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PDQ Motorsports Civic wins the E2 class at the 2004 25 Hours of Thunderhill
 Date: December 10, 2004 10:59
 Submitted by:  JeffX
 Source: Jeff Lepper
 Credibility Rating: Not Specified

Tracy , CA : PDQ Motorsports (formerly RNR Racing) wins the E2 class at the 2004 25 Hours of Thunderhill

(Click here for race-day pictures)

PDQ Motorsports fielded our H4 Honda Challenge Civic coupe in the 2004 25 Hours of Thunderhill. While no strangers to endurance racing, the team has been concentrating on the Honda Challenge sprint races the last two seasons.

In 2002, the team took the NASA NorCal E2 Championship capping it off with a class win (E2) and 2 nd overall finish in the 12 Hours of Thunderhill. In 2003, the team won the NASA NorCal Honda Challenge H4 title. The team did compete in the 2003 25 Hours of Thunderhill but an hour 23 engine swap left us disappointed in our finish. With a 2004 2nd place win in the NASA NorCal Honda Challenge H4 championship under our belt we got ready for the 2004 25 Hour. It was with high hopes that we approached this year’s event.

The team is fortunate to have sponsorship from key players in the performance car market.

Auto Innovations, ACT, Cobalt Friction, Griffin Motorwerke, PDQ Motorsports, Rota Wheel and Toyo Tires. We proudly use the products and display the decals of these great companies. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to succeed.

Preparation is key in any event that tests a car’s durability. The NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill, presented by the United States Air Force, tests a car to its limits and beyond. The car was completely worked through with a fresh engine installation prepared by Griffin Motorwerke. The transmission was checked and an ACT HD clutch and Streetlite XACT flywheel was called into duty. Suspension travel and alignment was checked and double checked at Auto Innovations. Toyo RA-1 tires were mounted and balanced onto Rota Wheels 15”X7” Slipstream wheels by Auto Innovations as well. Several sets of Cobalt Friction pads supplied by PDQ Motorsports were bedded in for the event.

It was at the track on the Friday test day that the team started to gel. Although most of the team were returning members of our endurance effort, there were to be several new members. The team practiced driving, driver changes, fueling and tire changes. We also had a meeting where strategy and rules were discussed. Satisfied that we could work well as a team, we went out for a pre-race dinner of pizza and beer. Our driver lineup consisted of: Mike Davirro, Roger Foo, Bill Hagerty, Jeff Lepper, Tom Lepper Derek Ramsey and Mike Quan, the team owner. Our crew consisted of: Bill Beverly, Orlando Cagatao, Jimmy Chilcot, Shawn Hughes, Robyn Lepper, Lisa Lepper, Emmett McKnight, Barrett Mitchell, Humberto Ortiz, Mike Ponce, Garrett Weldy & Pat Wong.

Saturday, race day, started early for us. We did a few last minute things to the Civic and were about to get the car to pregrid when our friends from GOTO Racing placed a ‘taxi’ sign on the car. Our team is all about having fun so we immediately adopted the sign. We left the sign on the car in pregrid only removing it for the race. We used it in the pits to transform our pit into a ‘taxi stand’. It magically found its way back onto the car after the race.

After an awe inspiring display by the Air Force, who came back to sponsor the event again, the race started. We started in 7th place out of the 23 strong E2 field because of the strong qualifying run by Tom Lepper. Everything was looking good until the third stint, which was being driven by Derek Ramsey. He radioed in that a strange noise was coming from the right rear. It turns out that the rear hub bearing failed even though new bearings were installed in the car for the race. An emergency visit to the paddock resulted in us slipping to 18 th place. While I am pleased that we were able to replace the hub and four tires in less than nine minutes, I know that we could have been faster if we had time to assemble the parts and tools before the car arrived!

Now near the back of our class, we started hunting down those in front of us. Excellent driving and precision pit stops allowed us to move up through the field. All of drivers gave their best efforts of driving quickly, consistently and saving the car. One of the mostimportant stops saw us going back into the paddock again. This time it was a planned stop. We did a driver change, front pads, four tires and checked fluids in four minutes. (See, I told you my guys were good!) Don’t worry, fuel was done in the pits.

The pre-dawn hours found us in 3rd place trying hard with a car that was hurting. A bad call on my part left the front pads on one stop too many. This resulted in warped rotors for the rest of the race. A miscue in the pits, which I blame on sleep deprivation, meant that we forgot to add oil at one of the stops. The engine went into a safe mode which moved the fuel cut down to 6500rpm instead of the 7400rpm where it normally is. Poor Mike Davirro had to drive the car in that condition in the low light conditions. Even though the car was fighting him, he brought it back in 2nd place. Luckily, the next driver, Tom Lepper, didn’t have to deal with the engine problems after we added oil! Tom got into the car and immediately started closing in on 1st place. By the time Jeff, the next driver, gave the car to our finisher, Bill, we just needed to keep rolling for 20 minutes to secure our victory. Because we knew the lap times, we calculated that it would be numerically impossible for anyone to catch us if we just kept running. Run we did with Bill turning in fast times just ‘cruising’ around. We were able to take the checkered with our friends, GOTO Racing, right by our side.

After the race, with the ‘taxi’ parked in the pits waiting for the impound inspection, I couldn’t believe the race results. Months of planning and sacrifice had paid off. The team had functioned as a well oiled machine. We had overcome unfortunate mechanicals. I sat on the pit wall and tried to savor the moment when…. an ice cold cooler was dumped on me by Jeff and Barrett!! We couldn’t stop laughing and smiling.

My personal thanks go out to all who helped with this year’s team. I told you before that every one of you is important and everything you do makes a difference. (A special thanks to those not often thought about or appreciated, by those who don’t race, are the team moms. Robyn & Lisa made sure we ate & drank. They prepared us hot food!) I told you that I would put you up against anyone in the field. You all proved me right. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Mike Quan, Team Owner, PDQ Motorsports H4/E2 Civic

Last edited by JeffX on December 10, 2004 11:04

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