At round two of the Southern California region’s season of Spec Miata racing, Will Rodgers managed to take good and bad starting positions and make the most of them on his way to two wins at Buttonwillow Raceway Park.
Rob Burgoon qualified on pole for the start of Saturday’s race, followed by Rodgers and Teen Mazda Challenge driver Matt Million in third. Rodgers took the lead in Turn 2, then lost it to Burgoon less than a lap later. Three laps later, Rodgers made the pass in the Sunset turn and was able to keep it till the end.
Burgoon’s troubles weren’t over. Million got past him as a result of a mistake going into the Buttonhook turn. Million set his sights on Rodgers, and when lapped traffic held Rodgers up, Million tried to make a pass going through Phil Hill — but it didn’t work.
“A 944 helped me catch up to Will and we came up to Phil Hill, and I just kind of missed my marks and ran off the track,” Million said.
The off gave Burgoon an opening to retake second place, which he did and would hold till checkers. At the end, it was Rodgers in first, Burgoon in second and Million in third.
“(Matt) had an off on Phil Hill and I was able to capitalize on that,” Burgoon said. “I was able to go two wide with an out-of-class car through Phil Hill and when he rejoined us on the racetrack, it was a little bit hairy, but it paid off and I ended up with second after all that.”
After Sunday’s qualifying race, Burgoon started from pole, with Million in third and Rodgers back in fifth. It didn’t take Rodgers long to get to the front, though, where he and Burgoon waged an epic battle nose to tail for nine or 10 laps. The whole time they were battling, Rodgers was sizing up his opponent, then seized an opportunity to pass on the penultimate lap. Burgoon went four off and Rodgers was able to charge ahead to take the win.
“I was a little bit faster in places than him and he was a little bit faster in places than I was,” Rodgers said. “I ended up being able to pass him a few times, but he got me right back, and I kind of learned my lesson. So, the last time I made the pass, I made a pretty conservative block and luckily he went to the outside, and I got the stick on the inside of Sunset. Unfortunately he went off track and I made away clean, and from there I just held a gap till the checkered flag.”