Season finale @ Buttonwillow


Round 7 and the season finale at Buttonwillow where a Spec E30
Champion would be crowned for the 2011 SoCal season.

Something new to the mix, Spec E30 Series director Shawn Meze led the
way friday after the track closed to do a course walk with a handful
of drives. Very few drivers have actually laid foot to the asphalt and
a better understanding of the track was had by many. I know one driver
would walk the course again on saturday and figure out something in
sundays race to move up in the pack. Could this be the next ritual for
the E30 drivers for the 2012 season? We will see!

13 drivers showed up to a soggy track as the rains returned to add to
the mix. No matter, the morning sun dried out the track and the
morning warm up would be a dry session, as would the entire day. The
sun gods would shine upon us all day and clear sunny skies would rule
the day.

Cool air temps would make great power and a sun soaked track would
allow for great traction on the track on this day. The current track
records would not hold out as no less than 5 drivers would run faster
in the qualifying session. The current record, 2:17.345 set by
Geoffrey Sykes in June, wouldn’t last the day. Allan Hauser would lead
the way with a 2:15.543.

Our newest drivers, Sean Trapp would make his first debut at
Buttonwillow, but not with SE30 racing and qualify in the 10th spot.
Sean Aaron’s first race with us and finish up the pack in a car he
just picked up and raced for the first time.

Saturday Qualifying Results:
1. 320 Allan Hauser 2:15.543
2. 21 Matthew Thiemann 2:16.322
3. 67 steffen thompson 2:16.651
4. 343 David Reed 2:16.706
5. 28 Steven Stepanian 2:17.102
6. 55 Team Road Runner 2:17.574
7. 59 Patrick Vogel 2:18.859
8. 11 Frank Reed 2:18.874
9. 25 Chris Donnelly 2:19.199
10. 24 Sean Trapp 2:20.315
11. 111 Erick Strong 2:20.737
12. 99 Mitchell Pepper 2:22.587
13. 33 Sean Aaron 2:26.922

A good start by most while others struggled to get away mixed up the
field a they entered turn one together. Even with some 3 wide racing
into the first turn, there was some light contact with the front
runners but that didn’t matter as everyone made it out of the first
turn together. Heading into the Riverside turn, Steffen Thompson would
not have enough heat in the rear tires and a slow left hand spin would
put him off to the inside where he would stand on the throttle and
roost up the fresh muddy stuff all over the windshields of Allan
Hauser, David Reed and Steven Stepanian. This would have a dramatic
effect on their races. Matthew Thiemann was able to get past the
incident without issue and drive off to a commanding lead.

Mid pack Kevin Nichols in the Team Road Runner entry was having a
great battle for position with Steven Stepanian until he finally got
around Steve to take over the 4th spot. Sean Trapp was moving up thru
the field and quickly got to the back bumper of Steven Stepanian who
gave Sean a great battle to the very end. “One more lap and I would
have got him”! Trapp was heard saying after the race.

Nichols continued his charge and went after the 3rd place holder,
David Reed. Reed was suffering from a mud covered windshield but
didn’t give up the fight. Nichols got around David Reed cleanly and
held onto the 3rd place finish.

Allan Hauser closed the gap on Matthew Thiemann for the lead but was
too far behind to make a move when the checkered flag came out. This
would be Matthew Thiemann’s first ever Spec E30 race win but he was
not able to set the fastest lap of the race. Allan Hauser’s 2:16.476
would reset the track lap record in Spec E30 and be one more step
closer to the championship. Matthew Thiemann was awarded the Midnight
Oil hard charger award!

Patrick Vogel would have an electrical issue on the first lap and the
car would be stranded on the track but would be towed in and repairs
were made. Patrick was able to get back out as the checkered flag

Matthew Thiemann was unavailable for post race commentary as it was
rumored that Roger Penske was speaking to him on the phone. We were
not able to contact Roger Penske for a comment on the rumor.

Unfortunately the #28 car of Steven Stepanian failed the post race
tech inspection and was DQ’d for the race. An error in setting the
right fuel level before the race is a hard lesson to learn.

And though the race might have ended, the party was just getting
started. Hanging out, watching some great race video, a nice Tri Tip
dinner and adult beverages were had by all that were camping out at
the track. It was a fitting end to a great day!

Saturday Race Results:
1. 21 Matthew Thiemann 2:16.966
2. 320 Allan Hauser 2:16.476
3. 55 Team Road Runner 2:16.756
4. 343 David Reed 2:17.287
5. 24 Sean Trapp 2:18.590
6. 11 Frank Reed 2:19.536
7. 25 Chris Donnelly 2:20.021
8. 111 Erick Strong 2:20.700
9. 99 Mitchell Pepper 2:21.556
10. 33 Sean Aaron 2:24.319
11. 67 steffen thompson 2:20.388
12. 59 Patrick Vogel
DQ. 28 Steven Stepanian 2:17.364

The rain gods were at it again as a downpour would drench the track at
3am and not stop until well after sunrise. The weather forecast was
for clear skies until 3pm, then it was to rain yet again. Our race was
at 12:45, so we thought we would be fine. The morning warm up went off
without a hitch and the guys were ready for the qualifying session.

