After an exciting inaugural weekend of the 2019 United States Touring Car Championship at Las Vegas, the title contenders made themselves apparent.
Starting with the ever-growing Super Touring class, Swiss driver, Reto Baumann in his Revo/Current Graphix Volkswagen Jetta GLI grabbed pole position in qualifying. Then, after losing two places on the start, drove his way back through the field passing eventual third-place finisher Larry Bani’s GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels BMW M3 and second-place finisher Mike Sekhon’s ARG Motorsports BMW M3 on his way to his second win so-far in USTCC.
Swedish driver, Carl Rydquist, had an easy victory in the Myraceshop.com/Ridetech FFR GTM after his closest rival Rob Harper’s AP Racing Chevrolet Corvette had issues and had to start from the back.
Dutch driver, Pete Bovenberg, had a fantastic battle in the Sportsman class with his teammate, but managed to take the win in the Rota Wheels/Supertech Honda Civic. Dan Zargham finished second in the Stevens Creek Dodge SRT4 while Michael McColligan grabbed third place on the last lap in the Idemitsu/Raybestos Mazda RX-8.
Defending Touring Car champion, Gary Sheehan, driving his familiar GoGoGear.com /Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis, didn’t have much defending to do. After a bold move around the outside of his teammate Art Nersisyan’s GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis at the first corner, Sheehan was able to manage not only the pace of the race but also the life of his tires. Nersisyan dealt with fuel issues all weekend, but was still able to bring the car home for a second-place finish.
Baumann also grabbed Plastex Top Rookie honors along the way as the highest placing rookie. The Top Team award, calculated using a new metric, went to the MBO Motorsports Team’s Pete Bovenberg and Dan Zargham who came first and second respectably in the Sportsman class.
Preparations for round two at Auto Club Speedway in sunny Fontana, CA already have begun. Let’s see if the familiar faces will be able to continue their success, or if many notable newcomers will be able to displace them at the top.