The 2020 race season has come to an end and there was a huge crowd of HPDE, TT drivers and racers at Road Atlanta for Santa’s Toy Run, so much that we had to use both paddocks to accommodate everyone. Cold was in the air, but the sun provided warmth to the track, the perfect combination for speed and fun.
Qualifying thinned out the cars and everyone was able to set good lap time, and a few had personal best. We started the race in H1 with Rob Oxford on pole, followed by Daniel Madamba, Jeffrey Bankston, Andrew Hicks then Michael Kramer. There was less than 1 second between Oxford, Madamba, Bankston and Hicks, so this was going to be good. Kramer missed qualifying, so he had to start in the back, but he already had his Championship for H2 in the books.
When the green flag dropped, everyone got a good jump toward Turn 1, with Madamba taking the lead. Oxford was right on his tail as they turned in, then Bankston tried to dive in underneath but couldn’t make it stick. Bankston missed a shift, allowing Hicks to pass him going up the hill to Turn 2. Kramer was right on the rear bumper of Bankston going up the hill. They run nose to tail through Turn 3 and all the way through the Esses. As Madamba and Oxford approached Turn 6, here comes Bankston on the inside, this time making the pass stick and overtaking Oxford and Madamba to take the lead.
Oxford took advantage of the three-wide and slipped past Madamba, going through Turn 7. Halfway down the back straight Madamba motored by Oxford to regain second. Bankston started to set a small gap on the rest of the field until lap three, when the double-yellow come out, which bunched everyone up again, including the two other waves behind Honda Challenge.
After three laps of double-yellow, the race began … again. Bankston had a firm lead with four or five cars between the rest of the field, but Madamba, Oxford and Hicks were all together, with Kramer not far behind them. With two laps to go, Madamba and Oxford were braking for Turn 10a and an American Iron car slipped by on the inside, slowing them all down, but Oxford was able to get back on the gas sooner making a pass on Madamba in the process. The white flag came out and while Bankston was long gone, Oxford was able to hold off Madamba at checkers with Hicks only a second or two behind.
2020 regional champions for H1 are Rob Oxford in first, Daniel Madamba in second, and Jeffrey Bankston third. Regional champions for H2 are Michael Kramer in first, Team Moar Door (Shane and Melissa Lovely) in second and Karl Kondor in third. Kondor set a new track record in H2 at Carolina Motorsports Park this year and Oxford set a new track record in H1 at CMP. The new repave of that track made all the difference in the world.
On behalf of all Southeast Honda Challenge racers, we would like to thank NASA for putting on the series, Jim and Julie Pantas for making the Southeast Region a great place to race, all the corner workers who keep us safe on track and, last, but not least, Toyo and Hawk for their support and contingencies for 2020! We look forward to another great year and continued support for 2021.