The first Camaro-Mustang Challenge crossover race of the year for NASA Midwest and Great Lakes regions kicked off May 18-19 at Putnam Park Road Course. The combination for the two regions brought out 10 CMC cars for the event.
Saturday qualifying was interesting because it had rained hard between practice and qualifying, and the track was wet, but drying. This worked out for everyone except Bob Denton and Dan Close. Denton was low on fuel and his engine started cutting out as the track dried, and had to come in as everyone else was getting faster as the track dried. Close was fighting an engine that had been cutting out at 4,500 rpm, which haunted him for the rest of the weekend. The rest of the field all had their fastest times on the last lap of qualifying. Spencer Caudle got the pole with a 1.24.051 and Kent Owens rounded out the front row with a 1.24.757
By Saturday afternoon the weather was nearly perfect for the 35-minute race. Caudle and Owens broke away from the rest of the field after just a few laps and had an epic battle running tenths apart lap after lap. Caudle ultimately won, but Owens had the fast lap of 1.20.503 and set a new track record.
Nate Pitcher, Robert Salus, Bob Denton and Tim Bennett all were running similar lap times had a tight race for the majority of the race until Pitcher’s car began overheating and was overtaken by Bennett and Denton. Once around Pitcher, Bennett and Denton caught Salus but could not get around him. Salus held off the two with an inopportune standing yellow that negated the fastest portion of the track for Denton and Bennett.
Sunday’s qualifying session was dry and sunny, with Kent Owens getting the pole and Derek Wright close behind. As race time approached, it was hot for Indiana in mid-May, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees. Owens and Wright jumped out to an early lead and set a pace about a half second faster than Bennett, Salus, Denton and Pitcher. Still struggling with overheating woes, Pitcher dropped out after five laps. Salus, Bennett and Denton had kept pace with one another for the majority of the race until about two laps remained. Salus and Denton dropped out with heat-related issues. Owens and Wright maintained their battle till the very end with Wright taking the win by a two-second margin.