Car #: 51
Year : 1990 Posts: 106
Iím finally recovered enough to share some info about my experience at last weekendís 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Itís amazing how busy everyone stays for the entire 4 days of the event, and how long it takes to recover from it.
This year I drove a Mazda MX-5 Cup car in the E1 class, in a car owned by my friend CJ Wilson (Texas Rangers pitcher), and prepared & maintained by MER. The other drivers were CJ, F2000 driver David Cheng, and drifter/World Challenge racer/Russell driving instructor/etc. Tyler McQuarrie. Along with MER we formed a great team, because each contributed something unique & valuable.
As you know by now the race was run in mixed conditions, with plenty of rain. Iíd never raced in the rain at night before, and I got plenty of it in this race. Because of better fuel mileage in the rain and several yellows, my first stint lasted for 5 hours, all at night and in the rain. The first two hours of this was on slicks. Fun! My second stint was a couple hours on Sunday morning while the track went from wet to nearly dry.
We spent most of the race chasing the #01 AMG teamís MX-5 car. To be honest they had pace on us most of the way, as we struggled with our setup. But we did fewer stops by toughing it out on slicks in the rain, and stayed close enough to take the lead from them at times. With about 4 hours left in the race the #01 car retired as a result of contact (I think). From there we cruised home with an eventual 45 lap lead. We won!! It was a great feeling to hand the car over to CJ with the win in the bag.
It was great to work with a legend like Jason Saini, ďJulesĒ and the rest of the MER crew. Speaking of legends, I met Jim Daniels!
The experience of winning this race was a great ending to a fantastic season for me. Huge thanks to CJ for inviting me to join the team, to our other drivers for staying fast & consistent in all conditions, to MER, and to my dad Bill & brother Duane for their non-stop support. Another key person on our team was Bobby Oergel, owner of PR1 Motorsports, who runs teams in Grand Am and ALMS. Bobby stepped in at the last minute and ran our teamís strategy & radios, without sleeping. No way we couldíve stayed focused & sane enough to win without him.
Although I wasn't racing against the SM's in the E3 class, I was paying attention because I knew almost all of them. I was really happy that the Honda did not win, and everyone else I talked to agreed. Congrats Team Miatacage!
For those of you that have not done this race, you donít know what youíre missing.
-------------------- 2010 SCCA Regional Driver of the Year 2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill E1 Class winner, MX-5 Cup
Congratulations Darin to you and your team! Glad our cars meeting in the middle of the night didn't result in a DNF for either team! I concur no one should miss this event...hard work but extremely rewarding
"Happy birthday, I didn't get you a present...Oh, mom got you one? Well, that's from me then too, unless it's shitty." 9:52 AM Sep 14th, 2009 via web http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays