Evertsen finishes second at Sonoma
Round three of the 2023 United States Touring Car Championship took place at Sonoma Raceway. This time featuring the IndyCar turn 9 kink, a configuration Chris Evertsen has never driven before.
The Speed Traveler #37 BMW prepared by PennKraft with trackside engineer @Jo.CarGuy came prepared with fresh GiroDisc brake rotors and pads, and a SparcoUSA fire suppression system.
After a good practice session, the team felt confident with their qualifying potential. That potential was realized with a one lap qualifying run of 2.01.839 to put the car on pole for the race. Unfortunately a transmission issue put starting the race in jeopardy.
With the demands put on the transmission during the USTCC standing start, we lined up for the race not knowing if we would even get off the line. The green flag dropped and the #37 BMW leaped off the line. Unfortunately second gear would not engage, third gear would not engage. but fourth did. With that horrid start the cars behind had to dive left and right to avoid any contact. Losing four spots before even getting to turn 1, Evertsen was frustrated and was left with a lot of work to do.
From there, it was a case of managing the problem, learn to drive around the problem and nurse the car to the finish line, if possible. Working around the problem, Evertsen slowly increased the pace. However, a couple of gearbox issue-induced mistakes took away all the gains made. Undeterred, Evertsen kept at it and again started moving forward with consistently quick laps. Some exciting battles ensued with series veterans Tom Milburn and Tom Lepper, with Evertsen eventually working his way to P2. The win, however, was out of reach with the commanding lead that Ben Penn was able to establish.
Chris Evertsen was happy to get to the finish line with 2nd place, and the championship lead for the Chris Evertsen / Charlie Frank #37 TheSpeedTraveler BMW.