If golf is a game of inches, then Time Trial competition at this year’s NASA Championships was a game of seconds. Make that thousandths of a second.
If you look at the fastest guys among the ranks of Time Trial results, you’ll see some similarities among the lists of the Performance Touring, ST1 and ST2 and Super Unlimited. No surprise there. Running in TT is a great way to get more track time, which is great if you are new to the track, and it also gives greater value for racers who traveled long distances to get to Mid-Ohio. And there were more than a few of those.
Maybe TTA driver Benjamin Lesnak should try his hand at racing in PTA. Lesnak’s lap time of 1:31.518 around Mid-Ohio was nearly two seconds faster than second-place finisher Chris Herrick and faster than the winner of Sunday’s PTA Championship race, David Ziegler. Lesnak topped Herrick, who finished second in TTA, followed for Morris Morgan in third.
Winning Honda Challenge 1 by such a dominant margin was a major accomplishment for Jason Kohler. So he went out and won TTB, too. Scoring a 1:35.715, Kohler was less than 1 second faster than second-place finisher Dominic Cervi who tripped a 1:36.314 in his Nissan Z. Rob Symonds brought home third with a time just half a second slower.
Emilio Cervantes had his work cut out for him in PTC, fending off early contact from a heavy Mustang, then trading some paint to get past Kevin Boehm’s Acura for a big win. With a fast lap of 1:36.432, Cervantes quickest race lap was faster than the 1:36.684 with which he won TTC. Daniel Walters was just a stitch behind with a 1:36.906, with Chi Ho in third, also finishing in the 1:36s.
Mark Brees had some traffic to deal with, but he got around it for the win in TTD, by scoring a 1:38.997 in his Mazda Protégé. He bested Jonathan Miller’s Scion FRS, but by less than half a second. Mark Domo took third in his Mazda RX-8 with a 1:40.176.
With a front air dam the size of a locomotive’s cow catcher, Jeffrey Preston pushed his first-generation Mazda Miata into first place in TTE by nearly 3 seconds. Mark Freemal, also in a Miata, finished next with a 1:44.710, with Joseph Sullivan trailing in his Honda Civic Si with a 1:45.697.
The competition in TTR reminds one of the adage about bringing a gun to a knife fight. Tage Evanson piloted his Radical SR8 to victory in TTR over Team Nobama LLC in its Knoop-Mann Special Chevrolet, a gunshot-quick car by any measure. Evanson flew past Start/Finish to log a 1:22.399 lap time. Team Nobama LLC scored a 1:24.658, which allowed them to top Team Faessler’s 1:25.236.
Geffrey Sawtelle went home with the big chalice in TTS, which might have helped ease the sting of a DQ in STR2 for passing under yellow. But he had to work for it. Lapping at 1:30.070, he finished just .536 seconds a head of Aaron Byram, who himself had a mirror full of James Forbis, whose time of 1:30.724 was still less than a second behind Sawtelle.
Terry Free did not finish his race in STR1, but he did seal the deal in TTU. By Friday, Free’s time of 1:30.552 had TTU in the bag for the Southern Californian. Second-place finisher Todd Rumpke was 2 seconds back and third-place Jarrod Hoops was less than half a second behind Rumpke.