The NASA Southeast Thunder Roadsters arrived at Roebling Road for a test and tune the Friday morning before the Savannah Sizzler at Roebling Road Raceway. Friday evening the group gathered in the paddock for a taste of Savannah with a Low Country boil. A great time of food, fun and fellowship.
Saturday morning dawned clear and pleasant with low humidity, a chamber of commerce day. Qualifying was close as usual with the top five of the 14 Thunder Roadsters registered within one second of one another. Randy Suddreth was on pole with Brandon Pantas second, Darrel Hamilton third, Mike Rea fourth and Carl Eckert fifth.
Saturday afternoon’s race is one for the record books. There were at least six different leaders. Suddreth, Hamilton, Pantas, Rea, Eckert swapped the lead numerous times. Whoever was leading at Turn 8 entering the front stretch was more than likely not leading by Turn 1. The draft was working to perfection. On lap five, Hamilton was leading out of Turn 8 and by Turn 1 he was running fourth with Suddreth, Eckert and Rea all going by.
On lap 14 Eckert spun in Turn 5 while leading and lost the lead pack. The final turn of the last lap there were 5 Thunder Roadsters battling for the lead. Brad Daugherty had joined Rea, Suddreth, Hamilton and Pantas. In front of the Roadsters were four Spec E30s also battling for position and trying to stay on the lead lap. It was a classic test of race skill and good driving. Everyone made it through with no body contact and no one going off. Brad Daugherty picked the fastest lane and crossed the finish line .04 seconds ahead of Mike Rea. Suddreth rounded out the podium in third with Hamilton fourth and Pantas fifth. After 16 hard-fought laps, the top five were all within a half second of each other. Amateur road racing just doesn’t get any better!
Sunday’s qualifying saw the fastest laps of the weekend, with Suddreth back on pole followed by Hamilton, Eckert, Daugherty and Rea. By race time it was cloudy and threatening rain. The Thunder Roadsters started the last of three waves and were in traffic almost immediately, and the group got spread out during the 20 lapper. Randy Suddreth won with Hamilton second, Daugherty in third, Rea in fourth and Kevin Mewborn in fifth.