Daytona Shocks with Multiple Photo-Finishes

Spec MX-5 Challenge held its penultimate event at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, seeing the “World Center of Racing” highlight several storylines from throughout the season as they began to unfold in spectacular fashion.

Daytona International Speedway hosted Spec MX-5 for the penultimate round of the season.

Alex Berg brought his podium streak from the South Region to the National Option stage with a weekend sweep. Still, outright results don’t tell the entire story.  National frontrunners Thomas Annunziata and Michael Borden, North Region’s Nathan Saxon, Jason Pribyl, and South Region’s Don Squirek all turned up the heat on Berg, with Sunday’s first race seeing the first of two photo-finishes from the weekend, with Berg edging out fast-charging Saxon by a mere .011 seconds. The second race of the day saw the top-5 finish within less than half a second – a spectacular finish to the wild weekend.

Credit: Dave Green

Race one set the tone for the day with four drivers in the lead as drivers danced across the 3.5-mile circuit, switching partners to gain the best advantage in the hotly-contested race. Berg moved through the field from eighth to first, gaining the most positions of the race as Bertagnoli set a new Spec MX-5 track record with a 2:13.779 flyer. Saxon continued his podium streak with a second-place finish, and Squirek came in third.

Race 1 podium finishers celebrate after a hard-fought race.
Race 1 podium: Don Squirek 3rd place, Alex Berg 1st, and Nathan Saxon 2nd.

Faster times in the morning’s first race mixed up the starting order for the day’s second race, which saw the drivers enjoy another split start.  A lap one full-course yellow extended across much of the session, leading to a five-car breakaway including Berg, Annunziata, Saxon, Bertagnoli, and Borden, with more jockeying for position as Regional Championship points were on the line. As Berg took the checkered again, he was followed immediately by Annunziata, just 0.065 seconds away, and Saxon, 0.112 seconds behind to claim the final step on the podium.

The sparkling grape juice made another appearance Sunday afternoon after the closely-contested final race of the day.
Race 2 podium finishers: Nathan Saxon 3rd, Alex Berg 1st, and Thomas Annunziata 2nd.

With clear frontrunners in all 4 Regional Championships, racers have one last chance to claim their respective Drivers’ Championships of the regular season in just over two weeks. The final round of the 2022 Spec MX-5 Challenge regular season will be held at Sonoma Raceway from August 19-21. Will we see another photo finish? Who will lead the points tally going into our National Championship event, which will be announced imminently? Stay tuned…

Spec MX-5 racers follow closely behind the pace car. Credit: Dave Green
Racers trying to keep cool between race 1 & 2.
Nicholas Leone made his Series debut in Daytona, seen here looking over data with Nathan Saxon & Dylan Beckwith while a mechanic adjusts a brake pedal.
Michael Borden claimed pole for Sunday’s first race.
Credit: Dave Green
Credit: Dave Green
Credit: Dave Green
Race 2 photo-finish!

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