In an event that only saw one class with more than single-digit entries, Spec3 featured a healthy eight registered racers, including three Spec3 rookies. Unfortunately, one racer had to leave before the first race and thus only seven starters remained for the weekend. Warm temperatures led to slower than usual lap times, with Jon McAvoy taking pole in Saturday’s qualifying, followed by Joey Thomas and Taylor Johnson.
Spec3 races usually begin with a standing start and this event was no different. As the green flag dropped, McAvoy and Thomas peeled away in a near dead heat while Jake Thiewes got the jump on Johnson and secured third into Turn 1. Three separate battles transpired over the following laps with first and second place, third and fourth, as well as fifth and sixth positions being tightly contested.
Johnson was able to make a pass on the inside of the high-speed Turn 4, “The Chute,” to secure third and set his sights on the battle ahead. The laps wound down as the Spec3 leaders worked through slower traffic ahead and ultimately the checkered flag flew with a finishing order of McAvoy, Thomas, Johnson, Thiewes, Team Higginbotham, Alex Wieland, and Kevin Glaus. An exciting race and a great sign of the weekend to come.
Sunday morning started with the “Beast of the East” race, a NASA Mid-Atlantic staple. In this race, all classes in the race group take one green flag and are gridded by overall lap time. Interclass racing is permitted and encouraged in an attempt to find the true top dog of the Lightning class. This race also doubles as qualifying. The Lightning BOTE race finished without a hiccup after many exciting laps of Hondas, Miatas, Spec3s, and Spec E30s side by side and nose to tail. The qualifying order for the Sunday feature race for Spec3 was determined as the following: Thomas secured pole, followed by McAvoy, Thiewes, and the rest of the field. Second through fourth qualifying times were separated by a tenth of a second.
Sunday’s race began with another standing start and McAvoy secured P1 entering the first turn, but otherwise, the class kept the starting order through the first several laps until No. 11 Taylor Johnson was able to use a slower out-of-class car as a blocker on the front straight to finish off a pass on Jake Thiewes. After this move, the podium positions in the Spec3 race bunched up for a three-way fight for the lead as the class caught up to lapped traffic. However, as Thomas and Johnson battled closely for second place, McAvoy was able to snake through traffic and extend his lead. After a hard-fought battle with lots of side by side action, Johnson ultimately overcooked the ultimate turn and dipped two tires off, which allowed Thomas to pull away for the final laps until the checkered flag flew. Final finishing order: McAvoy, Thomas, Johnson, Thiewes, Wieland, Glaus, Higginbotham.
Ride along with NASA Mid-Atlantic Spec3 racer Taylor Johnson as he battles to a third-place finish at the June Joust at Summit Point Motorsports Park.