NASA Midwest racer Greg Vannucci drove his Lotus to a third-place spot on the podium at last year’s National Championships at Miller Motorsports Park. This year, he was gunning for the top step.
He was quick in qualifying, scoring a first- and a second-place finish and posting a 1:31.529 second lap time, just ahead of Road Atlanta ace Matt Isbell, who wrote the instructional story for Road Atlanta in the September issue of Speed News. Isbell also had a first- and second-place finish in qualifying and posted a lap time just .034 seconds slower than Vannucci. Great Lakes racer Chris Durbin started from third.
Vannucci led early on, but after dropping two wheels in the grass at the exit of the ultra-fast Turn 12, he lost control, spun and collided with the inside wall on the front straight, which bottled everyone up in a full-course caution. That left Isbell with the lead, and when the race resumed, Isbell poured it on to take the win, followed by Chris Durbin in second in his Ford “Mustaro” — a Mustang with an LS engine — and Mark West in third in his Nissan GTR.
“It was really a matter of attrition,” Isbell said. “Greg Vannucci had me by three-thousandths of a second, but he had that big off coming out of the exit of 12. After that I just had to manage the gap, which I had three seconds on and well as manage my car. I hope Greg is OK. I am glad for MTI, we have won three national championships together and I thank them.”
Vannucci exited his car and walked to the ambulance on his own.