Any Kentuckian will tell you, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. It will change.” As the week began before the NASA Great Lakes Region season opener, dubbed The Bourbon Barrel, the forecast was excellent. But, come race day, it was freezing cold and rainy in Bowling Green, Ky.
As the Lightning run group took the first out lap after a long winter break, it saw nine entrants in the Super Touring 4 class, including two newly licensed rookies in Matt C. Park and Chuck Jagoe, both racing Nissan 350Zs. One of the most exciting things about ST4 is the diversity of vehicles entered, and this weekend delivered. The starting grid consisted of Woody Heimann in his Scion FRS; Konstantinos Kouretas piloting his E46 M3; usual suspect in Great Lakes ST4 David Davison; Anthony Cuthbert in a Fiat Abarth; Chuck Jagoe in his Z; David Isbell in a K-swapped Acura Integra; Robert Mazurek’s RSX; Jay Andrew and his Mustang; and Matt Park rolling out a lap down after having issues with passing tech inspection.
The race went green in a heavy downpour, but NCM is known for having great grip in the rain, so the race was on. Heimann got his FRS a little loose in Turn 1 but kept it together. Kouretas and Davison followed closely behind, and before the second full lap, the track was under a full-course yellow. By the second drop of the green flag, the field had tightened up, but a few out-of-class cars separated the ST4 field. P1 took advantage of having two slower cars behind him and started to put distance on the field. The race for third was hot and heavy between Davison’s Vette and the Ford Mustang of Jay Andrew. By midrace the track was beginning to puddle badly and Andrew looped his Ford, but caught it masterfully after a 360-degree spin, and was right back on pace. The two front-wheel drive Acuras performed well in the rain and finished high in the field. Cuthbert and Jagoe both were forced to retire early.
The checkered flag saw Woody in his FRS leading the field by 25 seconds, but because of a pass under full-course yellow, he was DQ’d. The podium ended with Kouretas in first, then Mazurek and Isbell.
For Sunday’s race the, E46 of Kouretas started from pole and kept that position the entire race. The weather had cleared up and found Davison and Park taking the second and third steps on the podium.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and racing, especially considering the weather,” said NASA Great Lakes Regional Director Jay Andrew. “I’m excited to get the Great lakes season underway.”