Spec Miata competition returned to Buttonwillow Raceway Park with a 22 car field ready for some door-to-door racing. Saturday’s grid was set with Grant Westmorland on pole, and Tyler Vance and Sammy Valafar less than a tenth of a second behind. In the opening laps of the race, Westmorland, Valafar, Clement Lee, Austin Christian, and Vance quickly formed the lead pack. There was constant action as drivers challenged competitors at the braking points, at times the leading car blocked, laid over, or employed the crossover to quickly regain their position. As the race wore on, the track became increasingly greasy, causing drivers to drop wheels (and entire cars!), at the exit of the Bus Stop and Sunset sections. Dust clouds began to frequently appear through of the Bus Stop, forcing drivers to think quick. Rookie driver Sean Bradley took advantage of a cloud to pass a fellow competitor. Chuck Mathews, Eric Richter, and Rob Burgoon put on an exciting show for spectators, swapping positions throughout the race while Emilio Cervantes would drive to a solid 6th place. Immediately after the white flag, Burgoon looked to the inside of T1 to make a pass on Mathews for 7th place, but misjudged the corner, and ran wide, losing a position to Richter. In the paddock
post-race, Burgoon explained, “I figured if I didn’t go for it, Eric [Richter] would never respect me again!” Jeremy Barnes, Brian Bender, and Curtis Gong mixed it up throughout the event, with Barnes prevailing. While Tyler Vance and Austin Christian fought early on, Vance pulled ahead and drove on to a podium finish. Valafar and Westmorland raced each other hard until Valafar edged ahead for the win.
Sunday morning found the drivers warming up on a new configuration, utilizing the Dog Leg portion of track. A miscue on the start set Vance back in the field, where he battled his way forward, going three wide with Burgoon and Curtis Gong. Valafar, Westmorland, and Lee settled in to gap the field. Without the technical yet rewarding Bus Stop section, the importance of a solid run out of Grapevine and drafting was introduced to
the mix. Gong saved his car throughout the main and utilized this to pass Burgoon going into Riverside. Austin Christian didn’t back down from the daunting line on the outside of Riverside, and used it to gain position on Mathews and later went two wide through T1 and into T2 with Barnes. Despite Christian’s efforts, Lee secured a solid podium finish, while after 30 minutes of racing, Ken Saward, Preston Lerner, and Tyler Vance crossed the line within an incredible four tenths of a second. Westmorland ran an incredibly fast yet consistent race.with Valafar ultimately taking the checkered.