Allan Hauser let it be known he still has it by posting a smoking
2:15.501 for the pole! Steven Stepanian found some time and laid down
a personal best lap of 2:16.318 claiming his first outside pole
position. Kevin Nichols and Sean Trapp would not be able to
participate in Sundays race but Joe Powers would return to do some
racing to finish out the season with SOCal! Erick Strong found 3 full
seconds out of nowhere and moved up the chart to start in the 5th

Sunday Qualifying Results:
1. 320 Allan Hauser 2:15.501
2. 28 Steven Stepanian 2:16.318
3. 21 Matthew Thiemann 2:16.788
4. 343 David Reed 2:17.024
5. 111 Erick Strong 2:17.716
6. 59 Patrick Vogel 2:18.208
7. 67 steffen thompson 2:18.335
8. 11 Frank Reed 2:20.134
9. 25 Chris Donnelly 2:20.407
10. 33 Sean Aaron 2:22.344
11. 15 Joe Powers 2:21.098
12. 99 Mitchell Pepper 2:21.428

Sure enough, the rains come early and it didn’t let up. As the guys
roll off the grid, orders are given to the the pace car driver to take
an additional lap to give the drivers some much needed recon regarding
what the grip levels are on the track. This season has only seen one
standing start in the rain, which was back at CA Speedway. Not knowing
for sure what RPM to launch at, and even what gear to use for the
start, the drivers made their last minute choices and the grid was

As the green flag dropped for the last time this season, the guys got
away cleanly and all but one made it thru turn one without issue. The
crowd would ooh and aah as Steffen Thompson would find the limits of
the tires on the wet asphalt and spin to a stop going into turn 1. The
guys behind him would do a great job to avoid his car. Thompson would
get it going and rejoin the race.

While all of the lap times were not fast for this race, the battles on
track were non stop! With 2 laps to go Mitch Pepper would lose control
going into Riverside and would spin off track to the inside and get
firmly stuck in the ankle deep mud. Full course caution would slow the
field while his car was extracted. Unfortunately, Dave Reed made a
pass under yellow and it cost him. While he gave the position back,
he suffered for it. However he was not the only one because by this
time, Stepanian had gapped the field by a good distance. Fortunately
for the rest of the pack, the full course yellow allowed most of them
to all catch up due to a slower moving PT car in front of Stepanian.

When the track finally went green, there was a pack of 4 cars
(Stepanian, Thiemann, Hauser and Vogel) all bumper to bumper for what
would be the remaining 2 laps. Thiemann went on the attack immediately
by trying to force the issue on the inside of turn 1 on Stepanian
while Hauser followed Thiemann’s lead and decided to take the outside.
Stepanian wisely drove mid track, where most of the grip was, and
pulled away from both of them going into the esses. Thiemann would
again challenge Stepanian in Star Mazda by trying the outside line
against Stepanian’s mid-track line. Once again, Stepanian was able to
stay in front all the way to the Cotton Corners where Thiemann would
give one last try. However, Thiemann fond himself under attack by
Hauser. Just to make things difficult for them both Patrick Vogel was
trying to challenge Hauser for 3rd place. The three of them would
battle through every turn for the remainder of the race. When the
checkered flag came out, Steven Stepanian had redeem himself. After a
poor start, he battled his way to the front about half way through the
race and drove on to collect his first win in Spec E30! Stepanian
would also be awarded the Midnight Oil hard charger award for Sunday’s

Matthew Thiemann showed that Saturdays win was no fluke and finished a
solid second place.

Allan Hauser took the 3rd spot and secured his bid for the SoCal Spec
E30 Championship!

Patrick Vogel in the Vogel Boys entry, claimed the 4th place finish in
the race to secure their teams 2nd place in the Championship points!
David Reed would have visability issues and would fall all the way
back to 10th after being as high as 2nd in the race. Hos brother Frank
Reed was too far back in the points to dethrone his brother and they
would finish 4th and 5th respectively in the championship series

It was a great race and an exciting finish to a great season of
racing! The field has grown, the drivers are getting faster; which is
evidenced by us having two first time winners on the final racing
weekend of the season. I just can’t wait for the 2012 race season to
start again!

Sunday Race Results:
1. 28 Steven Stepanian 2:43.618
2. 21 Matthew Thiemann 2:43.786
3. 320 Allan Hauser 2:43.632
4. 59 Patrick Vogel 2:43.174
5. 11 Frank Reed 2:49.738
6. 111 Erick Strong 2:49.095
7. 67 steffen thompson 2:46.921
8. 33 Sean Aaron 2:52.870
9. 15 Joe Powers 2:53.933
10. 343 David Reed 2:46.145
11. 25 Chris Donnelly 2:57.507
12. 99 Mitchell Pepper 2:55.928

Shawn Meze
SoCal Spec E30 Series Director


Wow!!! Incredible write up Shawn.


Thank you! I wish I could say I done did it all myself but I hads me some hep. :slight_smile:


Great write-up Shawn.

Thanks for all the work you put into SoCal this year. Considering where we were last year and how the group has come together, next year is really looking great.


We really do need the times in the “Track Record” section updated.

These times eclipsed the old one’s for sure on Saturday.

Sunday…not so much. Oh, they are records alrighty! Just not the one’s we would want to claim.


Curious to know what track config was used for the season finale


Hello Kartik. Are you still thinking of building a car? I believe the last event, last year, was CCW #1. I think it will be the same for our final event this year.



Sorry I meant Round 7

Allan - I did build it - I was at buttonwillow with Speedventures this last weekend and was wondering how my times compared…


That was 1 CCW.

I believe it was the same as what you ran with SV last weekend. I had a friend thee in his red 350Z


Wow! - I am a full 10 sec off pole - I have a long way to go…


Yes, we will be running CCW #1.

It’s gonna be cold with a very slight possibly of a light rain.

Friday : high of 58, low of 35 - Partly Cloudy, Chance of rain: 20% Wind: W at 11 mph
Saturday : high of 56, low of 31 - Partly Cloudy, Chance of rain: 20% Wind: W at 10 mph
Sunday : high of 61, low of 33 - Sunny, Chance of rain: 0% Wind: W at 7 mph

This should be an epic battle!