Gary Sheehan won the Touring Car class of the U.S. Touring Car Championship in the GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis Coupe while Nik Romano took the win in the GKR Racing/Indotech Motorsports Lexus in the Sportsman class at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Starting on pole position, Patrick Chio in the Speed SF/Auto Logic Nissan 350Z did not get a great start and lost the lead going into the first corner to Sheehan, who started second. From there it became a fight between the two for the entire length of the 40-minute race. Chio got a good draft on the oval track section of the speedway, reaching speeds up to 140 mph and got alongside the Hyundai driver, but could never complete the pass. Sheehan was under pressure all race long and a few times it looked like the pair might take each other out, but clean driving on both parties meant that they went on to finish in that order, with Sheehan winning by less than a second.
Joshua Allen finished third in the Racementor.com Mazda MX-5 after having a battle of his own with Sheehan’s teammate in the second GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai, driven by Art Nersisyan. Nersisyan made things interesting by passing Allen on the banking while Allen would have the advantage in the tight infield section. The battle ended on lap nine when Nersisyan had a battery problem that ended his race.
In the Sportsman class, the battle was between the Pitre Racing Acura Integra of Thomas Pitre versus the Lexus of Romano. Romano qualified on pole position but did not get a great start and lost the lead to Pitre. The pair fought for most of the race as they traded the lead, but on lap eight, Pitre suffered from a transmission issue, which ended his race. That was great news for Charlie Frank in the GoGoGear.com/BMW North America BMW M3, who was waiting for his opportunity to attack. Frank took the second-place trophy. Edgar Lau debuted his Buehler Vineyards/ Visual Communication Technologies BMW 328i in third place with an outstanding run.
Larry Bani brought the GoGoGear.com/KW Suspension/aFe Power BMW M3 in first place in the Super Touring class and combined with the Sheehan victory collected the Escort Radar Detectors Top Team Award.
The teams can enjoy a short break as they will now have to go from the wide-open speedway to the tight turns of the Sonoma Raceway on June 16-17.