For the second round of the 2019 season, drivers and teams headed to Fontana, California for the fastest weekend of the season at Auto Club Speedway. However, with rain on the horizon and clouds in the air just as the race approached everything was up for grabs. The rain held off until after the race but was still at the forefront of the teams’ minds. In the GT class Mike Holland’s Myraceshop.com/Ridetech FFR GTM was able to get the team’s second win of the season, and Holland’s first. After losing a place on the start to eventual second-place finisher Rob Harper’s AP Racing, BC Forged Chevy Corvette, the pair battled back and forth for position until engine trouble meant that Harper had to abandon the fight in order to limp the car home to second place. Newcomer to USTCC, Anthony Lanza’s Lanza & Smith PLC Lotus Exige managed a strong third place.
In the ST class, Doug Makishima and his MCS BMW M3 found the pace to challenge Larry Bani who looked to be the fastest car all weekend long. Makishima made the move past Bani and kept the lead all the way to the finish to get his first win of the season. Bani’s GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels BMW M3 was quick in practice and qualifying but couldn’t translate that to race pace and struggled to keep up with Makishima’s blistering pace. After blowing an engine in the first session on Saturday, championship leader Reto Baumann scrambled to find a backup car for the race. Baumann still managed a respectable third place to keep himself in the points battle.
TC saw a second consecutive one-two for the GoGoGear.com team of Gary Sheehan and Art Nersisyan. The pair in their sister GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis’ were the fastest cars in TC all weekend. Sheehan’s back to back wins this season are exactly how he wanted to defend his 2018 championship title.
The intense battle from round 1 at Las Vegas continued in the sportsman class for round 2. After a disappointing result in Las Vegas, Edgar Lau was able to take his first win of the season in his Rose Construction/Ravenol 330ci. The battle for second was back and forth between Andrew Gardner’s AGardner Racing Ford Mustang and Michael McColligan’s Raybestos/Idemitsu Mazda RX8. The pair who always seem to find each other on track, had a great battle but it was Gardner who was able to get past McColligan after an uncharacteristic mistake and take an impressive second place after starting in fifth. McColligan rounded out the podium for his second of the year.
With victories in both ST and SP, it was Team ARG who got Top Team honors. Rookie Reza Arsham’s GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Mazda MX-5 got his best finish so far earning him the Plastex Top Rookie award. The teams now have three weeks to prepare before a return to Northern California sees both round 3 at Sonoma Raceway and round 4 at Laguna Seca in the span of two weeks time.