Sheehan has mechanical issues
Round 4 and 5 of the United States Touring Car Championship brought the teams back to Buttonwillow Raceway Park right in the middle of California’s Central Valley. Round 4 would be using Buttonwillow’s most popular configuration 13 in the clockwise direction on Saturday, followed by configuration 1 counter-clockwise on Sunday.
One of the issues with double-header weekends like this is lack of time to address any issues that occur during the weekend due to the very busy schedule and not much time to recover before the second race. With two practices, a qualifying session, and a race on each day, there was barely time to cool down and make adjustments to the car before the drivers had to be out on track again.
The weekend started well, with Gary Sheehan setting the early pace in Practice 1 in the Touring Car class. Practice 2 was looking similar, with Sheehan leading the Touring Car class when the #31 GoGoGear.com Hyundai Genesis Coupe suffered a power steering failure mid-session.
The GoGoGear.com team got to working on the issue quickly, but spare parts for the steering system were hard to come by. A second-hand steering rack was installed prior to the race, but a power steering pump was nowhere to be found during the weekend. The team attempted to service the power steering pump in an effort to get it to offer some support, but their efforts failed to revive the heart of the power steering system.
“We’re gutted that a system failure took us out of contention this event”, said Gary Sheehan, at the end of the long race weekend. “I was really hoping to consolidate my championship lead this weekend, but we ended up doing the exact opposite. These cars are so heavy due to the power to weight rules of the racing series, and combined with the grip of the Hankook F200 racing slicks, it’s like a 30 minute wrestling match in the next higher weight class trying to get these cars around the track without power steering. I just couldn’t be competitive this weekend despite my best efforts, and it’s disheartening to be so exhausted at this point. At least we got some points and are still battling for the championship.”
Sheehan goes into the final race weekend of the 2020 USTCC Season tied for the championship lead with Gary Trudeau, in the Red Panther Racing Hyundai Genesis Coupe. In fact, the top three cars in Touring Car are all Hyundai Genesis Coupes, with Ali Arsham in the sister GoGoGear.com Hyundai Genesis Coupe in a close 3rd place. The last race brings the series back to GoGoGear’s home track at Sonoma Raceway on October 10th & 11th, which always provides great racing action in California wine country.