There were only three NP01s in this year’s NASA Championships Presented by Toyo Tires, so a podium finish was a veritable gimme. But Sam Mangiamelli wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than a win. He had been dominant all weekend, but he fell back to second early in the race when he nearly spun in some fluids on the track.
He was able to put his head down and get back in front of Barry Brooks and march toward the win and his first NASA Championship.
“I was hoping the clock wouldn’t run down too much and that everyone would kind of stay close together,” Mangiamelli said. “So, I was kind of watching as we were coming through the final few turns looking for the green to come back out, and as soon as I saw it waving over there, I was getting past some of the lappers that Barry put in between me and him under a full-course yellow.”
William Moore finished third, but only because he didn’t finish. He got collected in an incident early in the race and he and his car returned to the pits on a flatbed tow truck.
“Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it goes against you,” Moore said after the race. “But, look, anytime you get to the track, you get to hang out with a bunch of guys and do stuff like this and you get to go home in one piece, whether or not the car’s in one piece, that’s a pretty darn good day.”
In his first season of racing, Brooks enjoyed his lead for 10 laps, which is when Mangiamelli got around him. Brooks kept his nose clean through the double-yellow and the restart to take second place.
“Sam is super-fast and just so smooth, and so I tried to get around him and then just be smart,” Brooks said. “And, he ended up getting back around me again and I knew it was going to be a back and forth. And you know, such a strange collection of cars there, kind of in the middle, everything was running strange. I was just trying to stay calm.”