The weekend of July 22-24 saw the NASA Great Lakes racing series stopping at Pitt Race in the hilly northwest corner of Pennsylvania. The 17-turn course uses the natural terrain to create a course that will challenge your car setup. The results, three separate winners found the right formula in continued tight Spec Miata competition.
The 2022 season has seen close competition and Pitt Race was no different. You would think with a longer, more challenging track, there would be a little separation in fast lap times. Not so for Spec Miata. Race one on Saturday again saw the top 10 cars within a second on those fast lap times. Bring your A-game to grid.
Series veteran Dan Mount set a blistering warmup lap of 2:06.7, besting the next best by 0.4 seconds. Mount couldn’t repeat that for qualifying. Teen Mazda Challenge driver Nate Nicholson took P1 with a 2:07.2, followed by TMC driver Wyatt Wood, and Mount in third, .5 seconds behind.
Wood jumped Nicholson immediately at the green flag and held him off for the first three laps until TMC driver Jack Dorsey, starting from P4 got around Nicholson for P2 on lap four. Dorsey closed to within 0.4 seconds of P1, but Wood was not fazed and held his position to the checkers.
Mount (P3) spun in Turn 1 of lap two to avoid contact and unfortunately dropped to the back of the pack and out of podium competition. Nicholson had contact with an out-of-class car on lap five, finishing P10 with damaged rear suspension and an axle shaft. Hard chargers in the race were Jeff Wood, qualifying P11 and finishing P4, and John Allen. Allen aborted his qualifying run due to a fuel line failure, but ran up through the field from P19 to finish P6. Well done!
Race two action up front started immediately from the green flag. John Allen (P2) took P1 from Nicholson, and Wyatt Wood (P4) overtook Nicholson and Chris Finnigan (P3) to grab second position. By lap four, Nicholson took second away from Wood to battle Allen to the checkers. Allen held position, winning by 0.2 seconds. Lurking behind the top four was Dorsey, looking for opportunities. Dorsey found them on lap five, grabbing two positions to third, then holding off Finnigan and Wood by 0.1 seconds the remaining five laps to grab the last podium spot.
The weekend finale held even more action for the class favorites in the Sunday afternoon heat. Nicholson, starting P1, dropped to seventh on lap four, and Dorsey (P2) took first for three laps until he experienced the same fate, dropping to sixth, each getting pushed off line due to the close racing. Veteran John Allen was there to take advantage of both errors, taking over first place. Nicholson, however, would not be denied and battled back to take P1 with two laps to go and held it to the finish. Wyatt Wood, starting from P5 grabbed third place for his second podium finish of the weekend.
Four more race weekends remain in the 2022 schedule, no doubt we’ll see just as much action as the top contenders battle for the season championship!