No. 97 Bayani Dia leads a 17-car Spec Miata field through Road Atlanta’s Turn 5 on the way to his first race win during the Hotlanta Challenge in August. For Sunday’s race, Andrew Diller borrowed a car from Jay Moritz, which he used to take the win on Sunday, also his first career win in Spec Miata.

The Hotlanta Challenge lived up to its name, with air temps well into the 90s and track temps over triple digits. For Spec Miata, it also was one of the largest fields of the season: 17 cars mixed up on the ultra-fast Road Atlanta.

With that many racers, NASA gave Spec Miata drivers their own start, and while Saturday’s first attempt at green was shaken off, the next time around got it going, and almost immediately the field caught the group of PT, GTS and 944 Spec cars. The first couple laps were intense as the Mazdas diced through traffic. Bump-drafting at triple-digit speeds. Attrition. Traffic. A classic battle through the entire field. At the finish, a first-time winner, Bayani Dia in the No. 97, celebrated his victory.

Sunday came and a couple cars couldn’t make it to the start. This time the race rolled off with a dozen racers. The big story Sunday was Andrew Diller. His car gave up the ghost Saturday, refusing to start. So Spec Miata regular Jay Moritz offered him his car for Sunday’s race. Prepped by Racing Analytics and powered by Ti Speed Engineering, the Moritz machine has the chops, and Diller took advantage, taking his first-ever career win.

A weekend of first-time winners put the wraps on Spec Miata at Road Atlanta, setting the stage for a visit to the curvy Roebling Road Raceway. — John Palazzolo



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