Roebling Road is a track that rewards finesse and courage. The passes generally develop slowly. You have to get a nose in and then, while side-by-side, inch forward through a turn or two to complete the pass. The side-by-side battles are glorious struggles between friends as they both exploit tiny variations in traction. The fast turns just require courage — or perhaps hope. You have to go into the turns at speeds that don’t seem survivable. Then you do a lot of hoping.
The SpecE30 front rows for the Saturday Sandro Espinosa on pole, David Walsh beside him and in the second row, youngster Alex Barroso, and Ryan Whitinger.
Just after the green flag, Walsh and Whitinger, both on the outside, went deep into Turn 1 before braking and moved up from two and four to one and two. Seconds later, Barroso got beside Espinosa in Turn 3 and two turns later moved into third. In the second lap, a determined Barroso got beside Whitinger in Turn 2, and by Turn 4 pulled in front to take second. It was now Walsh, Barroso, Whitinger and Espinosa.
Don’t try to win at Roebling Turn 5. Whitinger wasn’t going down without a fight. He got a nose inside Barroso at Turn 5, but his rear end couldn’t hold the arc and he went into the dirt. It was now Walsh, Barroso, Espinosa, and Florida’s Scott McKay.
In lap three, Barroso got sideways trying to get around a 944 Spec car and almost went into the same Turn 5 dirt. This allowed Walsh to extend a bit, and Espinosa and McKay to close up temporarily. Espinosa and McKay spent the next several laps working together trying to stay in the fight while Barroso slowly reeled Walsh in.
Barroso caught Walsh in lap six and harried him while looking for an opening. On lap seven Walsh went wide on Turn 5, and with two wheels in the dirt, slowed to regain control. Barroso pounced and took the lead. For several laps Espinosa also battled to get by Walsh, but both were hampered by failing traction. Meanwhile, Barroso slowly opened up the distance from his pursuers.
On lap nine, with the end of the race approaching, Espinosa tried to get a fender up in Turn 7, going two wheels in the grass to find the room. It was not successful. Espinosa’s failed attempt to get two-wide caused the trailing McKay to back off the throttle out of caution. This doomed McKay on the front stretch, making him the real casualty of the failed pass attempt. In the remaining few laps of the race, Walsh foiled Espinosa’s every ploy while Barroso stayed safely ahead out of the fray. The finish order was Barroso, Walsh, Espinosa, McKay and Jeff Retey.
On Sunday, Espinosa took first, with Whitinger in second and McKay in third.— Scott Gress