In the largest of the Performance Touring classes, Dan Howard managed to win by 1.475 seconds over hard charger Justin Ross, who climbed four positions over the course of the race at the 2016 NASA Western States Championships at Buttonwillow Raceway. Roman Vaisman, unable to match the race pace of Dan Howard and Justin Ross in difficult conditions, settled for third place.
“It was rough,” said Howard. “Toward the end I was pretty sure I was going to get black flagged. My hardtop was flapping around in the wind and I was throwing some oil smoke in the right handers, but I was able to limp it in even though Justin was coming in hot. I had a big enough lead at the time.”
Coming from all the way back in sixth on grid, Justin Ross showed his consistency and focus to overtake four cars on his way into a second-place finish.
“It was definitely dusty and windy,” Ross said. “We had a storm roll in, and it blew all sorts of dust on the track and it made it really bad. Sadly we had to start at the back twice due to DQs, one for mechanical and one for contact that wasn’t my fault. So we drove from the back to the front and got within 2 seconds. One more lap and we might have gotten him [Dan Howard].
“Starting from the back was tricky,” he continued. “A lot of the cars fanned out as soon as we came on the front straightaway and blocked my view of the starter stand. So when the green flag dropped, I didn’t see it, so I couldn’t gain as many positions as I wanted, but I started clicking them off one lap at a time hoping the Toyo Tires worked at the end of the race compared to the Hoosiers. We were reeling the cars in. I just ran out of time.”