When the air is still at Buttonwillow during an enduro, the dust that gets kicked up from two-offs or four-offs rises from the apexes and exits, and just hangs in the air. When you drive through it, the only thing your lights illuminate is the dust itself. It’s scary and disorienting. And if enough cars are dropping wheels around the track, every apex is shrouded in the infamous Buttonwillow dust.
Round two of the Western Endurance Racing Championship series took the green flag at 7 p.m. in April en route to a three-hour battle in the darkness. Despite the still air, the dust and the late starting time, the race went from green to checkers with no full course cautions and no mangled metal.
Twenty-six cars took the green including an NP01, which ran uncontested in its class.
Team Prototype Development Group has been on a tear this year. After a couple of seasons of rotten luck, the team has definitely hit its stride this year, taking the win at Willow Springs in March and notching another victory in round two at Buttonwillow.
The team qualified on pole and had to fend off Team TruSpeed Autosport in its quick — and loud — Porsche GT3 Cup car. Team Prototype Development kept it on full boil and finished one lap up on Team TruSpeed Autosport.
“I think the main thing was that we had a very fast pit stop versus our opponents, so it was an awesome job by the team. From there I could just control the race,” said driver Karl Rydquist. “When the other team had pitted, we were basically one lap ahead, and I could just control it.
“We had done the math before on their potential,” he added. “So as long as we were in the same region, we knew he wasn’t going to be able to catch us even though I think they could have the outright speed advantage on us.”
Team TruSpeed finished second and Team ColdCock Whiskey finished third.
Experience counts in endurance racing and Team El Diablo Motorsports has it in gobs. With years of racing and winning its class in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and many seasons racing with WERC, Team El Diablo ran a textbook race and led E0 from flag to flag.
“It was clean, and we led E0 from the start all the way to the finish,” said driver Lance Boicelli. “We probably stayed in third overall pretty much throughout the entire race as well. It was pretty flawless.”
Team Roadshagger Racing finished second and team Z4 finished third.
As a class, E1 has been heating up since last season, with an increasing number of entries at nearly every race, often matching the number of entries in the ever-popular E3. That held true in April when the green flag dropped on eight E3 cars.
El Dorado Motorsports’ Honda Prelude has been a mainstay on the WERC series for a few years now and the team has been taking the front-wheel-drive car to the front of a pack dominated by rear-wheel-drive 3-series BMWs.
Team El Dorado Motorsports led the E1 field at the one- and two-hour marks, posting lap times up to 2 seconds faster than its closest competitor, and took the win at the checkered flag.
Team TAPG Motorsports finished second on the same lap and Team Strom Motorsports 1 finished third, one lap down.
Team Buzz Bomb Racing took its Porsche 944 to an E2 class win. With only two cars in class, Team Buzz Bomb Racing handily beat Team HPDRC, which clearly had troubles in the beginning stages of the race and was several laps down as early as the one-hour mark.
Team Sampson Racing’s Roman Vaisman usually drives all three hours himself, which saves time on pit stops. He led at the one- and two-hour marks. Team OM Shenanigans and Team Pond traded places behind him, with Team California Wine Club in the hunt in fourth.
However, in the third hour of the race, Vaisman made a mistake significant enough to lose the lead to Team OM Shenanigans, which went on to take the win. Team Sampson Racing finished second and Team Pond finished third.