National Auto Sport Association
  After The Rain: 25 Hours of Thunderhill Endurance Race Recap  

Rainbow over Eagle's Nest

The United States Air Force 25 Hours of Thunderhill concluded at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 7, 2003. The event saw 77 teams register and 73 making the call to the grid on Saturday morning. The race began after a flyover by two Air Force F-15 fighters during the National Anthem and two pace laps led by an Air Force Camaro “chase car” and a Hummvee outfitted with a .50-caliber machine gun.

Despite nearly dry conditions at the start of the race, the weather soon deteriorated into a downpour along with high winds and cold temperatures. Some off-course excursions dragged mud and debris on to the course, which made the effort even more challenging as night fell. As the night went on, the battle for the overall lead boiled down to the three-car juggernaut composed of the #64 and #26 Porsche GT3’s of Glenn Yee Motorsports and the #74 Flying Lizard Motorsports GT3. The Car and Driver Caterham kept the pressure on the Porsches, but the straight-line speed of the GT3’s was nearly impossible to overcome and the Porsches pulled further ahead as dawn approached. Nearly every class saw close races as the event continued and teams struggled to overcome both physical and mechanical fatigue to keep near the top of the order.

When dawn broke, the Glenn Yee cars had pulled out to a further lead ahead of the Flying Lizard entry and the finishing order began to become clearer in all of the classes. The racers drove on through a beautiful sunny morning to continue the charge to the end of the longest endurance auto race in North America. As the checkered flag flew, the first and second place cars crossed the finish side by side with nearly 50 cars following them to the finish. The winners had completed over 620 laps in 25 hours, which is more laps than most racers will complete in an entire season. Many of the finishing positions were decided by matters of minutes or even seconds after racing for over a day in challenging and extreme conditions.

The success of the event has ensured that it will return next year for another running. NASA would like to thank all of the event sponsors including the United States Air Force, Toyo Tires, Cruise America, Sampson Racing Communications, 300 Degrees, MaxStream Clif Bar, Team 19, GoGoGear.com, Speedtoys.com, Monster Energy and Wheels America for their generous support and also thank all of the staff and support crews that made the event possible.

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