Eighteen SpecE30s took the Green at Road Atlanta for the last event of a spectacular year. With event fields generally greater than 17 cars, not a single car was lost in the furious battles of 22 races. At the national level, the Southeast region sent five Spec E30 racers to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Western States Championships, and 12 to Virginia International Raceway for Eastern States Championships. Southeast racers Sandro Espinosa and Ryan Whitinger dominated the national stage.
The double-points 2015 finale was won by 19-year-old NASA Southeast Rookie of the Year Alex Barroso, followed by Rob Eskew, and A. R. Hoshmandy. En route to his win, Barroso’s 1:42.79 broke Mike Skeen’s 8-year-old Road Atlanta track record by roughly a half second.
The competition in SpecE30 is fierce, but it’s a fierce competition among friends. If your friend makes a clever move to pass, you cheer him on to do his best, while trying not to squeeze him off the track. It surprised no one, therefore, when the field voted to invert the start for Sunday’s race. That is to say, fast racers in the rear in a standing start at Road Atlanta, the least forgiving track in the region.
Always the crowd pleaser is SpecE30.
The Sunday standing start did not go like clockwork. The group was in a hurry to get started because they were the third wave and therefore cars would be coming around the track in seconds. Some cars did not get enough spacing, a problem made worse by the least experienced racers being up front. In a standing start, there’s no fixing insufficient spacing. Backing up a few feet to get more space just moves the problem to the racer behind you.
There’s also the risk of being in reverse when the green drops. The racer behind you would have a story for life as he recounted the standing start where the guy ahead of him, at the green, lunged backward.
The start was exciting. Perhaps, a little too exciting. Cars dodged into the grass left and right to get around cars that started poorly. No contact was reported, but one racer had to reach out and pop his mirror back into place. It was a fabulous display of racing hard, while giving each other room to survive. The group was still three-wide until Turn 12, more than 2 miles later.
In the Sunday race, Alex Barroso took his second checker of the weekend, followed by Aaron Whitinger, and A.R. Hoshmandy.
The 2015 Southeast region Spec E30 points champion was Sandro Espinosa. Ryan Whitinger and Alex Barroso were second and third respectively.