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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
25175Quick, what's the longest non-rally car race that's held on a racetrack? Grand-Am racing's 24 hours of Daytona? Germany's ADAC 24 Hours of the Nürburgring that saw the Lexus LFA in action before the debut of its final production version? France's vaunted 24 Hours of Le Mans? Or its bastard cousin race for clunkers 24 Hours of LeMons? Nope. The longest automobile race in the United States is the <A HREF="http://www.nasa25hour.com/">25 Hours of Thunderhill</A>, held at its <A HREF="http://www.thunderhill.com/html/location.html">namesake racetrack</A> in <A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willows,_California">Willows, California</A> under the auspices of NASA (no, not the space agency that sends rockets into the stratosphere and beyond, but the <A HREF="http://www.nasaproracing.com/">National Auto Sport Association</A>).

The 2009 edition of this race, which starts on Saturday 5 December at 11 AM (and, obviously, concludes on Sunday 6 December at 12 Noon), will feature a Lexus IS 300 among the competitors, the Nickel Motorsports Grip Industries racer bearing the number 20. If Nickel Motorsports rings a bell with you, that's because they were the subject of a my.IS Front Page story back in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f47/nickel-motorsports-is300-compete-u-s-touring-car-championship-307059/">September 2006</A>. Team owner and driver Tim Nickel (who also happens to be my.IS member wsracer) will be joined by Alex Ratcliffe (also a my.IS member under the Kingrat screen name and a <A HREF="http://www.world-challenge.com/news/story.php?ID=946">SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series</A> competitor in a Lexus IS 300), Beau Borders and, possibly, John Klusendorff (we say this because John is mentioned in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f96/lexus-is300-compete-25hrs-thunderhill-401771/#post6049628">the my.IS thread that informed us of this story</A> but does not appear in <A HREF="http://www.nasa25hour.com/2009/entrants/2009-nasa-25-hour-driver-list.html">the official 2009 25 Hours of Thunderhill Drivers List</A>).

Another curious discrepancy is that Tim informs us that the #20 IS 300 "will be competing in the E0 class against an Army of BMWs", while the official <A HREF="http://www.nasa25hour.com/2009/entrants/2009-nasa-25-hour.html">2009 NASA 25 Hour Competitor List</A> places it in E1 against Mazda sports cars and a handful of Hondas and Acuras. Sounds to this author like a clerical error on the part of whoever put that "official list" together.

One important and poignant bit of information worth mentioning is that the Nickel Motorsports team will be conducting an awareness campaign for the Race To Cure Lymphoma, as Tim was just diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (cancer of the esophogus). We fervently hope and pray that we'll soon be writing about Tim as cancer-surviving motorsports competitor, much like fellow Lexus racer <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/search.aspx?q=bacal&x=18&y=7">Joe Bacal and his exploits at Baja in a Lexus LX 570</A>.

Last year, <A HREF="http://jalopnik.com/5104537/the-nasa-25-hours-of-thunderhill-overload-gallery">Jalopnik</A> and <A HREF="http://www.autoblog.com/tag/25+hours+of+thunderhill/">Autoblog</A> both wrote extensively about the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, but, as of this writing, neither site seems to be particularly inclined to do so for 2009. Tim Nickel informs us, however, that the Versus Television Network (formerly the Outdoor Life Network) is considering a tape-delayed special of at least an hour's duration for January 2010.

Here's wishing the best of luck to Tim, Alex and the entire Nickel Motorsports Grip Industries on the 2009 edition of the longest automobile race in the United States. May you finish on the podium!
 

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Thanks Guys,

Let me give you a race recap.. The team and car were both awesome. We ended up being placed in the E1 class against a ton of Mazdas and miscellaneous others. The weekend started out well during Friday's practice and as Qualifying came to a close later Friday night our W55 tranny decided it didn't want to co-operate with us.. Being a smaller and underfunded team we didn't have a spare with us. So we pulled the car in and began removing the old W55. Two guys from the team decided to go into Sacramento about an hour and a half away, stay the night and pick up an new transmission in the morning. With a new transmission in hand the crew began the trip back to Thunderhill to try and make the start. As the new transmision was 8 miles away, we had a little problem with the parts vehicle..Yes when it rains it pours.. We got the transmission back to the track and began the install.. In about 35degree weather, the crew got the transmission back in and we started the race from pit lane about 45minutes behind. The car ran flawless through the first driver stints and we were making up ground.. All the drivers were excited about the possibilities of a podium finish. As we started the second stints it was decided each driver would do 2 hours in the car. Alex Ratcliffe was driving the first double stint as night fell. He was turning laps in the dark faster than what we qualified and had us up to 10th place in class just 8 laps behing 9th and 8th place. And just as we were ready to swap Alex with Koni Challenge driver, Beau Borders the right front hub decided to call it a night. A frantic search of the parking lot..Yes, that's right, we searched the parking lot..Found no other spares and it was determined we would call it a night and Shoot for the 2010 25hrs.

It was a total team effort and I am really proud how everyone came together for this event. The good news is, I am motivated to stay healthy and we have hopes of running a new IS and the Old IS in next year's race.. Stay tuned for that one..
 

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Sorry to hear Tim. Hope you are doing well otherwise. Next time we should host a meet at the track, then you will have plenty of spares to chose from. haha
 

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Sorry to hear Tim. Hope you are doing well otherwise. Next time we should host a meet at the track, then you will have plenty of spares to chose from. haha
Hahha...seriously! We should have a big IS300 meet out there to watch and support your race.

I could have brought my spare W55 even!

How did the first W55 fail?

Great effort, though.
 
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