USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill Coverage (by Martin Klepper)
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By Martin Klepper []

The USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the longest road race in North America. The race was far from smooth. There were several full course throughout the race for various on track incidents and a 30 minute red flag overnight for a Factory Five Cobra that dropped its fuel cell on track and caught fire in Turn 2. The driver wasn't hurt but it was the second major incident of the weekend. The other being the Kiwi Racing Honda Civic that rolled between turns 7 and 8 during Friday afternoon practice. The driver was airlifted to a local hospital with a severe concussion, kept overnight for observation, and was released Saturday morning. The other major twist to the race was the rash of penalties being handed out from the race officials. The two major ones being 15 cars given penalties at once for passing under the yellow flag and a 10 minute penalty for the G22/TruSpeed Porsche for coming too close to a safety vehicle while under yellow flag conditions. All that plus four full course cautions that broke up the racing into segments that threw curveballs at many teams' strategies. It was an especially great race for Mazda cars: the manufacturer took four of the five class wins and ten of the possible eighteen podium places.

The overall and ES class win was all two-time returning winning Mercer Motorsports from the green flag. The team was on a mission to secure the hat trick. Both G22/TruSpeed and World Speed Motorsport gave chase but Mercer was not to be denied their record setting victory. The battle for second between G22/TruSpeed and World Speed Motorsport lasted for most of the race. The two teams were rarely more than a handful of laps apart. Damage to the World Speed Motorsport BWM at damn saw them drop to third behind the No.161 Team Stammer Inc./Bavarian Performance BMW.
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