Yan Dia gets a push from Teen Mazda Challenge driver Dean Dybdahl on his way to a win at Roebling Road Raceway in January.

The 2024 season opener weekend started at Roebling Road Raceway for NASA Southeast. While many parts of the country were experiencing winter storms, Southeast racers were treated to a cold, but relatively sunny and beautiful weekend in Savannah, Ga. Although it rained Friday, Saturday and Sunday proved to be quite nice. In the morning qualifying session, Keith Williamson was the only Spec Miata to crack a minute twenty-three, setting pole with a 1:22.877.

Race one started with Williamson on the pole and Yan Dia next to him on the front row. In the second row, Don Elvington and Teen Mazda Challenge driver Dean Dybdahl were set and ready to pounce. When the green flag waved, the outside row got a slightly better run with Dybdahl pushing Dia ahead of Williamson as they approached Turn 1. Now Williamson was trying to protect his second place position, but by Turn 4, Dybdahl cleared Williamson and settled into second place. For the rest of the race, Dybdahl stuck to Dia’s bumper, pushing him to the bitter end.

Peter Rigg was able to make a charge on lap four, moving ahead of Williamson for P3, only to have Williamson take back the position before the lap was over. Williamson took several shots trying to get past Dybdahl in Turn 1, but just couldn’t get the job done. In the end, Dia won the race with Dybdahl in P2, Williamson in P3, and Rigg in P4. There were some really close and exciting finishes behind them. Steven Champlin finished in P5, just .017 seconds ahead of Don Elvington in P6. Scott Brown finished in P7 just .045 seconds ahead of Dan Burbes in P8. This is why Spec Miata racing is so much fun!

The grid for race two had Williamson on pole again with a time of 1:23.084 from Saturday’s race. However this time, Dybdahl was on his outside with Dia and Rigg in row two. The inside row with Williamson and Dia pushed hard into Turn 1, giving the advantage to Williamson.

Unfortunately, Williamson’s tires weren’t that grippy yet so Dybdahl seized the moment to take the lead. Just as things were warming up, an accident in Turn 3 brought out of full-course caution on lap two. When racing resumed, Rigg was ready to put some pressure on Dia. By Turn 5, he was able to pass and take over P3, but Dia quickly passed him back when they raced along the front stretch. From that point on, the front five never changed positions. Dybdahl ran a perfect race, leading every lap and securing his first win in the Southeast Region. Behind him was Williamson in P2, Dia in P3, Rigg in P4, and Champlin in P5.

Dean Dybdahl picked up a win in race two at Roebling Road Raceway in January.

Williamson owned the pole position yet again for race three. Rigg was now starting to his outside with Dybdahl and Dia in row two. Rigg had almost a full car length on Williamson when they reached Turn 1, but Williamson was not about to give it up easy. The two raced side by side to Turn 4 where Williamson was able to push ahead of him. Williamson maintained the lead until the end of lap two, where Rigg was bumped to the front thanks to help from Dybdahl drafting with him. They both squirted by Williamson in Turn 1, taking P1 and P2 respectively.

On lap six, Williamson and Dia worked together, pushing Williamson to the lead, but also making it three-wide in Turn 1 with Dia, Dybdahl and Rigg all next to each other. Dybdahl was the victor from that trio, tucking behind Williamson while Dia and Rigg fought it out behind him. Not wanting to miss all the fun, Champlin was now hunting for a top 3 and mixing it up with Dia and Rigg. This action allowed Williamson and Dybdahl to pull away from the others.

Dybdahl showed patience and maturity behind Williamson, taking his time and waiting to make his move on the last lap. It was an exciting end with positions one-two and three-four racing side by side as they crossed the finish line. The margin of victory was just .033 seconds between first and second while third and fourth were separated by just .002 seconds! Dybdahl scored another win with Williamson finishing in P2, Rigg in P3, Dia in P4, and Champlin in P5.



No. 64 Keith Williamson picked up a second-place finish at Roebling Road, and No. 72 Peter Rigg nabbed a third-place finish.
Image courtesy of James Voss

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