Steve Stepanian (No. 28) leads Erick Strong on his way to two third-place finishes at Auto Club Speedway. Strong took his first Spec E30 career win on Saturday and second on Sunday.

Coming off our last race at the world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, SoCal Spec E30 had 10 teams show up to do battle in Fontana. Included in that number was Fulton Haight, who rented the Midnight Oil No. 3 car for his maiden race with SoCal Spec E30.

For Saturday’s race, Allan Hauser claimed the pole, followed by Mark Powell and Erick Strong, who missed the second qualifying spot by .04 seconds.

As the field pulled off the grid, Pearson was still getting belted in as others worked together to get the car off the hauler after changing a transmission and clutch disc. At the start, Strong could not find second gear and fell to ninth. Pearson was a straightaway behind the field as he pulled out of the pits but only had the use of third and fourth gears.

A pack of five cars battled it out up front. Mitchell Pepper lost his motor a couple laps into the race and handed the fourth spot to Stepanian. Unfortunately, Hauser’s timing belt came loose, forcing him to retire. This left the battle up front to Strong and Steffen Thompson. Somehow, Strong managed to charge back through the field and claim the first race win of his career! Thompson took second place and Stepanian grabbed the last podium spot.

As the sun rose Sunday morning, most everyone was still full from the now traditional BBQ that Steve Stepanian puts on at his home for the entire SE30 group, friends and family. A great dinner with a great group of friends capped a great day of racing.

The top four cars from the previous race were inverted for Sunday’s qualifying race. Two cars suffered mechanical failures and did not make it to grid. Pearson was able to make the adjustments to the car and drive through the field to win the race! Steffen Thompson finished second and Mark Powell moved up into the third slot.

For the main race, Strong decided to move himself to the back of the pack to avoid finding second gear. At the start, Pearson charged out to a good lead which left a battle between Stepanian, Thompson and Powell. Stepanian and Powell spent much of the race, side by side through most corners. By doing so, they allowed Strong to catch up and work his way past both drivers into the third spot. Pearson suddenly stopped out on track, handing the lead over to Thompson with Strong chasing him down. At the line, Thompson would take the win over Strong by a car length. Stepanian would repeat his third place podium spot.

Join the Discussion