Grant West leads Don Elvington, Yan Dia, Camden Gruber and Keith Williamson on his way to two wins at the NASA Southeast season opener at Roebling Road Raceway in January.

NASA Southeast Spec Miata kicked off the 2021 season with 15-car field at Roebling Road Raceway. Grant West won pole position with a 1:24.299 followed by Keith Williamson P2, Yan Dia P3, Camden Gruber P4, Daniel Walters P5 and Connor DeYoung P6.

At the start, Williamson got a good bump from Gruber and started to pull ahead of West. But then the right-hand lane hooked up and walked away with West, Dia and Walters winning the race to Turn 1. Williamson dropped into P4 behind Walters followed by Gruber P5 and Elvington in P6. Unfortunately, the race went full-course caution as a result of a three-car Spec Miata wreck just past the starting line.

On the restart, Walters was a little tentative, allowing Williamson and Gruber to get a run on him coming out of Turn 9 dropping him to P5. By Turn 1, West and Dia had already overtaken the trailing car in a large pack of Spec E30s. Williamson and Gruber picked off the trailing E30 entering Turn 3 as they tried to close the gap on Dia before he put too many E30s between them. Dia was hanging with West as the pair entered Turn 1 on the second lap of the restart while Williamson, Gruber and Walters had cleared the E30s and started to close up on Dia.

Entering Turn 4 West managed to pass two E30s but the trailing E30 closed the door on Dia, and West scooted away as Dia searched for a chance to stick his nose in. Entering Turn 5, Dia had other problems to distract him as Williamson, Gruber and Walters closed up on his bumper while West put another E30 between him and Dia. Williamson bump-drafted Dia coming out of Turn 9 and the pair were able to get inside of one of the E30s as they turn in to Turn 1, but that still left two more E30s and an E46 between Dia and West.

West cleared the E46 and with clear track ahead started to gap the rest of the Spec Miata field. Coming around Turn 9, Dia was almost bump-drafting an E30 and looking to pinch the turn for an inside pass. Williamson had a little bit of a run coming through Turn 9 and tried for a pass on the outside of Dia. The E30 out-accelerated the Miatas as they exit Turn 9 — of course — but Dia and Williamson were side by side racing for Turn 1. Dia edged ahead of Williamson entering Turn 1, but stayed right and caught the E30 again, and Williamson pushed the outside pass. Coming out of Turn 2 it was Williamson’s turn to get checked by the E30 and he had to drop back a bit as the E30 tracked out in front of him.

Williamson then stayed on the E30s bumper, and as he turned into Turn 4 Williamson, made the outside pass on the E30 that had boxed in Dia. By that time, West had checked out. Coming out of Turn 9, Williamson got a bump-draft from Dia and the pair were able to clear the last E30 in the brake zone of Turn 1 leaving the “cork in the bottle” E46 to still get around. Finally, the E46 carried too much speed into Turn 6, got loose and as he gathered it up, a small herd of Miatas roared past him! Grant West won the race, with Keith Williamson P2, Yan Dia P3, Camden Gruber P4, Daniel Walters P5, and Don Elvington P6.

On Sunday, Don Elvington won his first Pole position with a run of 1:23.588 followed by Yan Dia P2, Grant West P3, Keith Williamson P4, Camden Gruber P5 and Daniel Walters P6.

At the start, Dia and Williamson got hooked up and Dia took the lead going into Turn 1, with Elvington dropping in behind him as West and Williamson battled side by side through turns 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with West finally sealing the deal going into Turn 6. West then got on Elvington’s bumper exiting Turn 9 and the pair bump-drafted past Dia to take P1 and P2. On lap three, Gruber got to the outside of Williamson and was able to scrape him off on a back marker E30 as they entered Turn 4. Elvington, West, Dia, and Gruber then run as a pack for the next couple laps, followed two or three car lengths back by Williamson, Connor DeYoung and Walters.

On lap seven, West out-braked Elvington entering Turn 1 to take the lead. Lap eight saw the Spec Miata leaders catch the first pack of E30s at Turn 5. Dia was able to get beside Elvington in Turn 6 and box him in, letting Dia and Gruber move up to P2 and P3. However, West cleared all of the pack as he entered Turn 9 and then started to gap the rest of the Miatas as they continued working through the final two BMWs, only clearing them in Turn 5 of the next lap. By lap 10, West continued to edge farther away as the three-car group of Dia, Gruber and West started to fight each other and Williamson tried to hold off Walters and DeYoung who were hounding him.

On lap 12, Elvington’s tires were going off as Dia and Gruber pulled about three car lengths on him. On lap 13, Gruber got a run on Dia and got beside him, and the two came out of Turn 2 side by side, with Gruber finally taking P2 as they entered Turn 4. Also on Lap 13, Elvington appeared to get loose in Turn 9, allowing Williamson to close up and bump draft him to Turn 1 and then make the inside pass going into Turn 1 for P4.

On Lap 17, entering Turn 9, Gruber’s engine started to falter from low fuel, and Dia made the inside pass to retake P2. Williamson closed up on Gruber as they entered Turn 1 on Lap 18, and as they began to track out of Turn 2, Gruber’s engine faltered again and Williamson takes P3. On lap 21, Elvington got loose again in Turn 9 and Walters got a run on him to take P4. The race ended as Grant West cruised to the win with Yan Dia P2, Keith Williamson P3, Daniel Walters P4, Don Elvington P5 and Connor DeYoung P6.


No. 97 Yan Dia led Sunday’s race early, but bump-drafting and traffic played their usual roles and Dia ended up finishing second behind Grant West, with Keith Williamson in third.
Image courtesy of Jim Voss

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