigan, but no closer. Late in the race, the battle immediately behind the leaders heated up with as little as 0.25 seconds separating TMC’s Nate Nicholson, John Allen, and Will Dodd. Dodd eventually came away with fourth place.
Sunday brought sunny weather, but the thermometer mercury barely topped 50 degrees for the second day. Race two gridded by race one’s fast lap time, with Finnigan taking pole and the next eight racers separated by less than one second. Dorsey and Finnigan battled hard for the lead the first five laps, swapping positions twice. At the finish, Finnigan had built a 2.5-second lead. A little farther back, Ryan Waldo closed on Jordan Fimple to swap positions twice in the final four laps with Fimple getting the best of that challenge.
The final race of the weekend witnessed P3 Will Dodd and P5 Nate Nicholson getting great starts, jumping to P1 and P2 respectively on lap one. Both held those positions to the checkers, separated by less than 0.4 seconds the entire race. Behind them, P4, P5, and P6 saw no less than five different drivers shuffle through those positions.
All three races had multiple battles, and just like the tight qualifying times indicated, the 2022 NASA Great Lakes Spec Miata season will be one to watch.
Other notables included the fast lap of the weekend going to TMC driver Jack Dorsey, with a 2:26.32 in race two on Sunday. Track record at NCM is 2:25.4. Also, comp school graduate Kevin Trandel will be joining TMC when he finishes car construction. Another comp school graduate, Nate Nicholson had an outstanding first weekend on track with a second-place finish in race three.