One of the great things about Performance Touring E is how many other classes fit into it. Yet, of the 11 cars in the field at Watkins Glen, all but two were Miatas.
Brian Henderson qualified on pole, followed by Michael Neuman and Jason Connole. At the start, Turn 1 could have belonged to any one of five cars, but Preston Pardus had the inside line. But it didn’t last because Warren Dexter was able to get by him before full-course caution when a Honda Challenge 2 car and a Performance Touring entry collided in the entrance to the Uphill Esses and slid off into the Armco on the outside. Say hello to 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. In the sprint to the finish, Dexter and NASA Central’s Brett Westcott were running first and second with Spec Miata standout Danny Steyn in third. At the checkers, it was Dexter in first, trailed by Westcott and Steyn, who was DQ’d afterward. Todd Buras moved up to the third spot. When he stepped out of his car, Dexter looked as though he had hardly broken a sweat.
“This is only our second weekend in the car,” Dexter said. “The car handled great. There was a long caution in the middle of the race, but it was smooth sailing for us.”
That left second to Westcott, who was driving his familiar Nissan Sentra SE-R, the only car he’s ever raced — and the car he used to drive to high school.
“Warren was super fast all weekend, and I knew it was going to be tough to keep up with the car,” Westcott said. “He carries so much speed through the corners. I had a little bit more power, and I had to carry a little bit more weight. I don’t know, the Sentra doesn’t necessarily out-handle the Miata in some of those places, so I had to make up some speed on the straights. Warren drove a really great race and I think managed the traffic and the restarts better than I did. I have some work to do for sure.”