The October Pumpkin Run at Road Atlanta provided a welcome respite from the oppressive summer temperatures and the tyranny of Jason Stanley. Fresh from his double 944Spec and GTS1 Eastern States Championships win, Stanley took the weekend off and gave the rest of the Southeast’s 944 Spec field an opportunity for the top step of the podium.
Young hot shoe Kyle Kimball shook off a hangover from his 21st birthday and stepped up with a qualifying lap of 1.46.6- 2.7 seconds ahead of second place. The second through fourth place positions remained tight with just .3 seconds covering them. When the cool of the autumn morning gave way to an 80-plus-degree afternoon, however, Kimball had his hands full.
The track had warmed substantially by race time and Alan Evans took the lead from Kimball on the second lap. Kimball retook the lead after a lap and a half and was at the front of a three-car draft followed the brothers of Alan and Brian Evans. The draft train quickly hung time on the rest of the 944 Spec field only to see it evaporate with a full-course caution on lap seven. On the restart, Kimball maintained his lead while Brian and Alan switched places. With a push from Mike Honcho, Brian managed to pass Kimball only to give it all back and more with a spin in 10A. In the chaos of Evans’s spin, Pete Yousko sneaked into second where he stayed, just ahead of Alan Evans in third.
Sunday morning brought an infestation of fire ants to Alan Evans’s 944 Spec racecar, much to the entertainment of the rest of the 944 group — none of whom claimed responsibility. Alan found yet another use for racer’s tape, using it to remove them, but the weight removal proved no advantage. Qualifying played out much as it did the previous day with Kimball nearly 2 seconds clear of the field.
The racing gods did their best to make it difficult on the start of the race. The 944 Spec field caught the rear of the Spec Miata group before the first corner upon getting the green flag, and the two classes remained intertwined for the rest of the race. Kimball, followed by Alan Evans, Brian Evans, and Pete Yousko, built a several-second lead before lap five brought another full-course caution. Threading through a Spec Miata scrum exiting Turn 7 after the restart brought Brian Evans briefly to the lead, only for him to spin off track, again, in 10A, again. After Alan Evans spun, rookie John Perkins stretched his legs, taking second place, followed by Yousko in third. Glen Edridge and Jeff Coffey rounded out the field turning in personal best laps.