NASA CMC returned to Road America after a two-year absence, and Kent Owens qualified on the pole with a blistering 2:36.5, followed by Derek Wright’s 2:37.2, leaving the rest of the field in another ZIP code running in the 2:42 range. The flagger was not familiar with our standing-start procedure, dropping the green flag too soon, and catching most of the field off guard. Wright and Owens got a good start followed by Tim Bennett and Bob Denton. Going into Turn 5 on lap one, Denton drafted Bennett, jumping out to pass in the braking zone to take third place. Owens and Wright battled and exchanged the lead twice, with Owens leading the last few laps. However, Owens had passed lapped traffic under yellow and was repositioned to last. The finishing order was Wright, Denton and Bennett.
Kent Owens had the pole again with a 2:37.306 for Sunday’s race in a shortened qualifying session due to a Honda Challenge car becoming a parts car in “The Kink.” Rounding out the top three Wright and Bennett.
Race two on Sunday morning was close throughout the field and navigating traffic was the key to success for this race. It was a repeat of Saturday’s race as far as Denton and Bennett were concerned. Starting side by side, it was a drag race from the start and they went side by side through turns 1, 2 and 3 with Denton getting a run on the outside of Turn 3 to pass Bennett by a car length on the exit. Denton and Bennett were within a second or two of Wright and Owens, who led the race until lap six. Going into turn one, Wright made the move of the weekend by braking very deep on the inside of Owens with only inches to spare. Wright held on for the last three laps to take his second win.
Race three was an inverted start of the finishing order of race two. This race was a late afternoon race, and earlier rain showers had sent some competitors packing early. With six starters, Jim Mayer had the pole in his ’89 Firebird followed by Todd Johnston and Peter Loftus. The first three laps were impressive as all six cars were knotted up and raced close until Wright and Bennett broke away. Wright had an axle failure and dropped out just as he was able to break free, passing the lead to Bennett. Seizing the opportunity, Bennett poured it on and walked away from the field for the win. Nobody could touch Bennett as he was two seconds faster than his closest competitor!