NASA Southeast welcomed 19 Spec Miatas to Carolina Motorsports Park in November for the track’s first race under new ownership. On Saturday Aiden Crouse set the fastest time for pole position with a 1:50.813, followed by Yan Dia, P2, Grant West P3, Pat Smith P4 and Keith Williamson P5.
After taking the green flag, 19 Spec Miatas thundered down toward Turn 1. Williamson locked up in the brake zone, slid across the track and tapped Smith, sending the both off the track and scattering the SM field like a shotgun blast through covey of quail. Crouse, West, Dia and Brad Miller got away clean and started to gap the scattered field. Dia got inside West going into Turn 4 for P2 and Pat Smith got around Annika Carter at Turn 8 to move up to P5. Carter then got loose after turning into Turn 11 and collected Don Elvington, taking them both out of the race.
Smith was pushing hard and closed up with the P2 -P4 group as Crouse continued driving a flawless race. Smith eventually got to P2, but Dia got back around him leaving Crouse to take the win from pole to checker followed by Dia P2, Smith P3, West P4 and Miller P5.
For Sunday’s race, we still started a 19 car field, thanks to the Southeast Spec Miata racers pulling together to repair several cars. Pat Smith, with fresh tires, grabbed pole position with a 1:51.291, followed by Crouse in P2, West P3, Williamson P4 and Miller P5. This time Spec Miata had a clean start.
Pat Smith took off like a scalded dog with fresh tires and started gapping the field. West made the most of his inside position at Turn 1 and got by Crouse for P2, and Miller got by Williamson on the inside as well, leaving the order: Smith P1, West P2, Miller P3, Williamson P4 and Dia P5. Miller then picked off Crouse at the Kink and Williamson lost two positions after missing a shift coming out Turn 14.
Crouse started battling with West for P2 while a couple of car lengths back, Dia and Miller were fighting for P4. On lap eight, Crouse was able to get around West and started to chase down Smith. Meanwhile, Dia tried several times to pass Miller at Turn 11, but was unable to make it stick and ended up losing his position to Tyler Harrell. Crouse was able to get close to Smith, but ran out of time to make a fight of it. Dia took back P5 from Harrell and the race ended with Pat Smith winning, Crouse P2, West P3, Miller P4 and Dia P5.