2013 Continental Motors Group National & Restricted Regional – Whole Lotta Miata
The weekend started with a new concept for the Chicago Region. We invited the Autobahn Country Club Spec Miata Series to run with us in a Restricted Regional. The format consisted of separate heat races, one for ABCC Series competitors and one for SCCA competitors. The ABCC heat counted as one of their Series points races. The two groups were then combined for a Spec Miata Challenge 45 minute feature race. Starting positions were determined by the finish positions in the heat races. Pole was held by the first place finisher with the fastest qualifying time, and the grid then alternated between the ABCC and SCCA groups.
Qualifying began with the SCCA group, and Brian Domont took fast time with a 1:39.898. He was followed by Aaron Kaplan, 0.55 behind with a 1:40.448. With the line drawn in the sand, the Autobahn group took to the track. Jamie Gleitsman ended up on top, posting a 1:39.277 on only his third lap. Taro Kushida also made his fast run on the third lap, and ended up just 0.066 behind Jamie with a 1:39.343.
After two of the National qualifying sessions, the SCCA SM heat race was underway. Domont lead flag to flag with Kaplan in second throughout. Domont knew that for the Challenge race he would either be on the pole, or starting second, and the only determinant was the ABCC Series Race. There was more position action in the ABCC race. Gleitsman held the lead for the first 8 laps. but behind him there was a fight. Kushida came under heavy pressure early from Scott Ballard, who took over in 2nd by the end of the first lap. Meanwhile, 6th place starter Daniel Bender was on a charge. By the end of the second lap he had forced his way up to 3rd. A full course caution lined up the field behind the safety car in lap 3 and found Bender nipping at the heels of Gleitsman. When the course went green again to start the 6th lap is was game-on for Gleitsman-Bender. Gleitsman kept Bender behind him for three laps, but lap 9 saw the lead change that persisted until race end. Mike Anzaldi had stayed 2 positions behind Bender on his charge for the front after starting in 5th. Patience and determination paid off when Anzaldi stole 2nd from Gleitsman on lap 15 and maintained for the next lap and the finish.