Bringing this tradition back. Post your race weekend recaps/summary and video links here.
The first event of the 2018 NASA FL Spec E30 season set itself up to be a showdown with talk of East FL vs West FL weeks before the event. Palm Beach International Raceway had not been graced with a scheduled NASA presence since 2011, although a few of our drivers have had opportunities to participate in other events recently. Some of us were especially looking forward to the karting race planned for Saturday night. To top it all off, two regular supporters of our class officially stepped up as series sponsors for this year. Condor Speed Shop with a $100 gift certificate (random drawing), and Panzer Performance with a $200 total cash award for Sunday Race 2. (1st - $100, 5th - $50, bonus $50 TBD). Talk about a lot to look forward to.
McKay and Bellanger led the way in Sat Qual, separated by less than a tenth. Mendez and Green followed, also separated by less than a tenth. Buxton, Goldburg, Schmidt, Gonzalez, and D. Wilsey were next in that order. First blood, it would appear, drawn by the West FL crew.
In a short Race 1 due to time loss from the previous session, Bellanger checked out, clocking the fastest lap on his way to victory. McKay had a bobble and fell all the way back. Mendez, Green, Buxton, Goldburg followed in that order ahead of McKay without enough time to make up ground. Gonzalez got by Schmidt who stayed ahead of Wilsey. Another tick for West FL it would seem.
Race 2 was scheduled as a twilight race, and did in fact finish as the sun disappeared over the horizon. Once again, the #44 of Bellanger had a strong start and looked to be on his way to another victory. Schmidt pulled in early with car trouble. In making his way back to the front, McKay and Green got tangled up in the final corner battling for 3rd place, Green was unfortunately unable to continue. Shortly thereafter, a major incident from another class resulted in a full course caution. Coming up to the restart with a few laps to go, Bellanger lost fuel pressure and had to pull in. Mendez would take the win, then McKay, Buxton, Goldburg, Gonzalez, Wilsey.
A quick note about Karting. Patrick Bellanger schooled everyone (not in a fair manner though). There was good bumping even though the signs say “no bumping”. Half the field spun in the final corner of the first lap, and half the field were pulling the governor along the straights to find a little extra top end. Expect nothing less from Spec E30. A new tradition was born and we all look forward to the going back.
3 new Comp. Eval. graduates would join our ranks on Sunday. Qualifying would see Bellanger lay down a mega lap, 1.1s ahead of Goldburg, then McKay, Mendez, Buxton, Engelmann, C. Wilsey, Gonzalez, Lopez, D. Wilsey, Smith, and Schmidt.
In Race 3, Mendez and McKay looked set to push their way to the front and challenge the young gun. Mendez found an opening and snuck through cleanly by Goldburg at the end of the back straight. McKay had an incident attempting to follow suit, resulting in the former going off track; however, he continued a string of really fast laps to get past Mendez at the finish line. Goldburg would recover to 4th followed by Buxton making up the top 5.
Race 4 was very action packed. The 2018 national champion, Mendez, tried to prevent Bellanger from sweeping the day by driving in deep with him in the first set of corners. This backfired, and Mendez dropped to the back. He would ultimately recover to 3rd place after a 4-lap nose to tail battle with Goldburg, who had also made his way from last to 3rd with a great start. Post race penalties had McKay starting on the back row and a strong recovery drive saw him finish in 2nd place. The entire field had good battles - C. Wilsey, Buxton, and Engelmann, as well as Gonzalez and Smith crossed the finish in close quarters.
A really good weekend for the group, and a good showing by all. Olivier Bellanger was the man to beat this weekend, but the points lead for now lies with East FL’s Carlos Mendez. With a 3 week turn around until Round 2 at Homestead, it won’t be long until the action continues.
https://goo.gl/8vNzre (just click “Not Now”) if the facebook login pop up comes up.
Videos: ***still editing ***