Not only did SoCal Spec E30 set new track records at Willow Springs, a few of the regular drivers and sponsor chipped in to rent the quarter-mile oval after the day’s sprint races were over.

From the first session on track, it was clear the SoCal Spec E30 gang was ready to go for round three of the 2013 NASA race season. The prior track record of 1:39.794 would be bettered by five different drivers in multiple sessions. Allan Hauser earned the pole for Saturday’s race with a scorching 1:38.658 lap.

Ken Hauser would get the start of the weekend by jumping up to second from his fifth-place starting position by Turn 1, with Steve Stepanian and Vogel Boys Racing giving chase. The lead pack would pull away from the field with two to three lead changes a lap for the entire race with most corners taken side by side. Late in the race, Patrick Vogel challenged Stepanian for the lead, but Vogel dropped a wheel off at Turn 9, which gave Stepanian his fourth win this season. Pearson made the same mistake, allowing Hauser to secure second place. Vogel was able to find the track again and take the last podium spot while resetting the track record with a 1:39.653.

Even though the day’s racing on the big track was finished, there was still more fun in store just before the sun went down at the quarter-mile paved oval (see sidebar next page). That’s right. SoCal Spec E30 was going to do some circle-track racing!

For qualifying Sunday, the top six cars were inverted from Saturday’s race results, putting Steffen Thompson on pole with Rius Billing on the outside of row one. Giorgio Gentile would take the grid Sunday for his first Spec E30 appearance, with some last-minute help from his fellow racers and the Midnight Oil Crew. As expected, the first six cars moved away from the field and stayed close together all race long. After starting from sixth place, Stepanian would take the win again, with Hauser and Pearson right behind him setting the field for the final race of the weekend.

For Sunday’s race, Giorgio Gentile made his Spec E30 race debut. Steve Stepanian started from the pole, but would have an epic off in Turn 1, which dropped him to 11th place. This allowed a seven-lap door-to-door battle between Hauser, Pearson and Steffen Thompson. Hauser would take the win, with Pearson and Thompson, respectively, taking the podium spots while Stepanian would claw his way back to fourth place. The top four finishers would all better the prior days track record with Pearson resetting it with a 1:38.867!

SoCal Spec E30 does “Redneck Roundy-Round Racing”

During dinner the Friday night before the event, someone at the table mentioned that we should rent the quarter-mile paved oval and do some more racing after our main event was over at 2:00 p.m. Saturday. Shortly after the expected laughter and comments about what a stupid idea it was, we took the subject up with the head of the powers that be within the SoCal NASA region. After the expected back and forth, head shaking and chuckles, it was clear we all agreed on what a stupid idea it was, which, of course meant we had to do it.

Ten drivers showed up to try their hand on a circle track. After all, it’s not hard, right? Turn left, go straight and turn left again, repeat until you are so dizzy you can’t see straight. So that’s exactly what we did. The race was strictly for fun, with participation being voluntary. On top of that, we decided to do something a little different to finish the race that none of the drivers were aware of. The thought was since we are doing something that hasn’t been done before, let’s take it up a notch!

The plan was to stop the cars short of the finish line, make them get out of the cars via a second green flag and then run across the finish line. Once over the finish line, they would be required to grab an “adult soda” from a large cooler. The first driver to finish his beverage was declared the race winner!

There you have it. A new low in SoCal Spec E30! A great time was had by not only the drivers, but the hundreds of spectators that came up to watch.

The roundy-round races featured a unique finish, in that whoever exited his car, tore off his helmet and balaclava and chugged an entire beer first was declared the winner. This was possible because it was the last race of the day for the Spec E30 drivers.

Video by Jeff Sykes

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