The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Western Endurance Racing Championship (WERC) held Round 5 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Drivers punished their brakes in the midst of a dark three hour on-track battle.
Six different classes do battle simultaneously in the WERC series, with vehicles spanning from everyday Miatas (E3 Class) to purpose built prototypes (ESR Class). Besides racing each other, the challenge in the series is to race the environment. As the sun set, darkness enveloped Buttonwillow Raceway and having the right lights or good night vision made all the difference. When the checker flag dropped here is all how it all shook out.
Taking the overall win, and the ESR class win, by a solid lap, was the number 88 prototype of Team Green Alternative Motorsports.
After having a headlamp switch failure during the race and going four wheels off in the dark at the corner, ironically named "Sunrise," was the number 66 Team Super Truck sponsored by Lynam Industries Inc. and Jagermeister.
Earning third in ES was the number 6 NASCAR style Monte Carlo of Team Ameheiter Bros. sponsored by IDECO.
Finishing third overall and winning the E0 Class was team Road Shagger Racing sponsored by Simply Vegas Real Estate in their BMW.
Taking second in E0 was the number 32 BMW of Team WolfKatz sponsored by Bullet Performance.
Earning the third place spot in E0 was the number 31 BMW of Team Bimmerworld.
Winning E1 was the number 38 BMW of Team TB sponsored by CCI.
Earning second in E1 was team Speedy Motorsports in their Honda Civic.
Picking up the third spot in the E1 class was Team BAMF Racing in their number 94 RX-7.
After numerous enduros where Team Lack of Focus replaced numerous axles, the team finally swapped out some stock Ford parts for some Mazda components (hey, Ford still owns a percentage of Mazda so it's all good). With the change they were able to finish the race without an axle failure and with that feat won the E2 class.
Setting the fastest lap of their class and winning E3 (the largest class of the WERC series) was the number 05 Mazda Miata of Team 949 Racing.
Finishing second, after a spectacular spark show while cording a tire at night, was team RJ Racing in their number 23 Mazda Miata sponsored by Weekend-Racer.com.
Taking the final podium spot in E3 (thus making the entire podium a Mazdafest) was Team Sampson Racing Communications. In the final laps of the race Team Sampson had an epic battle with Team Krider/Kramer Racing (fourth place) in the number 33 Hoosier Tire sponsored Nissan Sentra SE-R. The Miata and the SE-R took turns swapping positions, driving sideways, hitting the curbing and driving on two wheels and if that wasn't enough they put four wheels off (to create a dust cloud that blinded the following drivers at night). Both cars finished unscathed and many beers and lies were shared amongst the drivers after the race was over.
The SE-R developed an electrical issue earlier in the race leaving the team to duct tape fuses to the dashboard and replace them on track British rally team style.
The outstanding night racing photos were taken by Vanhap Motorsports Photography.