Spec Robert Miller came to Watkins Glen International to defend the 2015 Spec Iron Championship title he earned at Virginia International Raceway, but he wasn’t having the best luck at this year’s event. An infraction on Saturday left him with a paltry amount of points, and he was relegated to start from fifth of six cars.
Pole position went to NASA Southeast’s James Ray, followed by Cash Canada in second and GT Meyer in third. On the standing start, Miller leapt to the inside and picked up three spots by the time he got to Turn 1.
Just nine minutes into the race, a Honda Challenge car and a Performance Touring entry got together in the entrance to the Uphill Esses and slid off into the Armco on the outside, bringing out a local yellow, and then a full-course caution. That brought out the safety car for about 10 minutes.
On the restart, one of the PTB cars dropped some fluid in the braking zone to the Bus Stop, bringing out surface-condition flags and on the following lap, the white flag. By that time, Ray had gotten around Miller, so it was a last-lap dash for glory. Miller ended up getting around Ray in time to get the checkers by .403 seconds and his second Spec Iron Championship.
“I got a great start,” Miller said. “I ended up third going into Turn 1 and then James Ray and I battled all the way to the end, and it was awesome. Clean. I couldn’t ask for better.”
Ray was magnanimous in his second-place finish.
“First of all, let’s give some credit here. How about a big thank you to the Lord above for the great weather and a great weekend,” Ray said. “The race was spectacular. We swapped the lead back forth and we did a delicate dance through the carousel a couple of times, side by side sliding, and at the end he beat me by a car length. It’s kind of difficult to swallow, being that close to victory, but he’s a great racer and we had a blast.”
Bringing home third place was Carmine Pace, who finished second in the Championships at VIR in 2015.
“What a great race (Patrick Roof) and I had going back and forth,” Pace said. “Once I got ahead of him, I had them in my sight, but then the yellow came out. Once we got green again, traffic just killed it. There were too many cars around to catch back up with them. So I finished third, and I’m thankful for that. Thanks to all the people who helped me get the car together, especially Steve Poe. He helped me after an accident on Friday.”