The stars dotting the Friday night sky aligned over Autobahn Country Club to bring together six Spec E30s for round four of the 2013 NASA Midwest season. Ryan Ciechanski came out to take a bite out of Rob Rhodes’ season points lead, and the West Coaster from “across the pond,” Kieran Gobey made his Midwest debut. Defending champ Tom Tiede dusted off the car and packed the baby bjorn for his first race weekend sharing the car with GTS veteran, Jeff Herrmann. Kyle Burkhardt and Rich Friman rounded out the class.
Tiede shook off the cobwebs and posted the fastest qualifying time with a 1:42.942, followed by Ciechanski’s 1:43.350. In the race, Tiede and Ciechanski battled for the lead until Tiede finally got hung up behind a Spec Miata. In the end, Ciechanski finished seven seconds ahead of Tiede and claimed the fast lap of the day (1:42.270) along with the $100 Bimmerworld certificate. They were followed by Burkhardt who worked from last to third because a loose coil wire kept him from qualifying.
On Sunday, Ciechanski found more than a second in qualifying (1:42.251). Burkhardt rounded out row one with a 1:44.168 despite getting no clear track. Herrmann put Tiede’s car into P3, followed by Gobey, Rhodes and Friman. Everyone lined up for a standing start. Burkhardt got a bit of a jump, but Ciechanski got by in Turn 2 with Herrmann following behind him. Burkhardt and Herrmann battled the entire 40 minutes, changing positions four times. Burkhardt got the last pass with just a handful of laps left and took advantage of traffic to ward off any further challenges by Herrmann. Meanwhile, Ciechanski cruised to his second win in as many days and another fastest lap of 1:42.144.
Finally, we wanted to recognize the front runner for the Midwest Spec E30 hard charger award, Jeff Niswander, who was supposed to attend comp school in April, but a late engine fire prevented him from making the school, but not the event. Shortly before the latest event, he blew up his motor at a DE. Well, as the rest of the group was setting up the paddock on Friday, Niswander (with assistance from Calvin Brandt) managed to build and install a new M20 in about 12 hours. Jeff made it to the track on Saturday morning and ran all weekend in Time Trials without a problem.