Sonoma, California. June 17, 2012 -- The team of Dave Brown and Karl Chicca managed to score a win for the Hawk Brakes /San Rafael Mitsubishi at the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship on June 17, 2012 at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Brown became the third driver to score a win this season in as many races. Robert Thorne crossed the line in second place but was later disqualified for avoidable body contact. Scoring a much needed second place was Felipe Cabezas who has not finished worse than fourth this season in his TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3. Taking the last podium position was Pete Bovenberg who has had a terrible season this year in the MBO Motorsports Honda Civic.
Thorne qualified on pole in his Auto Parts Warehouse Volvo C30 alongside the Mitsubishi of Brown. At the green, Brown used the all wheel drive grip of the Mitsubishi to jump to the lead and never looked back. He led every lap of the race and won comfortably. Thorne was doing a stellar job and keeping Brown within sight but with a few laps to go encountered lapped traffic. The slower car did not see the faster Volvo and the two touched sending the slower car into a spin. Thorne suffered no damage. Another reason that Thorne could not get the win was likely the extra weight he was carrying. After two races, Thorne has been given an extra 175 pounds of REWARDS ballast. In contrast, Brown has had his weight reduced by 125 pounds over the course of the two races. The 300 pound difference really seemed to show itself during the race.
Cabezas had a relatively busy opening stage of the race with a lot of tough competition breathing down his neck. Eventually Cabezas prevailed and managed to pull away without any problems until late in the race when Bovenberg was catching up. Fortunately for Cabezas the checkered flag came out and Cabezas was a happy man.
Bovenberg has had a rocky season with a 15th place finish and an 8th place finish. The two time champion was very disappointed not to have done better and knew that this had to be his time. Unfortunately, he almost lost it all at the start. As the start, Bovenberg stalled the Honda and was passed by everyone. Fortunately, no one hit the stranded Honda as they went by and Bovenberg managed to re-fire the engine and get underway. He must have been very angry with himself over that mistake because he drove a fantastic race and managed to pass almost everyone. He also showed that he was the fastest car on the track as he set the fastest lap of the race by 3/10ths of a second in the process.
In the GT class, Ken Kurtz used his powerful V8 engine to muscle his way to a victory in his Yokohama/TPIS Pontiac Firebird. Robin Riner’s R&D Builders Ford Mustang finished second and kept his points lead. Dave Levey finished third in the LIC Motorsports Subaru WRX STi in his first USTCC race.
The competition is getting tougher and the races seem to get harder. But for now the teams get a much needed two month break to freshen up everything and get some testing done. They will next be at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California on August 18-19, 2012. For more information, visit www.ustcc.com
Wine Country Motor Sports Award
Larry Bani won the $150 gift certificate from Wine Country Motor Sports for placing 5th in the race.
Go Pro Hero Award
The Go Pro Hero of the Race was Dave Brown for winning the race and received a Go Pro high definition camera for his work.
Auto Tech Interiors Gauge Award
Doug Makashima took the Auto Tech Interiors gauge award for a great battle with Felipe Cabezas.
Stack Gauge Award
The Stack Gauge award went to Ken Kurtz who was quick all weekend and finally had no mechanical issues and won the GT class.
Ironclad Performance Gloves Award
Pete Bovenberg won the Ironclad award for working so hard all weekend and changing clutch and transmission during the weekend and setting the fast lap of the race in the process.
Mothers Clean Car Award
The Mothers Clean Car Award went to Curt Simmons who had a new orange paint job on his Dodge.
LeMans Karting Fremont Seat Time Award
The LeMans Karting Fremont Seat Time Award went to Shawn Yu for having the slowest fast lap of the race.
Optima Battery Award
Optima Batteries light up most of the engines in the USTCC and Optima provides a free battery to the top three finishers.
Swift Springs Swift Move Award
Larry Bani almost made it to the podium with a great effort in his BMW and earned a pair of Swift Springs for his troubles.
Sampson Racing Radios Award
The Sampson Racing Radios Award gift certificate went to Dave Brown for a great drive to first place.
Go Light Award
The Go Light award went to Daryl Chan for a hard earned seventh place finish. He won a brand new remote controlled Go Light.
Hawk Brake Award
Ali Arsham received the Hawk Brake Award for a great battle for every lap of the race with Curt Simmons. Arsham managed to pass the Dodge on the last lap.
Project Mu Award
AJ Gracy took home a set of Project Mu racing brake pads for staying out of trouble and having a trouble free race.
Airaid Breathtaking Award
Airaid Breathtaking Award was given to Robert Thorne who was fast all weekend long but in the end was disqualified after having contact with a lapped car.
Advanced Clutch Technology Award
Curt Simmons did the clutch move and won the Advanced Clutch Technology Clutch Move of the Race Award by working through all kinds of engine issues and holding back Arsham almost all race long.
Specialty Products Award
Robin Riner drove a very safe race and ended up finishing in second place in GT winning a Specialty Products alignment gauge for his efforts.
The HoverCam Document Camera Award went to Dave Brown for jumping to the lead at the start and never looking back after that.
DXG USA Camera Award
The DXG USA Camera Award was given to Rich Woo who started in the back after no qualifying abd ended up with a 10th place finish. Woo won a DXG HD camcorder for his hard work.
iGrille Top Rookie Award
The iGrille Top Rookie Award went to Doug Makashima who was the highest placing rookie in the field.
Winning a Polar heart rate monitor watch and the Polar Heart Stopping award was Tom Milburn for missing all of Saturday’s sessions and finishing well despite it.
New partner, Blackstone Labs, provided a free engine oil analysis to Dave Levey who started his first USTCC race.