Marcelo Vine won the 944 Spec Championship at COTA in 2018, but was DQ’d in tech inspections after the race. This year, Vine started from last and advanced to first and the Championship.

Marcelo Vine has had an arduous climb to a 944 Spec Championship. He got edged out in 2017. In 2018, he won the race, but failed a tech inspection after the race. This year, he was determined, but things started looking like same-old, same-old when he was DQ’d for a dyno infraction after Saturday’s qualifying race.

That put him at the back of the pack for the start, so he began another arduous climb through the field to try to get past the quick Michael Cooper and Derrek Morehead, who race often at Mid-Ohio. The climb finally got him to the top, and post-race tech inspections kept him there. Vine finally claimed a 944 Spec Championship.

“We detuned the car and we went way below where we were supposed to be,” Vine said. “So then we blew the engine anyway, so we had to rebuild the engine, that’s why we didn’t make it yesterday for qualifying races so we had to start in the back.”

Fifteen minutes into the race, Vine was badgering Derrek Morehead, who started from pole and led the race early on. Vine tried the inside of the Keyhole, the outside of Turn 1 and finally got it done near Thunder Valley, when Vine and Cooper got past him. Cooper held on and finished second.

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Michael Cooper started from second, fell back to third, then advanced to finish second in 944 Spec at Mid-Ohio.

“I got behind Derrek fairly quick and stayed behind him as long as I could, until I had a good chance to pass him,” Cooper said. “And I passed him as he had a shifter issue going around the Carousel. So, I was able to capitalize on that and then went after Marcel as much as I could.”

Morehead, who won the qualifying race Saturday and started from pole ended up finishing third. Mechanical issues thwarted his efforts to hold onto first place. He dropped back to fourth behind Paul Davison. Morehead fought back to third place, which is where he finished.

“It was a good race until I had some transmission issues coming down in the Carousel. Went to downshift into third, didn’t have anything,” Morehead said “I finally found second gear and just really manhandled the transmission for the rest of the race. Started catching back up, overcooked it into one. I probably slung third cloud halfway up the hill. Those guys ran a great race. Just not enough time. Maybe another 15 minutes.”

Derrek Morehead won the qualifying race, started from pole and led a good portion of the Championship race, but a transmission problem cropped up and he finished third in 944 Spec.
Image courtesy of Downforce Media

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