Having handed the car over to Joe for the 3rd overall stint it was about 6pm at this point, right about the time you need your headlights. And boy did some of the field have some crazy LED light bars and sideways 'Apex' lights. We... had 100% OEM brights on the Mustang.
Joe's stint quickly ran into the night with the last 1/2 being completely pitch dark. Since my stint was over I took in some water and took stock of the situation and the competition. There were about 6 cars in our class to start the race and 2 had immediate trouble and another had fallen back. It was really between us and 2 other AI (high hp and higher prepped) mustangs with us holding onto a 2-3 lap lead at this point which Joe stomping out 2:51's and then 2:54's in the darkness.
Next up was David again - the owner - for his 2nd stint. We were already running calcs to figure out how long David would need to run before we had enough fuel to finish with the following stint (me). This was partly strategy and partly because David simply did NOT light driving at night; much less racing. We figured he needed 30+ minutes based on our earlier stints assuming they checkered the race at 9:25pm to allow for a cooldown to clear the track at 9:30pm.
Joe brought the car back in terrific shape right about the 50min mark. Our crew (including me) went to work; this being our 3rd pit stop and all things were moving very well. We took another look at the Front Left tire and it was decided to go ahead and change it - once the fueling was complete, since we had a couple lap lead we didn't want to take any chances. I grabbed the jack, jackstand and wrench - cleaned the windshield while waiting on fuel to finish - and then set about swapping out the tire. I got some help from the fuel guys since they were done and everything went pretty smooth overall.
David headed out and struggled initially to find a pace in the pitch dark - pretty much just like he thought. Having the radios working helped though and he soon radioed that he was coming in! I was like 'Already'? Then he mentioned he'd hit an animal - like a fox - and we just needed to check out the car. Well, the bumper had shifted a bit, but it looked fine. He wanted to stay in (there was 1 hr of race left; more than a fuel load) so he headed back out and started lowering lap times like a pro. The crazy mishap def helped him out!
Still with our ~3 lap lead Dave was finishing up and I would be the closer....