Epic. That single word epitomizes the 944 Spec racing experience at Buttonwillow Raceway Park the first weekend in April. Highlights included two exciting sprint races, a challenging three-hour endurance race, the camaraderie of the SoCal 944 Spec group, and the crowning of a 12-year old as the group’s true organizer.
Saturday was a long, fun day for racers and crews. Saturday’s qualifying session showed the racers were within only a few seconds of each other. At the drop of the green, Charlie Buzzetti pulled away from the pack, to go on and set a track record on the new Toyo RR tires. Meanwhile, the rest of the pack battled fiercely but cleanly. At the checkered flag, it was Charlie taking first place, Everett DeLano taking second, and Jim Hicks taking third. But the day and the racing was far from over.
Everyone in the group pitched in to get five 944 Spec racers ready to race in the enduro. Jim Richmond and Steve Agoston joined in Team Squid Mobile. Tom Atteberry and Everett joined in Team Tahoe Pacific Racing and Charlie entered during the daylight portion of the event. The race started at 6:30 p.m., so the racers still had daylight left. The first half hour saw three full-course caution periods. After that, it was solid competition around Buttonwillow’s demanding turns. In the end, the 944 Spec teams performed admirably, with Team Tahoe Pacific Racing taking third place in class and Team Squid Mobile in fourth.
Sunday’s qualifying session involved another race. The leaders from Saturday’s sprint race agreed to drop to the back of the pack to make the competition more thrilling, and Everett held point in the qualifying race for a bit until a spin in the slowest turn on the course put him in the back. At the drop of the green flag at Sunday afternoon’s sprint race, the racers charged. And after Charlie came in the pits for a brief moment, Everett eventually won the race, with Charlie in second and Tom taking third.
As everyone packed for their trips home, it was agreed that Oliver DeLano should be appointed 944 Spec organizer, a role he happily accepted alongside his series leader dad. It was also clear the racers and crews would need a day or two to recover from the weekend, but the bench racing certainly will continue until they pick it up again at Willow Springs International Raceway in May.