The NASA Prototype class turned out in record numbers for the December Road Atlanta event. We had eight cars in attendance, one of which was the Elan 00 car testing some of parts for Super Touring and Time Trial competition. The racing on Saturday was tight, with Matt Rivard, Bryan Putt and Jay Fagner all in contention for a win.
The first few laps of the race saw the NASA Prototypes break away from the second green-flag start with the small bore Super Touring 2 and 3 cars, and begin to make their way through the back of the Super Touring 1 field. Rivard and Putt battled side by side several times, allowing Fagner to keep a close gap on the two front runners. Just past halfway, Rivard dropped wheels off at the end of the back straight allowing Putt to slide by.
Fagner closed the gap on Putt while Rivard pulled off just past the exit of Turn 1 with a bent suspension arm due to the hard off. Putt went on to win, setting a new track record for NP01 at 1:36.286. Fagner finished second while Alex Wright of Ohio brought home third in his first race of the season.
Sunday’s racing was a bit of a mess, with rain that started Saturday night and didn’t let up the entire day. The main race was held under fairly steady wet conditions, large puddles and heavy wheel spray. Regardless, there were no issues with the NP01 class having problems staying on track. With his suspension fixed and a fresh set of Toyo RA-1’s, Rivard went on to an uncontested win in the main race setting the second fastest lap in the group.
As a side note, Elan tested its Super Touring 1 version of the NP01 on Saturday, putting it to the test in the main race. Local racer Franklin Futrelle won Super Touring 1, setting a blistering race laptime of 1:27.117.
The 2017 NASA Prototype season kicks off March 18-19 for all three divisions. The Pacific series will be racing at Willow Springs while the North and South Atlantic teams will make the first time series visit to NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green Kentucky. For more information on the series, driver profiles and specs on the NP01 and the entire 2017 schedule, visit www.NasaPrototype.com