From left: Dawn Stowers presents Stephen Pearce with his first-place trophy for the Honda Challenge 1 race during Santa’s Toy Run at Road Atlanta, with Melinda Ball and Rob Oxford, who took second.

The cold winter chill in the air had the Honda motors running strong — and most of the racers staying warm at home. For Honda Challenge 1, we had Rob Oxford and Stephen Pearce vying for the win in their final battle of the year. Stephen Pearce had a solid lead in the season points, so there was little pressure between the two, but both were determined to win. For Honda Challenge 2, we had Rob Paszkiewicz and Karl Kondor. There were no season points on the line, so both drivers focused on one thing: the track record.

After qualifying, the H1 duo were scratching their heads as they observed the race grid sheet and noticed just how fast those little H2 Honda motors were, and how fast their pilots were driving them. We knew the Honda show today belonged to Rob Paszkiewicz and Karl Kondor, and all eyes were on them, because in qualifying, both drivers were faster than the track record by 1 to 1.5 seconds, which had been held by John Reamer for seven years. As the green flag dropped Rob Paszkiewicz got the lead, with Karl Kondor right on his rear bumper. After 16 laps of hard racing by these two, the checkered flag came out with Rob Paszkiewicz in first place, and Karl Kondor in second place, with only 4 seconds separating them. The best part is Karl Kondor and Rob Paszkiewicz broke the seven-year standing record. The new H2 track record now belongs to Rob Paszkiewicz at a blistering 1:39.092.

In H1, Stephen Pearce got the jump on Rob Oxford, and the two raced nose to tail for the first three laps. There was a noise in Rob Oxford’s car, which was getting slightly louder each lap and Stephen Pearce began to put some distance between himself and Oxford. As Oxford hit the apex at Turn 12, the noise turned into a clunk and his rear differential came apart, causing him to pull off track just before Turn 1. His day was done. Stephen Pearce pushed on and finished the race in first place.



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