Braving triple-digit temperatures, almost all of the competitors eclipsed the 3-year-old Spec E30 track record at Buttonwillow in June.
Saturday had two qualifying sessions followed by the main race. The single fastest lap from both qualifying sessions would determine the grid. Robert Davis, Steve Stepanian, Allan Hauser and Charles Buzzetti made up the top four, respectively, in the first session. Only Andrew Clark bettered his starting position in session two.
The Spec E30 traditional standing start was the third green flag behind Spec Miata and 944 Spec. Davis and Stepanian led into Turn 1, but the next group of Clark, Hauser and Buzzetti went in three-wide. Buzzetti ended up getting tapped in the right rear from Hauser, relegating him to 13th.
Stepanian got past Davis on lap two, with Mitch Pepper closing in third. On lap five, Stepanian retired due to a fuel-delivery issue. Pepper closed on Davis with Buzzetti now back up to fifth.
With two laps to go, Pepper got past Davis. However, when they raced into Turn 1, Davis locked his brakes and spun Pepper, taking him out of contention. Davis finished first. Hauser worked past Clark and claimed second, with Clark in third. However, Clark got his first Spec E30 win due to DQs for Davis and Hauser for contact, giving Matt Thiemann second and JoJo McKenzie third!
Sunday’s qualifying session ended with Davis, Hauser and Buzzetti up front on grid. Davis, Buzzetti and Stepanian all started at the back of the field for showing up late to grid.
Hauser led every lap, with McKenzie never falling more than three car lengths back. The six-car, midpack battle was nose to tail all race long, with Michael Mihld leading it most of the race until Buzzetti passed him with three laps left.
Hauser darted out to an early lead in the last race of the weekend, until he cut a tire on lap three. That same lap, Stepanian quickly moved up from his 10th starting spot into second behind Buzzetti. Mihld moved to third. Buzzetti and Stepanian gapped the pack and took a commanding lead. McKenzie, Mihld, Powers and Thiemann gave chase, but could not catch them.
On lap nine, Buzzetti lost a motor mount, which caused the engine to move, cutting a radiator hose. Like Buzzetti, Stepanian slipped in his coolant and went off track, but was able to gather it up and resume the race while maintaining the lead. McKenzie closed the gap and gave Stepanian a race to the finish. Meanwhile, Mihld was defending his third-place position ahead of Powers in fourth until Powers got into Mihld on the white-flag lap, pushing Mihld back to eighth place. Hubert Young took his first podium finish — on his second race weekend — due to Powers being disqualified for contact with Mihld.