The weekend of March 24 found NASA Great Lakes back in Bowling Green, Ky., where it was five months ago to end the 2022 season, now starting the 2023 campaign to see who is best. National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park is always a racer favorite. Technically challenging, it will definitely knock off any rust accumulated on driver skills during the winter break. Weather for Saturday and Sunday couldn’t have been better, but you had to have survived Friday, which saw rain all day and severe storms at night that scrapped a few canopies in the paddock.
Saturday morning qualifying brought some of the best times of the weekend. Two Spec Miata series veterans, and prior champions, were separated by 0.3 seconds with John Allen (2:27.7) coming out on top followed by Ryan Roberson. Chris Finnigan (P3) was 0.3 seconds aft of Roberson, and Dan Mount another 0.3 back of Finnigan with a 2:28.6.
At the green flag, Roberson got the jump on Allen into Turn 1 and was able to hold on, building a 0.5-second lead by the end of lap two. Positions shuffling by one spot was typical through the entire field, but Bruce Myrehn was the most aggressive during the early laps, jumping three positions to P7. Lap three brought the first yellow flag of the season, lasting two laps. On the restart, Wyatt Wood (P5) and Mount (P4) got a fantastic run drafting down the front straight and jumped to P1 and P2 respectively. Finnigan took advantage as well to pass Allen and Roberson, maintaining his P3 starting position. The podium finishers maintained those positions the final three laps.
Sunday’s race two grid was determined by race one fast lap times, with Allen (P1), Mount (P2), and Finnigan (P3) separated by milliseconds, all with 2:26.6 lap times. Allen could only hold onto P1 for a lap, because on lap two Finnigan and Roberson (P4) got around for P1 and P2 respectively. The battle for fifth was tight the entire race as the father / son duo of Jeff and Wyatt Wood under the Astro Autosport banner, were separated by no more than 0.5 seconds. Wyatt prevailed in this race. A little farther back in the field, Ian Boyan, Ryan Waldo, and John Poppenhouse were battling with Boyan holding off his two competitors. Hats off to rookie Blake Korth, who in his second Spec Miata race jumped five positions to finish P11.
For the weekend finale Sunday afternoon, Allen, Mount, and Finnigan again led the field to green. Those three held position nearly the entire race, followed closely by Teen Mazda Challenge driver Aryton Grim in P4. Grim grabbed an opportunity on the last lap to get around Finnigan for the first podium of his Spec Miata racing career with third place. Congrats Aryton! Bruce Myrehn would have his best finish of the weekend in P5 after successfully holding off a hard-charging Blake Korth the final few laps of the race.