Willow Springs is difficult enough in the dry, so when the Southern California season kicked off at a rainy racetrack, all 15 Spec Miata racers on hand that day knew they would have their hands full.
Rob Burgoon qualified on pole with a 1:37.903, followed by Dakota Dickerson in second and Brett Becker in third. However, Becker was DQ’d for being 10 pounds underweight, relegating him to start from the back. That bumped Steve Champlin up to start third.
At the start, Dickerson missed a shift, but got a push from behind. Burgoon grabbed second going into the first turn. A couple of laps in, it started raining, and only two cars were on rain tires. Burgoon and Dickerson separated from Champlin and Matthew Million, who were engaged in a battle for third. In the end, Dickerson got by Burgoon to take the checkered flag.
“It was a drafting race. Whoever was in front was slower, so I stayed behind Rob the entire race until we hit lapped traffic,” Dickerson said. “I’m not too sure what happened, but it seemed like he kind of backed off, and I got around him, and from there I just didn’t see him again.”
Burgoon didn’t attempt to retake the lead because Dickerson’s pass was under yellow. That meant Dickerson was DQ’d, which handed the win to Burgoon, with Million in second and Champlin in third.
“Shortly after the crest of Turn 6, he passed me under caution, which was good because I was running out of grip in my tires,” Burgoon said. “Once I got the pass under caution on video, all I needed to do was not get passed by anyone else, and that was pretty much the race.”
In Sunday’s qualifying race, Burgoon earned the pole, followed by Becker in second and Champlin in third.
At the start, Burgoon took the inside line in Turn 1. By Turn 3, Becker had closed in to have a look inside, but he wasn’t able to get past Burgoon, who then increased his lead with each lap. Dickerson sliced his way from the back of the pack and eventually got past Burgoon for the win. In an equally impressive charge from the back, Sean Douglass took what was an ailing car all weekend and put it into the third spot, fending off Becker and Champlin to hold on for the last spot on the podium.
“The car just hooked up and ran really well once we got the wiring figured out,” Douglass said. “Many thanks and appreciation to all the Spec Miata crew, because if it weren’t for all the other drivers helping me get my car running, I wouldn’t even have been out there, and that’s the most important part.”