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September 25, 2016 / 0
At the beginning of the season I set a goal of winning the Mazda Road to 24 shootout. I had a choice to take one of two paths, either the SCCA Runoffs at Mid-Ohio or the NASA Championships at Watkins Glen. The decision was an easy one considering that the Glen is my favorite track and one I've had a lot ofsuccess on in the past
I started the #44 Kessler Engineering/TAIT/Carbotech Mazda Miata on the front row. On the start in the draft I got shuffled a few positions back to fifth. After my drive back through the field on Saturday, I knew this was no reason to panic. I patiently picked my way to second place behind Chris Haldeman. I tried to work with him for a few laps but we could not break away from third and fourth place. We swapped positions and the lead a few times with Chris and Danny Steyn before finally hooking back up with Chris. With me in front, we were able to pull out a comfortable gap. Once I saw third and fourth starting to dice, I stopped backing up to Chris exiting turn one and began to slowly build a gap on him.
With just a few moments left in the race, a stranded car in turn one brought out a full course yellow. I was certain the race was over but NASA had other plans. After our forty five minutes had expired they decided to release us for a one lap shootout. I defended down the back straight and came out of the bus stop still with the lead. Everything looked good until turn eight where I ran way wide, allowing Chris Haldeman to pull even with me heading into turn nine. With the inside line I prevailed and came home with the NASA Eastern States Championship win.
I have so many people and organizations to thank for supporting me throughout this incredible season including Kessler Engineering, Mazda Motorsports, Carbotech Brakes, Hoosier and Toyo tires, SCCA and NASA, my wife Stephanie, my dad Vic, my mom Denise, my grandfather Bob, my best friend Dan, and the rest of my family and friends for being the best fan club in the paddock.
The win qualifies me for the Mazda Road to 24 shootout and puts me one step closer to fulfilling my goal for the year. The shootout will be held on October 28-29 in Greenville South Carolina at the Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds. Stay tuned for more!