Seventeen hours into the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill, yet another fight for the lead evaporated.
Lead changes had been frequent: the Motorsport Solution Porsches took the lead early from the Factory 48 radical ESR, then handed that lead back to the #48 Radical, until that car blew a tire and then a motor.
The Davidson Racing RCR Eagle was the next car to lead the field, and held that lead for 55 laps, to lose it to the #48 Radical on a long pit stop of its own.
The Factory 48 Radical lost the lead to the Lynam Racing Chevy Silverado around lap 221. The Lynam pick-up held onto first place (save for pit stops) for almost 150 laps, before its own mechanical woes slowed it. The #161 StammerInk BMW took the lead briefly, only to be deposed on lap 361 by the #00 Motorsport Solutions Ehrets Winery Porsche.
The #00 car apparently collided with another car on lap 400 and lost both pace and time in the pits. This gave first place back to the Lynum Silverado.
The Lynum Silverado seemed steady, sufficiently quick, and ready to finish the race in the lead. The truck turned inaa string of fast, safe laps and protected its lap lead. Meanwhile the Davidson eagle had to make another pit stop for repairs, removing one of the Lynam truck’s biggest threats.
As almost seemed expected, the Lynam Silverado then had more mechanical problems, dropping it out of the lead on lap 429. (Apparently a Mazda RX-8 rammed the truck, shearing a rear brake line.) Thus the #64 Motorsport Solutions Porsche retook the lead it had lost on lap 41.
At this point only a few laps separated the top five cars, after fifteen hours of racing. The leading Porsche was blazingly fast, the second-place #1612 StammerInc BMW was pitifully slow, and the Davidson RCR Eagle was also very, very quick, and looked to be able to reel in the leaders by dawn.
On lap 444 the #18 Davidson RCR Eagle moved into second place, after reeling off a series of very fast laps. The #18 car got to within a lap of the Motorsports Solutions Porsche until its turn came: it was visited by the racing gremlins and disappeared into the pits on lap 464.
Finally, around the eighteen-hour mark, some stability developed at the front of the field; the two Motorsport Solution Porsches, which had jumped into the lead on lap one and held it for 40 laps, settled into the top two spots, with the #00 seven laps down. The Lynam Silverado held third, 14 laps down, with the Davidson Eagle fourth, another two laps back
Fifth came the E0 class leader, the #68 Pure Performance BMW 325, leading its class by three laps over the #31 Hankook Tire/El Diablo BMW M3.
One of the best battles of the race was the ongoing struggle for the E1 class lead between the #55 CJ Wilson Young Guns Miata and the # 49 949 Racing Miata. The pair swapped the lead several times; on lap 492, The #55 ran tenth with the #49 eleventh, 26 seconds back.
In 14th, the #30 Miatacage.com PTE Miata held onto the E3 class lead, while the #79 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5 in 16th held the E2 lead.
Now it is just a matter of waiting for the next car to break, giving the class or race lead over to the next in line. With seven hours to go in the 25-hour event, there could be any number of new leaders yet to come.
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