A dozen Thunder Roadsters towed south to Daytona to run the same course as the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The road course is 3.56 miles long with 31 degrees of banking in the speedway turns.
Drafting was the order of the day because these race cars gain roughly 1,500 rpm in the draft. As a result, finding partners to draft with became very important. Driving the Liberty Tire Recycling Thunder Roadster, Mike Brooks took pole position on Saturday with a time of 2:16.445, followed by Ralph Nolan and Darrel Hamilton .064 and .079 seconds behind, respectively. Randy Suddreth started fourth on the grid followed by Kevin Mewborn, Jim Fluharty, Darrel Krentz, and Sonny Tu, all in the 2:19s. Rounding out the field were Jeff Williams, Lee Barnard, Tim Sosebee, and Jim Brannon driving the Free Wheeling Honda Thunder Roadster.
Brooks started on pole and immediately had problems when a return spring came off his carburetor causing a couple of spins. After dropping way back, Brooks recovered nicely and registered the fast lap of the race at 2:14.201, a full second quicker than Nolan in the Creamsicle Special. Up front, Nolan got away from Hamilton and stretched his lead for the remainder of the race, finishing 25 seconds ahead of Suddreth, the largest margin of victory this year.
On Sunday, 11 Thunder Roadsters answered the call, with Mike Brooks again on the pole. Nolan chose not to defend Saturday’s win because of a potential engine problem, and loaded up early.
On the pace lap, Brooks retired because of a mechanical problem, which meant Suddreth actually started on the pole with Hamilton outside. An accident from another class on the first lap bunched up the Thunder Roadsters behind the other classes that had started in front of them. The race was restarted on the next lap with Suddreth getting a great jump on the others. Because they were among the other-class cars, traffic was an issue and many Thunder Roadsters were separated from the others.
Hamilton pursued Suddreth for rest of the race, finally catching him the lap before the white and went on to win the race by less than 2 seconds. Following Suddreth across the finish line were Krentz and Mewborn, who had the fast lap of Sunday’s race with a 2:16.709 followed by Hamilton and Krentz, both less than one tenth of a second slower.