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Final Two Hours of Thunderhill

By James Fish
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 9, 2012 Last Updated: December 10, 2012
Related articles: Sports » Motorsports
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There is still a lot going on after 23 hours of racing; the final ninety minutes of the Thunderhill 25 could still bring surprises. (facebook.com/NASA25HrsofThunderhill)

There is still a lot going on after 23 hours of racing; the final ninety minutes of the Thunderhill 25 could still bring surprises. (facebook.com/NASA25HrsofThunderhill)

The tenth NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill is winding down. But the dramas continue to multiply, and the plot twists are still multiplying.

Entering the final two hours, it was the two cars which first led a lap which lead the field: The Motorsport Solution Porsches which leapt into the lead at the drop of the green flag, were once again at the head of the field, and after two hours of trouble-free racing, it seemed they might stay there.

The leading #00 Porsche completed 635 laps as the clock ticked past the top of the hour, five laps more than its sister #64 car. Their nearest competitor, the #18 Davidson Racing RCR Eagle, was a full 15 laps out of the lead.

After 23 hours of twists, it was absolutely possible that none of these three cars will even see the finish. Still, somehow, it seemed that the top of the standings are settled. It just felt that way.

And what are those feelings worth? The #64 car headed to the pits for an extended stop just as the hour struck. Perhaps all is not right within? The Davidson Racing eagle, which at one point seemed on track to take second, and then seemed doomed to third at best is now only two laps from advancing. With the #64 still in the pits, it is only a matter of time for the #18—time and luck, and its luck has been pretty outrageous in its range.

There are still contests to resolve. In fourth place, the #31 Hankook Tire/El Diablo BMW looked to have a lock on the E0 class; after the #68 Pure Performance BMW dropped back starting around lap 588, the #31 was left with an eight-lap lead in the class.  

Then, 13 minutes into the 24th hour, the Hankook car slowed on track. Two hours? Plenty of time for several reversals of fortune. The Hankook car only lost one lap of its seven-lap lead … this time.

In E1, the battle is as hot as ever; this one will likely go to the checkered flag. The #55 CJ Wilson Young Guns Miata, hampered by a failing ABS system, is currently 20 seconds behind the #49 949 Racing Miata. The 949 car has needed frequent pit stops (to replace lost fluid?) but is still lapping faster than the injured CJ Wilson machine.

This one is still up in the air. With both cars having mechanical issues, either or could fail to finish or lose a lot of time.

The Miatacage.com PTE Miata in 13th has a firm grip on the E3 class lead, being four laps ahead of its sister car, both of which have been lapping without drama for several hours. Likewise the #79 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5 in 17thm, the E2 leader; this car has been running flawlessly 13 laps ahead of its nearest class competitor.

A few old friends have made their ways back to the front of the grid. The #48 Factory 48 Radical SR3 which led the race earlier has returned to the top five, and has every possibility of capturing third. On lap 645, the car was in fourth, ten laps behind the malfunctioning #64 Porsche.

The #66 Lynam Racing Chevy Silverado worked its way back into the top ten through persistence. (facebook.com/NASA25HrsofThunderhill)

The #66 Lynam Racing Chevy Silverado worked its way back into the top ten through persistence. (facebook.com/NASA25HrsofThunderhill)

Just hanging on to a top-ten position was the #66 Lynam Racing Chevy Silverado. After leading through most of the night, the Lynum Racing pick-up got speared by another car, cutting a brake line and dropping the truck down the order. Using the same steady consistency which earned them the longest tenure in the lead, the Lynam team steadily rose through the standings to finally reach ninth.

The reasonably quick and unreasonably unattractive TFB (which claims to be a BMW E30) seems et for a top-five finish. (facebook.com/NASA25HrsofThunderhill)

The reasonably quick and unreasonably unattractive TFB (which claims to be a BMW E30) seems et for a top-five finish. (facebook.com/NASA25HrsofThunderhill)

The Lynam truck has a chance to advance as far as seventh. It would take an amazing twist (how odd that would be) to make up the six laps to the #2 TFB BMW-mutant, which runs sixth and second in the ESR class.
With a little over ninety minutes left in the race, the only certainty is that everyone will be exhausted when the race finally ends.

The race can be followed live on Endurance Radio, and also via Live Timing and Scoring; check www.nasa25hour.com.

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Laverne Lewis Gaskins