Visiting from the NorCal region, Larry Fraser (second from left) took third place in Saturday’s Spec E30 race. Sandro Espinosa (middle) took first, with David Walsh (second from right) finishing second.

On June 14-15, 24 Spec E30s started Saturday’s and Sunday’s races. Although Saturday’s race was shortened by a midrace red flag that pulled the competitors back to the hot grid for a time, Sunday’s race enjoyed the green flag until the checker.

The top four grid positions on Sunday went to Sandro Espinosa, Eric Palacio, David Walsh and Steve Lako. At the green, Espinosa and Palacio went side-by-side through turns 1 and 2, but the off-camber outside of Turn 3 forced Palacio to give way and Espinosa slipped in front. Lako moved into third ahead of Walsh. Then, in Turn 5, Espinosa slipped off the exit gators and into the perilous gravel trap. He managed to retain control but fell back to fourth. As the train of 24 Spec E30s hit the back stretch it was Palacio, Lako, Walsh and Espinosa.

Palacio’s car, down on horsepower, was not able to hold off Lako on the back stretch. Very fast everywhere else though, Palacio held on to Lako’s bumper.

On lap two, Espinosa went into Turn 1 inside and hot trying to take the lead away from Lako. Espinosa was unable to hang on and exited the racing surface at turn exit. He was able to retain control and re-enter the track safely.

Palacio stayed on Lako’s bumper on the back stretch by tucking in tightly behind where the draft effect would compensate for the power difference.

On lap three, Palacio looked to the inside going into Turn 7, which resulted in reduced exit speed and he lost the draft on Lako. With a weak engine, this dropped him back to fourth. It was now Lako, Walsh, Espinosa, Palacio.

At the beginning of lap six, Espinosa once again went to the inside of Turn 1 to make a pass. This time he managed to stay on the track and moved into second. Then at Turn 10 Lako got slowed by faster traffic, and both Espinosa and Walsh darted by.

As the lead pack started lap seven, it was Espinosa, Walsh, Lako, and Palacio.

With three laps to go, Walsh went inside on turn 10a to take it from Espinosa. A bobble on 10b by Espinosa allowed Lako to slip by also. Sticking a nose into almost every turn as they raced toward the white flag, Espinosa fought fiercely to get past Lako, who managed to stay near Walsh, the leader, while presenting an tenacious defense to Espinosa.

On the last lap, Espinosa’s throttle stuck. He went off at the exit of 7 then hooked into the inside wall. That cemented a finishing order of David Walsh and Steve Lako, Eric Palacio and Ryan Whitinger.

RESULTS

http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/NASA_Southeast_Region/2014%20-%20Official%20Results/2014-06%20Road%20Atlanta/

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