The Central Region season opener at Gateway Motorsports Park saw a nice sized field of Spec E30 racers. Drivers from the Mid South, Midwest and Central regions all took advantage of Gateway’s central location to come play. There were some great story lines throughout the field all weekend.
Just beating the buzzer to make it for the first race on Saturday, Luke Perkowski and crew had pulled an all nighter putting the finishing touches on their new E30. All that hard work rewarded Luke with a third-place finish in its first outing! Last year’s winner Brian Edmonds was hoping to pick up where he left off, but a lengthy late-race double yellow stalled his momentum. Brian finished second. Central region rookie driver John Pennington had one goal, finish the race and remove the orange rookie plate. His expectations were surpassed as he qualified on pole and won the race.
Sunday morning saw a warmer track and faster times. In qualifying, Pennington earned pole again with a new track record. Newcomer Cliff Pearce had a successful comp school the day before and would be lining up for his first ever race in P2!
From the drop of the green, Edmonds was not to be denied. He worked traffic to perfection and had the lead by the end of lap one. Pennington got to his bumper a couple times, but could not make a run. Edmonds got the win, followed by Pennington, Perkowski, and first-time racer Cliff Pearce. Oscar Edmonds (Brian’s dad) sneaked in to contingency by finishing fifth.
Race three put the “spec” in spectacular! It had it all, an inverted start, lots of passing throughout, and finishes that will be talked about for years to come.
The drop of the green had the field three wide heading off in to Turn 1. Pennington nabbed the lead from the back row.
By midrace, Pennington had the lead, but Brian Edmonds was slowly chipping away at it. On the final lap, Brian Edmonds was on Pennington’s bumper looking for a way around. He got an excellent run off Turn 7 and that momentum made for a drag race to the finish! Edmonds took the win from Pennington in the last few feet, winning the photo finish. Farther back, an equally exciting race was brewing for third with Cliff Pearce making a last turn pass on Perkowski to snag the last podium spot.
Gateway was a classic SpecE30 event. With tight competition, low cost, and great sportsmanship, its no wonder Spec E30 is one of NASA’s fastest-growing classes.