For NASA Mid-Atlantic’s Summer Breeze event, the weather was perfect, with, well, a light summer breeze — and some really close racing GTS1 and GTS2.
On Saturday, in a spectacularly rare event, DJ Fitzpatrick qualified with an identical lap time down to the thousandths with Michael Dayton. In such cases, the pole goes to the second fastest lap, which was held by Fitzpatrick.
The race shaped up to be a good one, with tight battling in the
early laps. Dayton hounded Fitzpatrick for the top spot and unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, a bobble in Turn 10 provided some spectacular sideways showmanship for the crowd. Dayton would have to go four off to avoid contact, which slowed him considerably, and allowed Jim Khoury to take advantage. Fitzpatrick retired early as the incident resulted in cords showing on his tires. Dayton challenged Khoury up until the checkered flag, but Khoury held on for the win. Jeff Emanuelson rounded out the podium in third place.
On Sunday, the Turn 10 activities continued. In GTS3, Eric Wong led Josh Smith for a few laps until a C4 Corvette spun in Turn 10. Nearly coming to a stop to avoid contact, Wong ceded the top position to Smith. Jeff Curtis, who finished third joked, “I obviously didn’t pay the ‘vette guy enough.” Forty minutes of hard racing kept the two close. The gap widened and shortened depending on traffic, which proves you should never give up. A fortunate last-minute traffic incident allowed Wong to overtake Smith in the second-to-last corner of the last lap and take the win by 0.129 seconds in a near photo finish.
In GTS1, drivers were turning near identical fast lap times with Matt Marks taking the win. Big Joe Boschulte was unable to challenge for the win after a power steering failure. He could only man-handle the car for a lap before his arms tired out. At least that was the story conveyed from fellow competitor Dave Gibson when he recalled after the race, “Joe blew a power steering belt on Sunday, which with 275 meats up front even Big Joe couldn’t muscle it around.”
Gibson battled hard with Max Fischer in a rented Bent Splitter Racing GTS1 BMW. Gibson emerged ahead of Fischer, and after the race had some thoughts on why. “Max came up to me after our epic battle saying what a blast it was to race GTS1! He said he is used to GTS4, hard braking and gobs of horsepower, and in GTS1 it’s easy on the brakes and carrying speed, which he said is a little scary!” Fischer finished fourth with Rob Carpenter taking the last podium spot.