The weather forecast for the March weekend at Road Atlanta was supposed to be cloudy and 50 degrees. Although, while sitting on the grid for qualifying, it began to sleet, and ambient temperatures dropped quickly. The number of racers in Thunder qualifying was astounding, and when the green flag waved it was difficult to find space for a fast lap. Scott Oliver qualified first of seven cars in ST3, and all of us were within 5 seconds of one another.
The weather improved for the race, which included veterans Michael Moore, Jim Pantas, and King Shaw. Frank Acosta, Matt Bohall, Freddy Assuncao, and Matt Ford rounded out the field.
When the green flag waved, Oliver was able to pass a couple of cars, but Acosta and Moore had the same success. Other competitors were held back due to the chaos of the start and cars jockeying for positon. A Spec Iron Mustang flipped end over end in Turn 5 after striking the tire barrier and double-yellow flags slowed the field. Turner Hilliard, a Spec E46 driver did an amazing job avoiding the Mustang as it careened in front of him. The driver was OK, but the safety crew went to work removing the wreckage while the timed race was dwindling away.
The green flag waved 20 minutes later and racing was fierce. A few cars spun wildly in front of Oliver and luckily there was no contact while the driver fought to control the skid. Acosta and Moore were battling it out behind Oliver. Moore is a fast driver and even better in the rain, so Oliver was constantly watching his mirrors.
On the final lap, a Thunder Roadster was caught in the middle of a three-wide battle in Turn 10b with two Super Unlimited cars. The Thunder Roadster and a Super Unlimited Corvette made contact, causing complete carnage. The Thunder Roadster crashed into the concrete bridge in Turn 11, and parts scattered onto the track.
A loose wheel and suspension parts were not visible to the next speeding pack of race cars. Sandro Espinosa struck the loose wheel, and his Spec E46 and launched into the air after ripping off the front fascia. A Spec Iron Mustang was forced into the grass while cars tried to avoid the debris on the track. Unfortunately, the Mustang spun out of control and made hard contact with the tire barrier in Turn 12. The checkered flag waved and Oliver was able to come away with the win, with Acosta in second and Moore in third.
Frank Acosta took the win on Sunday, with Oliver in second and Moore in third.