When the green flag dropped on the last race of the WERC regular season, 23 cars had lined up to take a shot at glory in the ink-black darkness of a Buttonwillow night.
Team Road Shagger Racing had earned pole position in its E36 M3 over Marvista Racing, also in a BMW and Luxury: Don’t Crash Racing in its Porsche GT3 Cup car. Road Shagger used pole position to great advantage by gaining a healthy lead and keeping it, which was good enough for the win in E0 and first overall.
“Gavin started the race and built a giant lead,” said cleanup driver John Morley. “Before the first fuel stop, we already had a minute and a half lead. We tried to make no mistakes and keep it clean. We had had engine issues for two years leading up to this. I think we won by two laps, so that’s one lap for each year we haven’t been able to race. We’re just thrilled.”
In E1, Achilles Motorsports had scampered out to a two-lap lead at about the 2.5-hour mark, but mechanical gremlins surfaced and knocked them back.
“Patrick Avackian has one of the best prepared Z3 coupes anywhere,” said team driver Lee Papageorge. “Our lap times were strong. We could do exactly what we wanted to do with the car the whole race. It was a fantastic race until the last 30 minutes when we found we had two broken wheel studs. I don’t know if was a materials issue, but it cost us the win.”
While Achilles limped its car home to a third-place finish, Team Technik/HQ Autosport took the win, followed by Bullet Performance in second.
“It was a great team effort. We’ve been working on getting the car sorted all season long,” said Technik/HQ Autosport team principal Rob Henretta. “Peter (Hopelain) qualified the car and ran a really hot first stint and put us in a good position. Our competitors had an unlucky break, but that’s endurance racing. We were there at the end.”
In E2, Shawn Sampson ran uncontested and took first place. In ESR, Team Competitive Edge Racing, also uncontested, finished just 20 laps.
In ES class, WERC regular Team Prototype Development Group took the win over Luxury: Don’t Crash Racing and scored second place overall with one driver who had never been in the car, nor had he driven Buttonwillow at night.
“It was his first time in this car, so we were pushing and waiting for them (Road Shagger Racing) to make pit stops or make a mistake,” said Mike Collins. “But unfortunately, we got second overall instead of first.”
In E3, there were seven cars vying for the podium, making it the most popular class again. Team Love My Dad Motorsports started from ninth overall and first in class to take the win. Spec Miata alum turned MX-5 Cup driver Elliott Skeer scored the win, with Team BuzzBomb Racing in second and Team Squidmobile in third. The second place finish should be good enough to give Team BuzzBomb the E3 points championship.
“The Buzz Bomb 944 ran excellent all night, and we turned some really good laps,” said Charlie Buzzetti. “We had a little bit of trouble with tires and a couple of offs, but we hung it out and got a second place in E3.”