Saturday’s first 944 Spec race at Gingerman in June started with Michael Cooper on pole by more 2 seconds, Michael Clark in his best qualifying yet in second, Shane Denney in third, Dan Piña in fourth, and Tara Brewster rounding out the field in fifth.
As the green flag dropped, Piña drove alongside Brewster through turns 1 and 2, then ahead of her in Turn 3. Michael Cooper held the lead, as Michael Clark drove his hardest not to let Cooper get away. Shane Denney filed in behind Clark. Piña got by Denney in Turn 9. On the following lap, Piña sneaked down the inside of Clark for second in Turn 7.
As Piña set out to hunt down Cooper, Clark and Denney had a heck of a battle going for third until Clark over-corrected a drift and got into a tank slapper, sending him off track. Denney and Brewster capitalized.
Late in the race, an out-of-class car spun into Denney, taking him out of contention. The finishing order was Cooper, Piña, Brewster, Denney, and Clark.
Race two was an inverted start, putting Clark on pole with Denney alongside. Brewster and Piña filled row two, while Cooper was by himself in the back.
As the green flag dropped, it was a nose-to-tail 944 freight train from Turn 3 to turn 10, when Piña stepped out of line to pass Clark for second. Cooper drafted past Clark in Turn 11, and Tara used Clarks slower corner speed to gain right up on his bumper. Cooper then set his sights on Denney, and made an aggressive pass down the inside of Turn 5.
Cooper was able to hunt down Piña to challenge for the lead. The two went through Turn 11 side-by side. Piña edged back ahead leading into Turn 2, but braked too late into T10, and held a long drift through the corner, killing all hopes of a good run down the long straight. On their final round through Turn 10, Cooper was ready for Piña, and pulled the classic over-under to position himself to be on the inside heading down the long straight into the final Turn 11. Cooper got ahead of Piña enough before Turn 11 that Piña had nothing for him in the final corner. A very hard-earned win for Cooper!
Race three featured a standing start. Cooper wasn’t able to get the hat trick that weekend, finishing second behind Piña. The finishing order for race three was Piña, Cooper, Denney, Brewster and Clark. — Dan Piña
In-car video from race: