Murrieta, CA (April 22nd 2014) - Will Rodgers started off his second consecutive Spec Miata season with the Southern California division of NASA this past weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway. Last year Will began racing with the Jordan family in their 1994 1.6 Spec Miata to learn the ropes of the sport while in the shadow of the 2014 Champ, Joey Jordan. Joey took Will under his wing teaching him the fundamentals of car racing including competitiveness, speed, and race craft. Will has since won multiple Miata competitions and is ready from the past year of training to come out swinging for his full 2015 Spec Miata Season.
Friday's test day at Buttonwillow was Will's first day in the new race car, a 2001 1.8 NB chassis Miata. "Making the switch from the 1.6 to the 1.8 was pretty straight forward. Both are very competitive race cars and are very similar but are different at the same time. I had to learn what made this particular motor and chassis combination fast." Joey Jordan was on hand testing the car Will drove last year for his older sister, Jahna Jordan. "I was very fortunate to have Joey at the track on Friday with me walking through the different ways of the car. Since this is the same car he won the championship in last year, he knew the ins and outs and could pass that information to me. We were able to do some lead follows and even battle a bit to get me even more comfortable before my first race Saturday afternoon."
Saturday morning Will was eager to get on the track to see how he stacked up against the competition. Because of a tech inspection set back, Will missed the morning warm up and had to jump right into qualifying. Will qualified 2nd out of the 12 car field just behind competitor, Rob Burgoon. Will's race Saturday afternoon started off very well. From the drop of the green flag Will was able to take the lead 2 corners later and quickly unfolded a great battle between competitors, Rob Burgoon and Matt Million. Will traded the lead back and forth with Rob for almost 5 laps before a mistake was made by the 91 of Burgoon allowing Will to take the lead for the final time. Will was able to manage a gap which grew roughly 8 to 10 seconds. Four laps later Will took the checkered flag and climbed to the top step of the podium for his first So-Cal NASA Spec Miata Win.
Sunday morning Will led the field to the green flag for the qualifying race. Entering turn 1, Will had a fellow racer make a mistake and minor contact was made between Will and the competitor's car resulting in both being forced off track and starting the race in dead last. Will drove hard and managed to make up four positions, but he wasn't about to catch the leaders in the short 6 laps. "It was very unexpected to have carnage in the first corner being the size field. Fortunately everyone was fine and the cars only had a scratch here and there."
Starting Sunday's final race in P5, Will was determined to get to the front quickly and take the lead. " Starting directly behind Matt Million who was also starting behind Rob Burgoon, I had a pretty good feeling the three of us would work our way to the front right away. Turn 1 was all it took to get the three out front and begin an epic battle for the lead. " I was able to get by Matt Million on lap one which immediately put me within striking distance of Rob Burgoon. Rob and I had an outstanding battle for what felt like forever but in reality was only 10 laps. I was able to get by him a few times but was passed back. I knew where I was faster than him and waited for the opportunity to present itself once more. It did and I was able to hold on the the lead once again for the remainder of the race." Will finished the race again with a large gap between 2nd place of Rob Burgoon, followed by Matt Million.
Will looks forward to starting the 2015 Teen Mazda Challenge season next month at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana May 16-17th.
"This weekend felt amazing! Getting my first So-Cal NASA Spec Miata win and really getting acquainted with the new car. The real work starts now as I know the 2015 TMC session will be a very competitive one, and I must be on top of my game mentally and physically. I would like to thank everyone who helped get me to the top step this weekend, and for all the hard work they put in. I wouldn't be able to do any of this without the great people around me."