Ten Spec E30 drivers descended on Putnam Park on a rainy October day for the last event of the NASA Great Lakes/Midwest season. The battle for second in Great Lakes regional points was up for grabs as Michael Osborne, Denny Barker, and Mason Meredith were separated by just a few points.
Qualifying started off dry but as soon as the tires got up to temp, the heavens opened and soaked the track. Most racers didn’t get a chance to run a clean lap, but nonetheless the grid was set, with Jeremy Lucas leading the field on the rolling start.
At race time, it had stopped raining, but the track was still wet. Most of the field decided to run on dry tires, but a few chose wets. The race was all about survival as everyone was doing their best Ken Block power slides! By the time the water spray had settled, Lucas took home the victory for race one followed by Kyle Smith and Jeff Niswander.
The grid for the second race of the day was set by fastest lap of race one. That put rookie Niswander on pole, followed by Kyle Smith, Meredith, and Dennis Barker. A traffic jam quickly developed in Turn 1 mixing up the order. Barker came out in front followed by Lucas, but the order flipped as they entered Turn 9. As the field crossed the stripe, Lucas had the lead followed by Barker, Smith and Meredith.
As the race progressed, Lucas bobbled coming out of Turn 4. Seeing that, Barker and Smith tried to push to make up ground. Both exited Turn 5 a bit too wide and got on the wet curb. Smith was able to gather it back up, but Barker again put his car in the spin cycle with two wheels on the wet grass. That put him back in fifth behind Osborne. As Smith, Meredith and Osborne began battling for second, Barker started putting down fast, clean laps and eventually caught the trio. He and Osborne went wheel to wheel for a half lap before Barker took fourth, but the checkered flag flew before he could advance any further. Lucas took his second win that weekend as well as the Regional Championship with his co-driver Sean Louisin. Smith finished second followed by Meredith.
Meredith’s strong performance at Putnam secured him second in Great Lakes regional points with Barker taking third. Ryan CieChanski took home the Midwest Regional Championship followed by Rob Rhodes and Rich Friman. Niswander took home rookie of the year honors for the Midwest region.