Stephen Myers and Alex Wright each took the top step of the podium for the first two rounds of the 2018 season for the Atlantic NASA Prototype Series. A field of six cars took the track and faced continuous rainy weather Friday and Saturday. William Moore earned his rookie license Friday and will be joining the series for the remainder of the 2018 season.
Saturday’s practice and qualifying were rain soaked and left the teams searching for the best setup. Some cars ran rain tires. Some ran slicks. Dave Balingit set a class record during qualifying by spinning three times in three consecutive corners. Myers was able to find the best grip and nipped Wright by a narrow margin to earn pole position. Team RSE (Jay Fagner/Scott Meyer), Tom Hahn, Balingit and Moore rounded out the field in that order.
The rain did not let up for Saturday’s main race and because of standing water, the full rain setup was the right choice. The first few laps after the start reverted to full-course yellow to move several cars that were blocking the track. At the resumption of the race, Myers took the lead with the other NASA prototypes in tow, steadily picking their way through slower cars that had been gridded before them. Balingit, Hahn and Team RSE all had issues with traffic and weather, leaving Myers and Wright to battle for first position for the remaining laps. At the checkers, Myers was first to cross having moved to 16th up from his original starting position of 37th.
Difficulties from the day before left Sunday’s NP01 field a bit depleted, with the qualifying order being Wright, Team RSE and then Myers. Myers was able to pull off a great start and passed Team RSE and Wright within a few laps. A local yellow bunched the field in Turn 1. The slow pack entered Turn 2 and allowed Wright to slip past Myers and Team RSE to pass Wright.
The lead for Team RSE was short-lived. It lost several positions when it spun to avoid another car. Wright took off and started opening the gap between himself and Myers. Team RSE was now back 15 seconds, but kept plugging away to catch Wright and Myers. A few laps from the end, Myers had an issue with his throttle cable and he was not able to get full throttle. Team RSE passed Myers and was quickly closing on Wright with the laps counting down to checkers. Even though Team RSE had gained back a lot of ground on Wright, there was still a 4-second deficit, giving Wright the win.