Performance Touring D only had five cars, but it was notable for a couple of hot shoes from out of this region. Dillon Dexter hails from NASA Central and Charlie Hayes came from Northern California. Both drivers had fresh Miatas and a hankering for the top spot.
Hayes started from the top spot, with Hunter Gahl in second and Dillon’s brother Zane Dexter in third. Dillon started from fifth because of a dearth of points accumulated on Saturday.
At the start, Hayes led Gahl and Zane into Turn 1. Performance Touring classes all started in one wave, so there was out-of-class traffic to deal with from the get-go. Hayes had established a sizeable lead early in the race, but Dillon was back on his tail a couple of laps later, and by the time the double-yellows came out to clear a wreck between a Honda Challenge car and a PTB car, Dillon was one-up on Hayes.
That led to a late-race dash on the restart, which was made all the more remarkable due to fluids spilled on the track leading to the Bus Stop. Hayes had the lead going in.
“I used that double-yellow to close that gap back up and going up the Esses I was able to pass him on the outside and I led for a lap or two until he finally got me again,” said Hayes, who finished second. “I didn’t have the right strategy going into the Bus Stop and there was oil down and I thought there wasn’t that much, I ended up in the oil, so I lost a couple of car lengths right there and I couldn’t really gather it up quick enough’
The spilled oil caught Gahl by surprise, too and he ended up in third.
“I did forget about that oil after that guy blew up in the Bus Stop,” Gahl said. “I just forgot about it completely and I hit the braking zone and I got squirrely, and that’s when I lost first and second. They ran away from me at that point. I had a blast. That was the most fun I’ve ever had on track.”
Dillon Dexter either missed the oil or remembered it was there and took a different line, and he ended up on the top step of the podium.
“The car’s been on rails the whole weekend. We really feel like we found the proper aero balance for this track. No push. No oversteer, which really helped me out in the high-speed corners, just being able to drive around people,” Dillon said. “We recently did an E85 conversion on it, which doesn’t really give us a whole lot more power, but the power band is very healthy on it. We’re from Nebraska, so we like our corn juice.”