Round four of the Southeast Region 944Spec 2016 season found the series returning to Roebling Road Raceway with a field of six racers, including the top four in the championship. Jason Stanley entered the event with an 80-point lead on the rookie Kyle Kimball who is followed by the Tom Crookston, only 37 points behind.
Saturday’s race was largely uneventful after the grid was set. The rookie Kimball took the pole just one tenth up on Stanley. Pete Yousko qualified third and Crookston fourth, also with only one tenth separating them.
Immediately on the start Stanley, got the jump and a little bit of luck navigating the out-of-class cars, pulling out a lead he kept till the end. Kimball worked through traffic as best he could, but never gained an advantage on Stanley, who ended up taking an 8-second lead by the checkered. Pete Yousko followed in third being the last man on the lead lap.
Sunday’s race was an epic battle between the top two from Saturday. Stanley turned up the intensity in qualifying posting a time of 1:22.986, three tenths quicker than Kimball.
Immediately getting a good start, Stanley set the track record on lap two with a 1:23.127. It appeared there would be a repeat of Saturday, but Kimball kept responding with similar lap times of his own letting no traffic slow him. On lap five with a couple seconds on Kimball, Stanley was forced to check up in the fastest corner leading onto the longest straight due to lapped traffic. With all the momentum, Kimball erased the deficit and completed the pass into Turn 1. Stanley regained the lead with a similar draft pass on lap nine.
Again on lap 18, Kimball was able to pull off the same draft pass into Turn 1 just in time for the pair to move into a large pack of traffic. Stanley and Kimball were forced to make some midcorner passes for risk of giving the other an advantage. Kimball even took a three-wide pass on lap 21, putting two out-of-class cars between him and Stanley.
Not giving up, Stanley worked his way back, closing the gap on Kimball to apply pressure and force Kimball to overwork his tires. On lap 24, the pair got side by side down the long front straight, but Kimball maintained an advantage. With time winding down, Stanley knew he had to make the pass. Having the better tires at the end of the race gave Stanley the opportunity to carry more speed out of the last corner and finally stick a draft pass into Turn 1 with the white flag flying, and hold on for the win.