NASA Midwest Spec Miata Challenge Tackles the Roval at Gateway
The first event of the NASA Midwest Spec Miata Challenge at Gateway International marked the return of close Spec Miata racing and introduced 3 new drivers to the series – welcome Kyle Jones, Anthony Storino, and Gateway Comp School graduate Jason Pulvermacher.
Saturday qualifying revealed lap times close to the track record, with new-comer Kyle Jones on the pole for the first race. Great Lakes veteran David Spencer qualified second and TJ Graven third. During the race Kyle was able to check out from the rest of the field, with Spencer enjoying an excellent show in his rear view mirror of Graven and Chris Griswold battling for third place. Graven hung on to third, with Griswold, Pulvermacher, Storino, and Portele rounding out the field.
Excellent weather Sunday and some tire changes by the front runners lead to some stunningly fast qualifying times in the morning qualifying session. Jones, Spencer, and Griswold all bested the track record in qualifying, but were unable to beat the track record during the race. In the first race Jones again was able to fend off Spencer with Graven holding on to third. Griswold crashed out early and Pulvermacher moved up to fourth with Storino and Portele close behind.
Sunday’s second race was the epitome of Spec Miata racing. Jones and Spencer battled it out up front with battles between all cars for position throughout. In the end Spencer was able to best Jones with a margin of victory of only .116 seconds! Graven did not start the race due to motor troubles and Pulvermacher managed to hang on to third place – an excellent finish for the rookie. Portele was able to best Storino near the end of the race to grab fourth.
The next event of the NASA Midwest Spec Miata Challenge brings us to Putnam Park, which should bring a large Spec Miata field and tons of great racing.
-------------------- Ryan Groth #52 SM NASA Midwest Series Director