Seven racers faced mixed weather for the penultimate Spec E30 event at Autobahn Country Club. Saturday brought cool air and sunny skies — track records were in the racers’ sights. Ryan CieChanski took his usual spot in the pole position with a qualifying time of 1:41.032. He was followed by rookie Jeff Niswander. Kieran Gobey of Team Big Hearts Racing improved on his performance in July by setting the third fastest lap. Kyle Burkhardt, Great Lakes regular Denny Barker and Rich Friman rounded out the field.
In Saturday’s race, Burkhardt made a move from P4 to P2 by Turn 4. While Burkhardt fended off charges from Gobey and Niswander, CieChanski cruised to a victory and fast lap of the day at 1:41.197. Barker finally found the line and worked his way through Gobey and Niswander, and then was able to nip Burkhardt for the second spot on the podium with two laps to go.
Weather rolled in Sunday morning, but the qualifying times continued to drop. CieChanski took another pole with a 1:40.578 — almost a second faster than Barker. Niswander and Burkhardt rounded out row two followed by Rob Rhodes, Rich Friman and Chris Ferguson, who took over the Big Hearts car from Gobey.
Rain fell before the race, but the track was drying by grid time. CieChanski and Barker gambled that the rain would return, but Niswander went out on dries — he didn’t own wets. At the start, CieChanski stumbled and Barker, Niswander and Rhodes took advantage. Rhodes found himself leading a lap for the first time in his career before Barker, Niswander and CieChanski caught him around Turn 11. Barker, Niswander and Ciechanski were embroiled in an epic battle for two-thirds of the race. Barker and CieChanski’s prayers for rain went unanswered and Niswander was eventually able to get the lead on the drying track. CieChanski was disqualified after a last-ditch effort to pass Barker in T1 resulted in minor contact. The rookie Niswander took his first career win with Barker and Rhodes rounding out the podium.