Jason Alexandridis won the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship race on Saturday while the team of Mike Sekhon and Brad McClure won on Sunday at the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah. Daniel Akhromstev made it a clean sweep in the GT class, winning on both days.
Saturday’s race was full of action as the top cars were involved in a fierce battle that could have turned very ugly. Veteran pro Donny Edwards was brought in to drive the TNI Racing/ SanDisk Mazdaspeed 3 and he qualified the car in second place. Edwards and Alexandridis were at the front of a big pack when Edwards’ turbocharger exploded and the resulting smoke made it difficult for everyone behind to see. Fortunately everyone kept their composure and made it through the smoke without incident. Alexandridis went on to take the lead, while behind him a huge battle ensued. At the end, Alexandridis had a 16-second gap to the second-place Hawk Brakes, Competition Clutch BMW M3 of Beau Borders, who was in turn followed by his teammate driving the Hawk Brakes, Competition Clutch Mitsubishi Lancer.
In the GT class Andrie Hartanto’s CT Engineering Honda S2000 took a narrow victory over the Red Star Racing BMW M3 of Daniel Akhromstev, but Hartanto was later disqualified for passing under yellow. Larry Bani driving the GoGoGear.com/UTI BMW M3 finished in third place.
Sunday was round six of seven in the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship. Several cars had mechanical issues and could not even start the race. With only one race to go after this event, the competition for the title was extremely tight. Round six would be run on a different configuration of Miller Motorsports Park. The drivers had to learn an entirely new section of the track and they only had one practice session to figure it out. The BTM Motorwerks crew decided to switch drivers and put in Brad McClure, who normally drives in the GT class, in their No. 76 BMW instead of Mike Sekhon. McClure, who is the 2013 USTCC champion, has plenty of experience on this track. The gamble paid off as he set a blistering lap time in qualifying and put the BTM Motorwerks BMW M3 on pole. The start was a fantastic spectacle as a pack cars headed to turn one traveling at more than 120 miles per hour. The top six cars were separated by millimeters and there was some aggressive driving going on. One driver said it was so aggressive that he thought it was going to end up being very ugly, but despite the passing and rubbing, nobody crashed and nobody hit anyone else. At the end, it was McClure who won the race, with Jason Alexandridis finishing in second place in the Performance Technic BMW M3. Beau Borders kept his Championship hopes alive by finishing third in the Hawk Brakes BMW M3.
Daniel Akhromstev won the GT class in the Red Star Racing BMW M3 over Larry Bani in the GoGoGear.com/UTI BMW M3. With his second win of the weekend, Akhromstev also clinched the GT driver’s Championship.
With two fifth-place finishes, the team of Ali Arsham and Gary Sheehan kept their points lead in the touring car class going into the final race. The touring car champion will be decided at the last race of the season at Thunderhill Raceway in November 2014.
On Saturday, Life’s Good Racing scored 175 points with a second- and a third-place finish with drivers Beau Borders and Mario Lento. Together they won the Cobra Top Team award and won a Cobra radar detector for their efforts. On Sunday, the team scored 165 points again with drivers Borders and Lento and won yet another Cobra radar detector.
Beau Borders finished in second place on Saturday and third place on Sunday, and was the highest placing rookie in the field on both days. He won the Plastex Top Rookie award and two Plastex plastic repair kits.