No. 97 Bayani Dia picked up the Saturday win at the NASA Southeast season opener at Roebling Road in January. Teen Mazda Challenge driver Aiden Baker Crouse and series leader Keith Williamson also podiumed on Saturday.

NASA Southeast Spec Miata kicked off the 2020 season at Roebling Road with an 18-car field. Qualifying on pole was 2019 Mark Donohue Award recipient, Broderick Bauguess, with a 1:22.764, with Keith Williamson P2, just .001 second in front of P3 Yan Dia, Grant West P4 and Aide Crouse P5.

At the start, Bauguess had the inside line and got a good run, leading Dia and Crouse out of Turn 2. West picked off Williamson entering Turn 3. On the next lap, Bauguess — racing for the first time in Spec Miata — got a lesson in the value of bump-drafting as Dia and Crouse bump-drafted past him and West drafted up beside him as they entered Turn 1. Bauguess and West then entered Turn 3 side by side, with Bauguess giving up the position as the pair entered Turn 4.

On lap two, Crouse and West bump-drafted past Dia before entering Turn 1, leaving the order Crouse, West, Dia, Bauguess and Williamson. Two laps later, Bauguess got to Dia and pushed him up to Crouse and West, and then ducked inside Dia at the apex of Turn 2 to take the third position. Then on lap eight, Bauguess bump-drafted West up to the brake zone of Turn 1 then ducked inside to get up beside West. But as the two started into Turn 2, Bauguess locked up the right rear tire, got loose and into the side of West, sending the pair off the track. Crouse now had about a six-car-length lead on Dia and Williamson. As the three leaders started to work through traffic, Dia and Williamson bump-drafted on the front straight each lap, trying to reel Crouse in, but the gap never appeared to change.

Then on lap 16, Crouse tried to pass a 944 back marker on the outside of Turn 5, but had to bail off track to avoid contact because the 944 driver didn’t see him. Crouse kept the hammer down and his car pointed in the right direction, but Dia and Williamson were coming up fast. Dia pinched his exit of Turn 5 to avoid contact as Crouse came back on the track beside him, but Dia had more momentum and passed Crouse. Williamson then startede to pass Crouse as they entered Turn 6, but Crouse has now gotten back up to speed and the pair came out of Turn 6 side by side, heading for Turn 9 where Williamson gave it up to drop in behind Crouse. Yan Dia took the win, with Aiden Crouse P2, Keith Williamson P3, Grant West P4 and Broderick Bauguess P5.

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Bayani Dia leads Keith Williamson and Grant West on his way to the first Spec Miata win in 2020 in NASA Southeast.

Bauguess won pole again on Sunday with a 1:23.625, with Williamson P2, Crouse P3, West P4, and Dia P5. The inside cars again got a good run into Turn 1 with the order coming out of Turn 3, Bauguess, Crouse, Dia, West and Williamson. Crouse immediately began bump drafting Bauguess as the pair came on to the front straight and started gapping the rest of the five-car pack. The next lap, West was able to get to Dia’s bumper but could only keep the lead pair from increasing their lead. On lap four, running in Dia and West’s draft, Williamson got a run on them and got by West entering Turn 1 just as a light rain began to fall.

By lap five, Williamson was able to get to Dia’s bumper soon after tracking out of Turn 9, but still Bauguess and Crouse were edging away with Dia’s three-car group entering T3 as Bauguess and Crouse were apexing Turn 2. On lap six, Bauguess carried a little too much speed in to Turn 2, got loose and went off spinning in the dirt. At the same time, Williamson got a good run on Dia, drafting up to him and pulled to the inside to make the pass before entering Turn 1. West was able to get beside Dia entering Turn 1 to make the pass going into Turn 2. But what the draft can give, the bump draft can take away, as Dia bump drafted West passed Williamson before entering Turn 1 on the next lap.

These lead changes of the three-car pack, battling for P2, continue with all three drivers at the front of the pack at one time or another. This three-car battle had eight lead changes with the last one happening on the last lap as Williamson got a run on Dia completing the pass just before reaching the yellow flag at T1.Needless to say, Aiden Crouse was pleased to see the group behind him weren’t cooperating to try to close the gap on him. A wise racer, Grant West, said afterward that a two-car group has a better chance of catching P1 than a 3 car pack. So true! Aiden Crouse won the race in a convincing manner, with Williamson P2, Dia P3, West P4 and Bauguess P5.

Aiden Baker Crouse leads No. 5 Grant West and No 3. Broderick Bauguess, a 2017 Spec E46 national champion.

NASA Southeast Spec Miata racers appreciated Broderick Bauguess checking out Spec Miata, and we hope to see him again in the future. Fresh out of comp School, Connor DeYoung, in an NA 1.6 showed he has a lot of potential, finishing 12th in his first race and seventh on Sunday. Also welcome Ernie Cole, coming over from SCCA to make his first NASA race. Post-race Sunday, there were lots of smiles and enthusiasm as small groups of Spec Miata drivers shared their intense and fun battles with each other. Roy Parsons was particularly happy and animated about his first multi-lap battle with Ann Morey.

RESULTS

Image courtesy of Jim Voss

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