NASA 944 Spec Great Lakes/Midwest wrapped up 2012 at Road America with 12 competitors racing under clear, cool autumn skies.
Eric Kuhns earned he pole for the first race, followed by Dan Piña and Neal Agran in a car Sid Chhikara loaned to him.
Kuhns led through Turn 1, but soon found himself in the clutches of a charging Piña. The two traded the lead six times in the first four laps in a skirmish Kuhns characterized as “the best of the season” before a full-course caution interrupted. Further back, Grant advanced to third in the first lap.
On the restart, Kuhns used out-of-class traffic to his advantage to open a gap on Piña, which he held till the checkered flag three laps later. Kuhns also reset the course record with a mind-bending 2:42.5. Piña claimed second, with Grant in third.
Video of the outstanding battle for the lead from inside Eric Kuhns’ car:
Race two was held Saturday afternoon to conclude the championships before the evening awards banquet. Competitors were gridded by finishing order in the prior race.
Kuhns assumed the lead early in this outing, but Piña gave a spectacular chase throughout. Further back, Grant spun in Turn 5 on the fourth lap, dropping from third to last. At the checker, Kuhns took the win from Piña by a mere 1.2 seconds. Blazquez earned third after Freundt retired with a fuel delivery issue.
The Midwest 944 Spec championship concluded with Kuhns, Piña, and Agran taking the podium positions. In the Great Lakes region, McCue earned the championship over Piña and Raum.
Midwest Champion Eric Kuhns also took home a new series trophy constructed by Ken Frey, which will be passed down annually from champion to champion. The “Tom Stein 444 Memorial Trophy” honors our friend and former 944 Spec competitor, Tom Stein, who passed away in a nonracing related accident in July 2011.