Drago, Friday’s Spec Miata national champion, will add a bronze medal to his collection.
“It was kind of strange,” Drago said. “Rob and I were talking before the race, and I had never seen Rob and never seen Chad on the track. None of us knew where our gearing was, how fast the cars were, where our braking points were. Rob and I talked – we were very concerned that Chad was just going to blow past us, and then we thought, well, maybe we should start here. We didn’t even know where our gears were. So we just decided to go; we would just get through the start as best we could. Even going into turn five, we still didn’t know how fast Chad was.
“Truthfully, I don’t think any of us were here to just get on the podium – we were here to win. I slipped a little behind Rob, and he opened a two- or three-second gap. I was able to maintain it, but drove the car off. It was a little tight, so I just kept trying to drive it and drive it; it was getting a little worse and a little worse. Chad stayed the same, and it seemed like he was a little more sorted. He slowly reeled me in, and he caught me in [turn] five. I let him go, and I figured I would get in behind him and cool the tires and come back and race him toward the end and see if we could do anything with Rob. He slowly inched away, and my car got a little worse. I knew we had a pretty good gap, so I just tried to maintain position and kept the podium position.”
Luke Wilwert had an eventful race to move to finish fourth in the No. 79 HPD/BFGoodrich Tires/H&R Springs Honda Civic Si. Robert Beede finished fifth in the No. 28 Bill Fenton Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires Honda Civic Si.
1, (1), Rob Huffmaster, Clarkston, MI, Mazda RX-8, 13.
2, (3), Chad Gilsinger, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic Si, 13.
3, (2), Jim Drago, Memphis, TN, Mazda Miata, 13.
4, (5), Luke Wilwert, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic Si, 13.
5, (6), Robert Beede, Northampton, MA, Honda Civic Si, 13.
6, (10), Rich Walke, Hawthorn Woods, IL, Mazda RX-7, 13.
7, (39), Greg Amy, Middletown, CT, Acura Integra, 13.
8, (11), Breton Williams, Clinton, IA, Mazda RX-7, 13.
9, (16), Darin Treakle, Broad Run, VA, Acura Integra, 13.
10, (23), Tom Kraft, Des Moines, IA, Mazda Miata, 13.
11, (12), Tim Selby, Sheboygan, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
12, (13), Gregory Gale, Reston, VA, Mazda MX-5, 13.
13, (38), Todd Lamb, Atlanta, GA, Mazda Miata, 13.
14, (18), Thomas Lepper, Benicia, CA, Acura Integra, 13.
15, (15), Tom Brown, Muskego, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
16, (22), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, GA, Mazda Miata, 13.
17, (27), Quinten Nelson, Newark, OH, Mazda Miata, 13.
18, (25), Brett Fenske, Charlotte, NC, Mazda Miata, 13.
19, (29), Whitfield Gregg, New York, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
20, (14), Stephen Wheeler, Geneva, NY, Acura Integra, 13.
21, (24), Peter Keane, Cocoa Beach, FL, Acura Integra, 12.
22, (30), Amy Mills, New York, NY, Mazda Miata, 12.
23, (26), Mike Smith, Elk Grove Village, IL, Honda Civic Si, 12.
24, (31), Jim Kettelkamp, Bettendorf, IA, Mazda Miata, 12.
25, (9), Brian Laughlin, Tulsa, OK, Mazda Miata, 12.
26, (33), Thomas Lamb, Caledonia, MI, Honda CRX Si, 12.
27, (7), Robert Schader, Longmont, CO, Mazda Miata, 12.
28, (32), E. Lawrence Cahall, Indian Creek, IL, Mazda Miata, 12.
29, (36), Tom Hughes, Van Nuys, CA, Mazda Miata, 12.
30, (35), Derrick Ambrose, Vancouver, WA, MAZDA2 , 11.
31, (28), Kyle Watkins, Broomfield, CO, Mazda Miata, 10.
32, (4), John Schmitt, Sunbury, OH, Honda Prelude, 8.
33, (34), Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, CA, Mazda Miata, 6.
DNS, (8), Andrew Salzano, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic Si.
DNS, (17), Steven Gorriaran, Providence, RI, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (19), Danny Steyn, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (20), L. Patrick Sandlin, Cordova, TN, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (21), Ted Cahall, Clyde Hill, WA, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (37), Bruce Andersen, Sarasota, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (40), Andrew Charbonneau, Boca Raton, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (42), Ray Huffmaster, Clarkston, MI, Mazda RX-8.