NASA Midwest Spec Miata Challenge at GingerMan Raceway The sixth event of the NASA Midwest Spec Miata Challenge was held at the newly reconfigured GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, MI. Two new Spec Miata drivers joined the fray at this event as well – GingerMan Comp School Grad BJ Anderson #85 and Ken Brinkman #519 – Welcome guys!
Overnight storms and continued heavy rain Saturday morning forced NASA officials to alter plans and run the traditional GingerMan configuration as the runoff area around the new section of track consisted of thick mud and soupy sand. Saturday morning practice took place in heavy rain with the track littered with pockets of standing water. For qualifying the rain stopped but the track was still very wet. Great Lakes regular David Spencer #87 qualified on the pole, Ryan Groth #52 was 2nd, Ken Brinkman #519 3rd, Jason Pulvermacher #25 4th, and John Green #027 5th. As qualifying ended the sun emerged and the track began to dry quickly allowing Saturday’s race to take place in beautiful dry and sunny conditions. At the start Spencer #87 and Groth #52 where able to pull away as the rest of the field battled. There were a plethora of position changes mid-pack and great racing throughout the field, however Groth #52 was unable to match Spencer’s #87 pace. Spencer #87 was able to win from the pole, Groth #52 maintained 2nd, newcomer Brinkman #519 finished 3rd in his first SM race, John Green #027 finished 4th, and Great Lakes regular TJ Graven #22 finished 5th.
Warm and dry weather throughout the afternoon and evening Saturday, as well as Sunday morning allowed NASA officials to allow the use of extended portion of the track for Sunday’s racing. The new section proved to be a challenge for all drivers with the general consensus being that the first driver to run consistently on the new section being the favorite to win. David Spencer #87 again was able to grab the pole but by only .028 seconds over John Green #027, Ken Brinkman #519 was 3rd, TJ Graven #22 4th, and Ryan Groth #52 rounding out the top 5. David Spencer #87 maintained flawless GingerMan performance by winning the first Sunday race, Ken Brinkman #519 captured 2nd, John Green #027 3rd, Ryan Groth #52 4th, and TJ Graven 5th. The starting order for the second race Sunday was inverted from the finishing order of the first race, making for an action packed start and lots of passing. David Spencer #87 and TJ Graven #22 both had long trips home and skipped out on the last race of the day. John Green #027 was able to work his way through the field and get the win, after a lengthy 3 way battle between Brinkman #519, Groth #52, and Ron Williams #01, Brinkman #519 was able to capture 2nd, Groth #52 3rd, and Williams #01 4th, Scott Dennewitz #199 came in 5th.
David Spencer’s fast lap from the first race Sunday was unmatched in the second race, and is the new GingerMan SM lap record.
-------------------- Ryan Groth #52 SM NASA Midwest Series Director