The season finale at Buttonwillow was nothing short of the knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish.
NASA pitched the racers a curve by replacing their customary standing start with a rolling start. Matt Thiemann was on pole, with Allan Hauser in second and Rius Billing in third.
Matt Thiemann and Allan Hauser gapped the field early with Rius Billing behind them, just out of striking distance. The real battle was for positions four through eight. Off the start, Aron immediately shot up from sixth to fourth, with Steve Stepanian, Frank Reed, Steffen Thompson and Erick Strong right on his bumper.
Aron, who was having one of his best races to date, was leading a pack of cars onto the front straight when he dropped a wheel on the outside of the turn, spun and shot across the front straight and hit a tire barrier. Aron was only shaken up in the collision, but the remainder of the race was finished under a full-course yellow, with Thiemann in first, followed by Hauser, who set a new track record at 2:14:177, and Billing in third.
If Hauser finished more than half of Sunday’s race, he would retain the SoCal Spec E30 Regional title. Stepanian and Billing, who were fighting it out for second and third now had to look over their shoulders for Thiemann, who was in the middle of a late-season hot streak.
On Sunday, NASA changed up the field. The top half of the cars would be placed in their same order, but in the back half of the grid. Then they took the bottom half of the grid and inverted their positions. That put Sean Aron on pole with a car he and Midnight Oil Motors worked all night to repair, with Steve Nagel in second and Erick Strong in third.
As the cars roared through their first lap, Aron led a pack of eight cars that were basically nose to tail around the entire track. By the end of the second lap, only Pepper had lost a couple of positions. Slowly, the cars in front were showing signs of their tires getting a too hot as they fell to faster traffic.
As the closing laps approached, Hauser had advanced to a commanding lead, and he went on to win. From his third spot, Thompson did everything he could to real in second-place Stepanian and almost did as the checkered flag flew, bringing end to what technical inspector T.C. McNett called “one of the most exciting races of the year.”
Hauser scored the points championship, followed by Billing and Stepanian.