In one of the largest SpecE30 fields ever at Roebling Road, Rob Eskew won both Saturday and Sunday races. Best of all, Eskew did it on Sunday after starting from the rear.
Of the field of 21 Spec E30s, Eskew started at the pole, followed by Ryan Whitinger, Mark Issa, Ty Young and Sandro Espinosa. Issa and Young were pleased to start ahead of national Spec E30 Champion Espinosa.
At the first turn, Espinosa passed Young to move into fourth. The next several laps saw terrific battles as sixth-place Steve Lako got beside Young in turn after turn, but couldn’t make the pass stick. Finally on lap four, Lako moved outside on turns 1 and 2 and held on until turn exit. That gave Lako the inside for the fast Turn 3, which put Young in the difficult situation of trying to remain side-by-side on the outside. Young backed out and Lako got into Turn 4 first.
Lako and Young then worked together to chase down Espinosa, Issa and Whitinger, several seconds ahead. Espinosa was getting beside third-place Issa in turn after turn, but Issa tenaciously held him back.
Lako and Young were rewarded for their teamwork by catching up to Whitinger, Issa and Espinosa in lap seven. Just as Lako and Young pulled up and made it a five-car train, Espinosa got by Issa to pull into third.
Fighting hard to hold fifth in the very fast front runners on lap eight, Lako got sideways in high-speed Turn 9, but coolly held it together. The nearby pit wall has a long history of collecting those less able. Just behind Lako, Young felt a sudden desire for caution and backed off to reduce the likelihood of getting collected in the incident.
As Lako and Young worked to catch back up, fourth-place Issa fell back from the Espinosa and Whitinger. Lako was able to pass Issa, but Whitinger and Espinosa were far ahead.
Then it all changed for Steve Lako. Going into Turn 1, Espinosa made a move on second-place Whitinger. They stayed side-by-side through turns 1 and 2. But then, as both cars were at their very limit of traction entering the fast Turn 3, there was contact that resulted in both cars going into the grass at 100 mph.
Lako and Issa were suddenly in second and third while Whitinger and Espinosa struggled to retain control of their cars and get back on the track safely. Then the white flag few, and at the checkers it was Rob Eskew, Steve Lako and Mark Issa.
No Spec E30s were killed in the making of this weekend’s adventures.