The NASA Great Lakes traveling road show completed the third of three annual visits to Mid-Ohio in late August. The weather once again cooperated for the weekend, but some very loud cracks of thunder Thursday night left more than a few wondering if everything would be intact Friday morning. Luckily, everything was. Friday practice sessions were greeted by low cloud cover with mist in the air, a wet track, and the Spec Miata field chose to have some fun and test fate by going out on slicks to find grip on the famous Mid-Ohio surface. All returned to the paddock without incident and with big smiles – maybe we’re all a little crazy.
Saturday qualifying and race one was on the Pro Course configuration with 18 total competitors in Spec Miata. Jack Dorsey showed his usual quickness by setting the pace in qualifying with a 1:44.0 to take pole for race one. Teen Mazda Challenge racer Ayrton Grim grabbed P2 at 1:44.2 with Wyatt Wood 0.2 seconds behind in P3. At the drop of the green flag on the back straight, the field freight-trained Dorsey over Madness and through the Esses, dropping him to sixth. Dorsey recovered four positions to second by the end of lap three, but would get no further. Season points leader Chris Finnigan, starting from P5, took advantage of the train to grab P1 on lap three and would remain there through the 11 lap race. Dorsey would not make it easy for Finnigan, staying within 0.5 seconds waiting to take advantage of any mistakes. The battle for sixth through eighth heated up the last four laps between Randy Summerville, Teen Mazda Challenge drivers Blake Korth and Kamden Hibbitt. Summerville held less than a 0.5-second lead over the TMC drivers until the penultimate lap when a small bobble allowed both Korth and Hibbitt by.
The club course with the Bus Stop entering the Keyhole was used for races two and three on Sunday. With the race two grid set by race one fast lap times, Dorsey again took P1 with a 1:44.0, Finnigan P2 at 1:44.0, and Wood P3 with a 1:44.1. The race started the opposite of Saturday, with Finnigan being dropped to P4 with Wood and Ayrton Grim getting around for P2 and P3 respectively. Dorsey held P1 and dominated, building to a 3-second lead at the checkers. Summerville again was in a good battle, this time with veteran John Allen for P5. The two swapped positions twice in the final laps, with Allen coming out on top. Veteran Andy Sellers was challenged by John Poppenhouse the second half of the race, but Sellers prevailed by 0.6 seconds at the checkers.
The weekend finale saw Grim attain his first pole position (1:45.9), with Wood P2 (1:46.0), and Finnigan P3 (1:46.0). Grim held position for 10 laps with Wood filling his mirrors hoping for a mistake. With two laps remaining, Wood got the opportunity. Unfortunately for Wood, John Allen was sitting in P3 and was quicker to take advantage passing Wood and Grim for P1. Allen held P1 on the final lap for the win. A little farther back in the field there was good competition between Bruce Myrehn, John Poppenhouse, and Dustin Crooks. Poppenhouse got around Myrehn on the outside of China Beach to lead the trio with two laps remaining, but less than a lap later, locked the right front entering Keyhole, losing momentum and two positions to Myrehn and Crooks. He did get a run on Crooks out of Turn 1 on the final lap, but it wasn’t quite enough to get position prior to the Bus Stop.