Round four of the SoCal Spec E30 Race Series landed the drivers at Buttonwillow Raceway Park where the previous track record would be bettered by half the field. The drivers battled 100-plus-degree temperatures the entire weekend.
Qualifying for Saturday’s race showed that most drivers had underestimated the tire pressure adjustments that would be needed to compensate for the high ambient temperatures. Steve Stepanian captured another pole with a qualifying time that was almost 2.5 seconds faster than the track record. The outside pole went to Michael Mihld. Row two had Charles Buzzetti starting third with Hubert Young in the fourth slot.
Stepanian and Mihld battled early going side by side through the first two turns. Stepanian grabbed the lead out of the Esses with Mihld, Young and Buzzetti giving chase, respectively. On lap five, Young out-braked Mihld into Turn 1 to take over second place, with Buzzetti sneaking into third right behind him. With time running out, Buzzetti made a rare error and spun off in Turn 1, giving Mihld third place, with Steve Agoston then in fourth. On the white flag lap, Stepanian suffered a mechanical failure dropping him way back in the field. Young went on to capture his first Spec E30 win! Agoston challenged Mihld for second place right to the checkers, but needed a bit more track to get it done and finished third.
Buzzetti scored the pole for Sunday’s race with Mihld qualifying only .1 seconds behind him. Even more impressive is the fact that both of their times that were a full 5 seconds faster than the prior track record and 2 seconds faster than Stepanian, who started third, with Agoston starting next to him in row two.
Buzzetti led the field into Turn 1 with Stepanian right on his bumper. Young, Mihld and Agoston went three wide though Turn 1 with Aristotle Balogh right behind them. Mihld and Young went side by side all the way through Star Mazda! Buzzetti enjoyed a sizable lead with Stepanian, Mihld and Young all battling each other for every corner during a majority of the race. However, on the penultimate lap, Stepanian went off in the Bus Stop, leaving Mihld and Young to fight it out to the end. Buzzetti ended up going wire to wire for the win, and Mihld barely held off Young to capture second place. Young finished third, taking his second podium finish for the weekend.