No. 74 Robert Grace had to overcome a bad start to retake first place and his second Spec E30 Championship.

Spec E30 is always a shootout and 2016 was no exception. With Champion drivers like Larry Fraser, Sandro Espinosa, Robert Grace and Anthony Magnagnoli in the mix, this class is always one of the most fun to watch.

Pity the race was cut short and finished under yellow, but these guys mixed it up in the green laps they did have. Early on, Rob Eskew had the lead, with Grace in his mirrors. Magagnoli and Grace slipped past Eskew, who put the hammer down to try to get those spots back and ended up kissing the outside wall at the exit of Turn 11 on the front straight. The contact folded in his mirror and resulted in some vibration in the car, but he popped the mirror out and kept at it.

In the end, the official results differ from the results on track due to post-race DQ’s handed down to Magagnoli and Ryan Whitinger. With an anticlimactic finish under yellow, Fraser finished third, with Eskew in second.

Rob Eskew tapped the outside wall at the exit of Turn 11, yet powered through to finish second.
Rob Eskew tapped the outside wall at the exit of Turn 11, yet powered through to finish second.

“It was crazy,” Eskew said. “I was leading the race for a few laps and then Grace ended up getting by me. I was coming onto the front straight and Magagnoli got by me, and then after that it was chasing him down till the yellows, and then I never got to finish under green.”

Post-race inspections didn’t affect Robert Grace, who won the race and his second Spec E30 Championship.

“I certainly did not have the best start,” Grace said afterward. “I might have thought about that one a little too hard and second gear just went missing. I think I fell back to third and I just focused on hitting my marks and running my race to get back in it, and I was able to get back the lead. I had several past champions nipping at my heels there, so I was just trying to hit my marks, keep it clean and bring it home.”

No. 12 Northern California Region’s Larry Fraser battled Sandro Espinosa for the third spot. At the checkers, Fraser secured third for himself.
No. 12 Northern California Region’s Larry Fraser battled Sandro Espinosa for the third spot. At the checkers, Fraser secured third for himself.
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Image courtesy of Tracktime Photos