The first weekend of December brought us to The 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the final event of the 2022 Season and the chance to finish a dream season with an unheard of achievement in NASA. Just as at Nationals, Palomar Racing was no longer unknown, we were again the team to beat in class E2.
The cars proved fast off the trailer, but just before qualifying something was wrong with the 24’s transmission. After a transmission swap, Team Palomar took the pole for class E2. The race started in the rain, the track was wet, traction was low and visibility even lower, tricky doesn’t effectively describe the conditions as Nik and Matt began the race. At the end of the epic first stint by Matt and Nik, the 24 was in the lead by 2 laps with the 25 second in class. Everything was going per plan until Matt comes in to turn over the car to Elliot after 4 hours in the car, the transmission won’t reengage. Bimmerspeed repaired the car, but the 24 was effectively out of contention almost 40 laps down. The race continued through the night until fog brought out the red flag. Amazingly, the 25 was on the lead lap in 2nd place behind Moorewood.
After a 4-hour delay for fog, the race went green again at 9:30AM. The 25 restarted but the engine was down on power. Did we have have the pace with our drivers to possibly keep 2nd place? Fittingly Matt and Nik were in the cars at the end, what a finish it would be, forever to be known as “The Push”. Nik was tasked with pushing Matt to the checkered flag for the last hour. It almost worked, but a couple laps before the checkered flag the 73 car passed us for 2nd place. The Palomar cars both finished and the heroic effort by the team will be remembered by all who were there. The course workers were cheering us on from their flag stations, the PA announcer was without words as he described the push from the team cars, even the Moorewood team was on the wall cheering us on even as they were still chasing us for 2nd place. In the end, the motor in the 25 didn’t have enough left to even make it to pit road, it was pushed onto the pit lane by the 24. After er 560 grueling laps the 25 had raced for 1680 miles and the 24 had gone for 1584 miles. Did we win, no, but we had given it everything we had. NASA and our competitors will forever remember we were there. How prophetic was our tag line on the shirts we made for the race, “25 Hours, 2 cars, 1 team”.
What a year by the Palomar Racing Team, it will be fun to see what comes next.
Thank you to Bimmerworld, Apex Wheels, Red Line Oil, Toyo Tires, AGA Tools, StopTech, MCS, Swift Springs, and Rugged Radios amongst others for all your support.