The field in 944 Spec featured a few familiar faces. Great Lakes/Midwest standout Neal Agran had earned pole, with 2014 944 Spec Champion Daniel Williams in second, who was trailed by Dan Piña, who finished third at the 2014 Western States Championships at Sonoma Raceway.
When the green flag dropped, Williams jumped out into the lead on the first lap, but when he entered Turn 1 on the second lap, he and Agran got tangled up and Agran spun, which bumped him back several positions. By the time he was able to get back on track and rolling, the field had passed him by. Agran pressed on, eventually finding his way into fourth by midrace.
That left Piña up front to battle for the lead with NASA Southeast 944 Spec series leader Jason Stanley. As the two traded positions for several laps, Williams recovered from his incident with Agran and crept back into the mix by lap six. Williams, Stanley and Piña continued to mix it up throughout the race, which ran from flag to flag with no caution periods.
By lap nine, Piña had a grip on the lead he would never relinquish. Hounded by Stanley and Williams, he held the lead for nine more laps to finish first and score his first Championship in 944 Spec.
“This is what spec racing in NASA is all about,” Piña said. “The leaders got into contact early on. I got nailed on the third lap and my alignment got messed up, but it was still good enough to stay in the race. From then I was really trying to run defensively and hang onto the lead. I got passed a couple of times, but I was able to get it back, and from then it was just preservation. Just stay out in front and make no big mistakes, and just run hard.”
Jason Stanley was able to recapture the lead from Piña, but couldn’t quite close the deal, and finished second.
“We battled it out for the last couple of laps there in the end,” Stanley said. “I tried to get a really smooth run down Roller Coaster to maybe get enough speed to maybe go around the outside of him, because I knew he was going to be coming down the front straight on the inside. But he ended up having the momentum, and we ended up going across Start/Finish side by side.”
Williams finished third, but he was disqualified after the race, along with fellow Scottsbluff, Neb., racer Jason Walsh. That moved Agran from his fourth-place spot up into third.