WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – On Friday night, the fireworks happened over Seneca Lake. On Saturday, they were on course during the SCCA BFGoodrich Tires Watkins Glen Super Tour, Rounds 11 and 12 of the Eastern Conference Majors Tour at Watkins Glen International.
With the season-long championship winding down, points are at a premium for drivers trying to score points. All 27 Runoffs-eligible classes were on hand, with more than 250 drivers competing for the top prize in 30-minute timed races on Saturday.
Group 1: In a deep class full of talented drivers, a pair of young guns ran away from the Spec Miata field and settled the race win for themselves in the final two laps of the race, with Andrew Carbonell coming out on top over Dillan Machavern.
Carbonell’s No. 78 BSI Racing Mazda Miata led the way from the start, with 18-year-old Machavern’s No. 24 Heritage/Panic/T-Speed Miata right behind. The two pushed away from the field, getting an additional boost from a black flag on two-time defending National Champion Jim Drago’s No. 2 East Street Racing Miata for jumping the start.
As time counted down, only Yiannis Tsiounis’ No. 69 Yushino Miata was within range, and he could get no closer than several car lengths back. With two to go, Machavern took the lead for the first time with a pass under braking into turn 1, and held the lead for the rest of the lap.
Carbonell, the veteran of the group at 24-years-old, repaid the favor in the same corner just after the white flag waved with one to go. In the lead, Machavern had a run leaving the boot, but Carbonell killed that momentum and came home with the win.
Group 2: The Production group featured a series of great drives by the winners to stretch their final margins, and some tight battles for the additional podium positions in a handful of classes.
Rick Kavitski was on the overall pole in his E Production No. 24 RDK Engineering Mazda Miata, but at the green flag saw the No. 02 Pay Pal/Carbotech/Team JBS BMW Z3 of Chris Dryden accelerate past. Kavitski went hard and late on the brakes into turn one, skating by and getting back in front on the opening lap. Once in the lead, Kavitski kept the BMW at bay and earned the win.
In F Production, Peter Tonelli got in front of what would turn into a three-way battle for second place, and grabbed the win in his No. 91 Driven Performance Mazda Miata. Tonelli, turning the fastest laps of the race in class, got additional help when Ken Kannard inserted himself in the battle for second. Kannard, who had never been to Watkins Glen, arrived at the track on Saturday morning and started from the rear of the field in the No. 51 Northwest Cable Construction Mazda Miata.
With just the 10-minute morning warm-up, Kannard caught the No. 89 Hoosier Tire/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata of Patrick Crider and the No. 57 DEE Autosport Mazda Miata of Kyle Baker early, and the three mixed it up for most of the race. Each driver shuffled between second and fourth until late in the race, when Kannard locked into the runner-up position and held it to the flag. Baker edged Crider, who was struggling with mechanical issues following a test day crash, for third.
In the same group, Kyle Disque drove his No. 92 Toyota/TRD/Hoosier Tire Toyota Tercel to an impressive GT-Lite victory, including a new track record in the process. Ron Bartell fell short of the track record, but piloted his No. 4 Hoosier Tire MG Midget to another big win in H Production.