Three hours into the running of NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance, four teams in the ESR Class are bunched atop the leader board.

The endurance race kicked off at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony led by the men and women from the U.S. Air Force. Forty-five cars started the race as drivers prepare to run until noon Sunday. Early highlights include:

  • First-year team Eastern/Turn 3 Motorsport is the overall leader, having completed 90 laps on the 3-mile track three hours into the race.
  • Weather is a non-factor as overnight rain showers have cleared leaving a dry track for racers.
  • More than a dozen participating teams are raising money for victims of the devastating Camp Fire. Teams are donating between $1 and $3 per lap.

Class leaders at 2 pm:

E0Brett Becker

Hitting fuel calculations the Toyo Tires/Valkyrie Autosport had projected, the team is locked in a battle with Honda Racing THRW.

“The car is running overall well and running strong,” said Christina Brady, crew chief. “So far all my drivers are coming out smiling, which is the main point of the race.”

E1Brett Becker

Building upon a second-place finish in 2017 at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, MoreWood Creative has built a one-lap lead in the E1 class.

“Keep pounding laps,” said Justin Ross about the team’s approach tonight and into Sunday. “We’ve got two spotters all over the course, we’re being really conservative with passing and just running. You’ve got to finish to finish first.”

E2Brett Becker

Team HQ Autosport Racing’s car has been bumped twice on the track, damaging a wheel, but that hasn’t stopped the team from taking a three-lap lead in in the E2 class.

“Everything is going great right now for the team,” said Paul Quattrocchi, driver and team co-owner. “We prepared really hard for this race and put together a really good group of guys, we practiced to just be consistent and stay on the pavement and run good times. No penalties, that’s what we’re shooting for.”

E3Brett Becker

Team Neth Racing Works is keeping the heat on despite some early radio issues in the competitive E3 class.

“The car is running great, everything is fine, everything is on plan except for that little mix-up, but we’re over that,” said Bob Carter, team manager for Team Neth Racing Works. “(Our driver) can hear us but we can’t hear her. We’re going to try fix it during the next pit.”

ESBrett Becker

Dan McKeever brought his team from the Ford Performance Racing School at Utah Motorsports Campus to run the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The school’s instructors are behind the wheel at Thunderhill Raceway Park, while the school’s salespeople and mechanics are serving as pit crew.

“It is absolutely for fun first, but I can promise you if you interview any of our folks, we’re here to win,” McKeever said.

ESR Brett Becker

Despite a one-minute penalty for a minor fuel spill in the pits, Eastern/Turn 3 Motorsports is holding a one-lap lead in the ESR class.

“We’re sort of biding our time, being smart out there and trying to stay clean in traffic,” said Brian Halahan, team manager.

The team is running for the first time at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and was the fastest qualifier on Friday.

GT ChallengeBrett Becker

Running solo in the GT Challenge class, Jester & Babbitt Motorsports in the Audi R8 LMS GT4 turned a top lap time of 1:53.722 on the 3-mile course. The team was in seventh overall at the three-hour mark.

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Image courtesy of Brett Becker