The NASA Great Lakes traveling road show made its latest stop of the season at Gingerman Raceway June 17-19 in South Haven, Mich. The beach resort town on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan normally greets the Great Lakes racers with temperatures around 90 degrees. 2022 provided a welcome change, with temperatures 10 degrees cooler, which had some drivers thinking a new track record might be possible Sunday morning during the coolest part of the day. No track record was produced, but for the third race weekend in a row, fast lap race times for the top 10 cars were within a second of each other. There were 20 Spec Miata competitors and no room for error. Car prep, confidence, and consistency are table stakes in 2022.
Qualifying for race one on Saturday was topped by three Teen Mazda Challenge drivers. Nate Nicholson was P1 with a 1:46.7, Wyatt Wood was second and Jack Dorsey in third. Nicholson’s time unofficially bested the track record by 0.1 second. Nicholson led the race flag to flag, but the hotter afternoon temperatures prevented a repeat track-record performance, slowing him to a 1:48.0.
Dan Mount, starting from P4, got around the quick Jack Dorsey on lap four and immediately starting closing on Wood. Mount took advantage of a small bobble by Wood on lap seven for second, holding the position until the last lap when Wood regained P2 prior to checkers. 2021 regional champion John Allen, who had his car sorted at Gingerman after troubleshooting handling issues during the initial events this year, would have an impressive drive to fourth after starting P9.
Race two Sunday morning gridded with the same three TMC drivers, only shuffled: Wood P1, Nicholson P2, and Dorsey P3. Dorsey had the pressure dialed up on Wood from lap one, keeping the gap as low as 0.1 second until taking the lead on lap seven, where he would finish at the checker. John Allen secured his first podium of 2022 with a P3 after starting P9. Allen swiped two positions on lap one, and slowly worked his way through the competition to P3 on the last lap. Bruce Myrehn, Ryan Roberson, and Jeff Wood (Wyatt’s father) had an epic battle through lap 6, with 1 second separating the three racers. Roberson ultimately came out on top. Returning to competition after a couple weeks off, Andy Sellers also had an impressive run, starting P18 and finishing P12.
For the final race on Sunday, Allen started P1, followed by Dorsey P2, and Chris Finnigan P3. Finnigan returned to the top of the starting order after being perplexed by an alternator-related issue to start the weekend. Turns out Spec Miatas need electrons in addition to fuel to run. Allen would only hold P1 for a lap, because the very quick Dorsey grabbed P1 and held that until Finnegan, with some fresh alternator electrons, took P1 on lap five. Not giving up, Allen retook P1 on lap eight and would hold until the finish. There were several good battles farther back in the pack as well. Myrehn / Jeff Wood, and Nick Davis / John Poppenhouse each worked hard to best their rivals.
Fast lap of the weekend went to John Allen, with 1:47.669 in race 2 Sunday morning. Track record is 1:46.803.