Hot and sweaty is how the Midwest/Great Lakes SE30 drivers like their women — and their racing. Gingerman didn’t disappoint, with oppressive heat and humidity, but no rain, greeting the field of seven Spec E30 competitors, including two 2012 NASA Championships podium drivers. An eighth driver, rookie Rich Friman, was a late scratch after hurting his back loading his truck for the weekend.
At the end of Saturday qualifying, the top four drivers were covered by 1.2 seconds, with Ryan CieChanski taking the pole with a 1:49.753. In the Saturday race, CieChanski and Jeremy Lucas walked away from the field, with CieChanski taking the win over Lucas by 4.8 seconds. Early in the race, Kyle Burkhardt and Carl Fuhrmann were set up to battle for the last podium spot, but Fuhrmann had an off in Turn 10 on the first lap, and was unable to catch Burkhardt. Meanwhile, Michael Osborne finished fourth and Dennis Barker finished fifth, but four laps down due to a fuel pump issue. Lucas claimed a new track record with his 1:50.314-second lap time.
Two races were scheduled for Sunday, and the top four qualifying times were again within 1.5 seconds of one another, with Lucas stealing the pole with a 1:49.588. On the start of the first race, Lucas took the lead into Turn 1 with Burkhardt following in P2 from the second row. Barker stuck his nose in on the inside of Burkhardt into Turn 2 but couldn’t make the pass. However, he and CieChanski were able to slip by coming out of Turn 3.
In the first several laps, Lucas maintained a seven-car lead over Barker and CieChanski, who were battling side by side for second. Burkhardt played the role of camera car to that fight. Barker eventually relented due to another fuel pump issue, and with two laps to go, had to give up P3 to Burkhardt. A last-ditch effort to regain his podium spot on the last lap resulted in Barker spinning in Turn 10. In the end, Lucas and CieChanski swapped spots on the podium — by 3.984 seconds — and Burkhardt claimed another P3. Barker, Fuhrmann, Rhodes and Osborne finished out the field.
The second race on Sunday saw a smaller field. CieChanski took his second win of the weekend — and missed a record by .4 seconds, followed by Fuhrmann and Rhodes.