At the Eastern States Championships at Road Atlanta in August, Sandro Espinosa started from the back of the Spec E30 field and drove like a madman to the front to win the Championship race. This was an outstanding achievement, but that wasn’t enough for Espinosa. After the Championships, he went to VIR, clinching the Southeast Region 2014 Spec E30 points championship, then to Daytona Beach, Fla., where he won the Spec E30 race at Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 2. The only problem was that he needed the car all the way across the country in Sonoma, Calif., to compete in the Western States Championships presented by Toyo Tires the following Thursday.
On the 2,900-mile tow to Sonoma, his Ford F-350 broke down in El Paso, Texas, and a local Ford dealer told him the repairs would take $4,000 and two days to fix. That wasn’t going to work. Espinosa had a solution.
“I’m Mexican, and we were in El Paso,” Espinosa said. “We skipped the dealership and found ourselves a Mexican repair shop. I speak the language. They had us fixed in an hour and it only cost $370.”
The car arrived on time in Sonoma, but the No. 32 BMW, which had been winning races all over the Eastern Seaboard, hadn’t been touched since it won in Daytona and was in desperate need of its crew chief. Espinosa explained, “The ABS went out and the car was undriveable.”
Espinosa redecorated the front of his Spec E30 with the wall outside Sonoma’s Turn 3A. Undaunted, he and his crew used two Ford F-350s to create a makeshift frame straightener. One truck anchored the BMW while the other violently tugged the car, resulting in a somewhat straighter Spec E30 and a broken tow strap. The following day, Espinosa was back on track but a damaged left front hub sidelined him again. Still not ready to give up, Espinosa rented a Spec E30 from Dan Riley Racing and qualified for the final race.
Espinosa ended up finishing dead last at the NASA Western States Championships when he crashed out in the first lap in his rented Spec E30. Regardless of his finish in Sonoma, it’s safe to say that Espinosa is one of the most dedicated Spec E30 racers in NASA.