With record-setting temperatures flaring across the Midwest, drivers knew it was going be a scorcher at Iowa’s Mid America Motorplex the last weekend of June. And it was, on and off track! With four races for the Storm race group and extra sessions for Time Trial and HPDE, drivers got their fill of track time.
Saturday’s qualifying saw John Slinkard in his Honda S2000 and Matt Miller in his Dodge Viper go after the overall and ST1 pole, with Slinkard nipping Miller at the end with a 1:36.498. Rookie Jim Thomas stole the American Iron pole in his Ford Mustang by .600 seconds from teammate Mark Adams, also driving a Mustang, with Brian Groth in his beautiful 2010 Camaro qualifying third.
Dillon Dexter nailed the Spec Miata pole by 2.1 seconds over his younger brother, rookie driver Warren. Charles Taylor was third in his newly built Miata followed by Joel Karns and Dexter clan father Zane.
Steve Pistora got pole in PTE as local speed demon Brett Westcott had trouble in warm-up and didn’t make qualifying.
The race started with a bit of drama when Matt Miller pulled off after Turn 5 on the first lap with a clutch failure. Slinkard went on to win, lapping up to the third-place overall car!
American Iron saw Adams and Groth fight for the win after Thomas dropped out on lap one with fuel-pressure problems. Groth got the lead on lap two and held it for the win with Adams never more than a car length or two behind. Anthony Dail ran a strong third for most of the race till suffering an engine failure on lap eight, handing the last step on the podium to Greg Hampton.
Dillon Dexter capitalized on his pole position and took the win in Spec Miata. The real action was for second through fifth as Karns, Taylor, Warren Dexter and Zane Dexter mixed it up. You never knew who would be in which spot for a number of laps. Finally, Karns and Taylor broke away to finish second and third, respectively.
Westcott started last and worked his way up to catch PTE pole sitter Pistora, a task made trickier because he first had to work through the Spec Miata field. The two ran nose to tail, sometimes split by a Spec Miata, and put on a great show. At the end, the gap was just 1.9 seconds with Westcott taking the win.
On Sunday, Slinkard won the overall pole again, a tick off his Saturday pace. American Iron saw Thomas grab pole with a 1:42.724, a whopping 2.1 seconds faster than his Saturday pole time. Adams and Groth went quicker as well, quite a feat given the 100-plus-degree temperatures. PTE driver Westcott made qualifying Sunday and cranked off a 1:49.522. Westcott had been trying for years to break the 1:50 barrier at Mid America and he’d finally done it! Lael Cleland came out for Sunday’s racing and was second on the PTE grid followed by Team Pistora driver Teresa Pistora.
In Spec Miata, Dillon Dexter once again was on pole, this time by a not-so-huge 1.2 seconds over brother Warren. Zane Dexter found some speed and nailed down third followed by Charles Taylor.
As the field started its pace lap, Slinkard chose to start last and work through traffic for fun, which left Thomas and Adams on the front row.
Thomas and Adams ran each other hard for 35 minutes, swapping the lead several times, never more than two or three car lengths apart. Looking for more speed, Groth made a setup change after qualifying and promptly charged rearward, finishing third and complaining of a general lack of grip. Adams scored the race’s fastest lap, cracking off a 1:43.730 for a new track record.
It was all Westcott in PTE, but farther back Cleland and Pistora had big fun dicing it up among the Spec Miata field, finishing in that order.
Spec Miata saw Warren and Dillon Dexter trade the lead nine times in 15 laps with Warren taking the win by .213 seconds! Dillon made a last-lap pass attempt that might have worked if the finish line were 50 feet farther down track. Karns came from last to finish third.