With a field of 34 Spec E30s, this class was a testament to, and a showcase of, great spec-class amateur racing up and down the roster. Man, it was a wild ride, and a thrill to watch.
Last year’s Western States Champion Larry Fraser had earned pole by nearly a full second, followed by Sean Curran, Alex Barroso, Sandro Espinosa and David Martin.
The green flag dropped for the standing start and everyone got away clean. Not one driver missed the one-two shift — or three-four — and the race was on. By Turn 1, Fraser had surged ahead of Curran and Espinosa. That order up front remained till lap seven, when Curran began dropping back. That left Espinosa nipping at the heels of Fraser, with Whitinger trailing in third. Whitinger remained in third place for the entire race, and crossed the line at the finish in third.
“It was hard fought,” he said. “I watched probably the two best racers I’ve ever seen battle the entire race and I was really glad to be a part of that.”
Espinosa and Fraser were nose to tail the entire race until Fraser missed a shift on the back straight, which allowed Espinosa to squirt past for the lead. Fraser wasn’t sitting still for that, and went to make a pass into Turn 1 that didn’t go as planned. Fraser spun off track and lost two spots. He rejoined in third, ahead of Curran.
“I got past him and then he was behind me, which I really didn’t want because I wasn’t going to make a pass,” Espinosa said after the race. “I don’t like to force things. Unfortunately, he forced it into Turn 1 and spun out and so Ryan I came in first and second. We had a good battle. It’s just unfortunate that politics is going to take over after this, so we’ll see.”
When the decision came down after the race, Espinosa was deemed the winner, with Whitinger in second and Fraser in third. This is Espinosa’s third Spec E30 Championship in the last two years.
“I think I got into Turn 1 ahead of Sandro a little bit and he got into the back of me and just turned me around,” Fraser said after the race. “That’s what the provisional thing was about. It’s unfortunate. I think I had the pace to win. It was a really fun race. For the most part, everything was clean. I was just trying to run some clean laps with those guys. Those guys are great competitors.”