The NASA Southeast Region started off the 2023 season down south near Savannah, Ga., at Roebling Road Raceway, and the cold weather arrived just in time to start the weekend. The low temperatures were in the 30s, highs in the 40s and 15 mph headwinds made the front straightaway much longer. The morning all racer warm-up session was extremely cold, so the wind coming into the car froze drivers’ hands to the point of pain. The qualifying session was a little warmer and the track surface began to offer better grip.
Honda Challenge 1 qualifying had the rookie Boston Maler on pole with a blistering pace and everyone was watching as he was on pace to set a new track record. Right behind him was Will Hunter. Honda Challenge 2 qualifying had Michael Kramer on pole, Team Moar Door in P2 with Shane Lovely at the wheel and Wil McKenzie in P3. Last on the grid was H1 racer Rob Oxford in the very back for skipping qualifying.
All six Honda Challenge racers approached the start tower anticipating the green flag, and when they took off, Will Hunter won the drag race to Turn 1 with Boston Maler right on his bumper. Team Moar Door and Michael Kramer were door to door until the brake zone, and Michael Kramer with the inside line got the lead. Rob Oxford slipped by Wil McKenzie and they went nose to tail through the first few corners.
After lap one, Boston Maler passed Will Hunter going back into Turn 1 and focused on the track record. Michael Kramer and Team Moar Door were battling, but eventually Michael Kramer put a small gap on Team Moar Door. Toward the end of the race Michael Kramer was so close to the H2 track record he could taste it. The taste overcame his tires’ limits and he put two wheels off in Turn 7, but that didn’t slow him down for long. The next lap Michael Kramer went into Turn 4 too hot and drifted off track, but kept it out of the sand trap. This let Team Moar Door got back in striking distance.
At the checkered flag, H1 rookie Boston Maler was P1 and set the new track record by more than half a second. Then it was Will Hunter in P2 and Rob Oxford in P3. In H2 Michael Kramer held on to P1, right on his rear bumper was Team Moar Door in P2 and Wil McKenzie in P3.
Sunday morning’s race one was at 9:00 a.m. on a cold track with cold brains, cars and tires. When the green flag dropped, Rob Oxford jumped out to the lead in H1. Michael Kramer took the lead in H2 with Team Moar Door right on his tail, and they never let the H1 field get out of their sights. There were no lead changes in the H2 class, but Team Moar Door kept pushing Michael Kramer lap after lap.
After a few laps the tires heated up, gained grip and Will Hunter took the inside line of Turn 1 completing a pass taking the lead away from Rob Oxford. Next, Boston Maler took the inside line in Turn 4, made the pass on Rob Oxford and set his sights on the new leader Will Hunter. Wil was able to put a few seconds gap between himself and Boston Maler after he made the pass for the lead, but on lap five all three of his mirrors were full of Boston Maler.
After many laps of bumper-to-bumper fun, a red flag came out for a 10-minute clean up. The race resumed for a one-lap sprint to the checkers. At the checkered flag, H1 leader Will Hunter got his first win, followed by Boston Maler in P2 and Rob Oxford in P3. In H2 Michael Kramer not only got the win but also broke the H2 lap record! Close behind was Team Moar Door in P2 and Wil McKenzie in P3.
Race three had a few exciting moments and it started with Boston Maler busting his lap record from the day before by .5 seconds. Boston Maler believes there are 1:16s to be had with fresh sticker tires. Next Wil McKenzie got more comfortable with the track and found another 3 seconds setting his personal best. Rob Oxford was somehow able to stay ahead of Will Hunter for the first time all weekend and grab a second-place finish. Team Moar Door developed steering issues and came in early. Good thing too, the axle would have let go if she stayed out one more lap.