With nearly a quarter of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance in the books, Crowdstrike by Riley continues to widen its lead Saturday heading into nightfall.
The ESR team pulled the car off track early in the race to install a muffler to comply with Thunderhill Raceway’s sound requirements and it hasn’t looked back. Crowdstrike built a 22-lap lead over Three Thieves Racing that is running an Audi R8.
The endurance race continues to go to plan, but Crowdstrike team owner Bill Riley said it’s a long race and a lot can change.
“Right now everything is going right. It’s almost going too right and that’s when you start thinking about all the things that could go wrong,” Riley said, adding that they are keeping an eye on the brakes and exhaust for possible cracking, but Riley doesn’t expect any of those issues.
“The cold weather is definitely cooling down the exhaust, so hopefully it won’t get a crack and hopefully those slower speeds will be helping the axles out,” Riley said. “Hopefully in this kind of weather, we don’t go off the track or get in a wreck, we’ll be helping our cars out longevity-wise.”
The pace on the track has been improving as the light rain subsided, giving drivers a respite before racing in the dark for the next 14 hours. The fastest cars will complete nearly 600 laps on the 3-mile track before it ends at noon Sunday.
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Here’s an update on where the classes stand as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
What a difference three hours can make. Tazio Ottis Racing was down by four laps early to Dig Motorsports but had built up a three-lap class lead going into the night. Tazio’s best lap was 2:24.708, about 10 seconds than faster than Dig Motorsports, but still nowhere near a dry pace.
Honda Racing THRW1 crew chief Andy Hollis was as surprised as anyone that the two cars the team has been campaigning were in the top five overall six hours into 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“We’re just happy to be one and two in class at this point and we’ll see where it all shakes out at the end of the race,” Hollis said. “We’re doing really well, but we’ve been leading before and then had disaster strike.”
He credits the selection of the Bridgestone street tire as well as the drivers for keeping the pedal down.
“It just shows, if you have a pretty much stock type car and in the rain, it’s the great equalizer as they always say,” Hollis said.
The race in E2 is shaping up to be the race of the race. Team Palomar Racing Thunder No. 24 had the E2 lead at the three-hour mark, but because of a transmission failure, had dropped to last in class by the six-hour interval, more than 30 laps down. Sister car Team Palomar Racing Thunder was running in third at the six-hour mark with Team Legacy Motorworks in second and Team MooreWood Creative now in first place, with a three-lap lead over second. A seasoned team with talented drivers, Team MooreWood Creative also was running in fourth overall by the end of hour six.
At the three-hour mark, the No. 15 Lesher Motorsports Miata was one lap up on its sister car, the No. 54 Lesher Motorsports car. By hour six, Lesher had improved its position and was seven laps up on the No. 54 car and running seventh overall, ahead of some E2 and E1 cars. The long, dark night will test the mettle of the team and whether it can remain in the top 10 overall and hold its lead in the competitive E3 class.
The lone electric vehicle at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance, Entropy Racing is ahead of the lap count the team set in 2021, the first year competing in the endurance race. The car has been remarkably consistent, averaging sub-2:50-minute lap times on the Thunderhill track.
Suffering through electrical troubles in its SEBECO NP01-EVO after just six laps, Team Ageless Bio Racing returned to competition and has begun the long haul toward the finish. As long as this race is, it’s not impossible for the team to salvage a top-finish, and maybe higher.
Since the three-hour mark, Three Thieves Racing has been improving its position, and by hour six, it had advanced from sixth overall to second overall. Fittingly, they were turning the second-fastest lap times on the track at the six-hour mark, but not close enough to challenge the overall leader Crowdstrike by Riley, which was 22 laps farther ahead than Three Thieves Racing.
Team Kleen Blast/Davids Racing Products has maintained its lead in the GT class over Modified Racing, a sister car. At the six-hour mark, Kleen Blast/Davids Racing Products was up by 20 laps over Modified Racing. Because of the wet conditions, neither of these stock car chassis has been able to use all the horsepower they produce.