NASA Great Lakes ended the 2016 season at National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park on October 22-23 in a crossover event with NASA Southeast. Like the opening event of the season in March, we used the Grand Full Course. This 3.15-mile configuration includes 23 turns, the Sinkhole area and a chicane at the end of the front straightaway. This challenging course is technical with high-speed turns, a second-gear low-speed turn, blind turns and lots of elevation change.
After AI qualifying Saturday, TJ Bain in his white Firebird was on pole, followed by Jeremy Moen second in his orange Camaro and Audrey Zavodsky in her silver and green Poe Motorsports 2015 Mustang in third. Todd Davis qualified his black Buick Grand National in fourth, and Todd Rogers was fifth in his Maple Grove Truck Equipment blue and green Mustang. Jason Lakomiak missed qualifying, while trying to fix a leaking oil fitting in his green Fox-body Mustang.
At the start, yellow flags in Turn 2 bottled up field. With Lakomiak and Rogers getting in front of Davis before the incident. Rodgers then had issues when his front splitter broke off of its mounts! Bain and Moen got into a battle going into Turn 6 with Zavodsky behind and Lakomiak catching Zavodsky.
Lakomiak got alongside of Zavodsky in the run down from Turn 8 to Turn 10. Lakomiak pushed wide after the apex of Turn 10 and spun as he hit the gators. This then sent him back onto the track and into Zavodsky’s right rear wheel. Lakomiak had major damage to the front of his car, which took him out of the race. Fortunately, Zavodsky continued. At the front, Moen kept in pursuit of Bain. Zavodsky put a gap between herself and Todd Davis. Bain gradually grew his lead to take the win. Moen finished second, Zavodsky third, and Todd Davis fourth.
In American Iron Extreme, John Jung was back with a loaner engine. He had been sidelined since April at Mid-Ohio. He got the win and set a blistering track record lap of 2:11.311!
Saturday featured the Great Lakes region annual awards banquet at the National Corvette Museum. This was a formal dinner event with access to the museum and bourbon tasting. Todd Davis won the 2016 Great Lakes American Iron regional championship. TJ Bain was second and Jeremy Moen was third. Jeff Henderson won the 2016 Great Lakes American Iron Extreme regional championship.
Sunday’s race did not count toward regional championship points, but it did count for a special Bourbon Barrel award and contingencies. It was a 45-minute race that would end the season. The American Iron race had an inverted start that put Jason Lakomiak on pole. His car was finally ready to go after lengthy repairs Saturday night and all of Sunday morning. Todd Rogers got his front splitter issues fixed and started second. Todd Davis was third, Zavodsky fourth, Moen fifth and Bain sixth.
The track got busy quickly at the start. Traffic bunched up right at the Turn 1 bus stop, and then a yellow flag at Turn 2. Rogers, Moen, and Zavodsky got in front of the conservative Lakomiak. Then Moen took the lead. Things fell apart fast at the front! Moen had a bad off-track excursion at the entrance of the Sinkhole. He was able to continue, but damage caused one of his fender extensions to come off and flop in the wind. He also had two bent rear shocks. Rogers quickly caught up to Moen and was looking to pass. Moen got the black flag to come in due to the damage, but Rogers also came in thinking the flag was for more issues with his front splitter! Coming in ended Rogers and Moen’s races. Lakomiak was just behind Zavodsky with Davis and Bain behind.
Bain deftly worked his way through Davis, Lakomiak and Zavodsky. Davis then used traffic to get ahead of Lakomiak. Lakomiak was hounding Davis for five laps until Davis had brake issues in Turn 3 and Lakomiak passed. There was now a large gap between Davis, Lakomiak, Zavodsky and Bain. Bain kept pushing and reset the track record at 2:17.837. And that’s how the race ended. Bain got his second win of the weekend and the coveted Bourbon Barrel trophy! Zavodsky took second, with Lakomiak in third and Davis fourth.