Last year, KD Motorsports came to Thunderhill and walked away with the E2 win. It didn’t have the pace of its nearest competitor Team RDR Racing, which had entered “Kermit,” a green Mazda RX-8. This year, KD Motorsports didn’t have the pace of RDR’s new RX-8, which was about 4 seconds a lap quicker.
RDR started from pole and held the lead Saturday afternoon till 6 p.m. At that point, KD Motorsports took over the lead and began inching away.
At issue was the RX-8’s fuel consumption and fueling rules, which allow the team to run about 50 minutes on the 10 gallons of fuel they’re allowed to add during stops. KD could run longer, so it ended up being a contest of pace versus pit-stop intervals. In the end, Team RDR took second. Team Good Times Racing came in third, despite completing just three laps in the three-car E2 class.
“First, off the car was brilliant. As always, the crew did an amazing job,” said driver Jeremy Barnes. “The Hoosier Tires were terrific. We fought balance all race long, though. It just appeared that we didn’t have much grip. The car was great on fresh tires, and the more the tires wore, the less and less grip we got. Lots of power from the rotary engine, though. There’s no question this is a quicker car in a straight line than “Kermit” was. Unfortunately, it’s just that Achilles’ Heel that we’ve had. We just have to stop more frequently than they do and we just have to go a lot quicker than they can, rather than just a bit quicker.”
Last year, KD Motorsports’ race went flawlessly according to driver and team owner Kevin Doyle. This year, the car finished the race with nary a scratch, but the team had its hands full with mechanical issues throughout the race.
“We suffered a transmission failure. We were down to fourth gear all night and toward the end,” said crew chief Dave Stenner. “We also suffered problems with an electrical cutoff switch that would randomly cut the car off while we were driving, so that was a real challenge to manage. But I think the real key to the success in the second year was not necessarily the speed, which was there, but the ability to carry that speed into the nighttime. We ended up putting in our very fastest laps during the evening sessions.
“Everyone’s over the moon, really,” he added, “because it’s such an effort that goes into creating the car, getting down here, setting up for the event and all of that, and it was really kind of special.”