NASA Great Lakes/Midwest Spec Miata brought an end to 2014 season at Mid-Ohio October 4 and 5. Despite weather in the 30s, the competition was as hot as could be, with Justin Hille and Chris Williams headed into the last weekend in a dead tie for the Great Lakes championship. Chris Price took pole on Saturday, with Hille in second and Ryan Roberson in third.
Fifteen cars took the green flag, barreling down into China Beach. Price held the lead for several laps until Hille managed to slip by heading into China Beach with Williams in tow. That configuration lasted for the entire race as Williams pushed Hille until last-lap traffic separated the two cars by 3 seconds, allowing Hille to draw first blood and take the Saturday win. Williams brought home second, and Price completed the podium.
Sunday’s race grid was based on fastest lap in Saturday’s race, so despite Hille holding the advantage heading into the last race of the year, Williams held the pole for the start. Hille was second on grid, followed by Chris Price, Robert Keller, Jonathan Davis and Jay North.
Keller took the lead when the cars crossed the line for the first time. Williams worked back through the top three quickly, with Hille right on his tail. After getting by North and Price, only Keller remained. After some serious side-by-side racing through China Beach and all the way to the Honda Bridge, Williams was back in front, but Hille was not far behind. The championship race was on!
Williams remained in the lead for many laps while time dwindled. Hille finally made his move in the entrance to the Carousel, sneaking inside and passing Williams under braking. Williams held off Davis and set up to pass Hille in China Beach, only to be frustrated by a yellow flag. The flag remained for three laps, and Williams finally had to make his move in the entry to the Keyhole. As Hille set up, Williams sneaked inside and squirted into the lead under braking. Williams was able to hang until the end, and brought home his first Great Lakes Championship, finally loosening Hille’s grip on Great Lakes Championships after three consecutive years. Davis was right behind the front runners in third, and posted fast lap of the race at 1:42.669. Unfortunately, an earlier skirmish gave Davis a DQ for the race. The DQ allowed Price to take his second podium of the weekend in third.