Gary Sheehan and the #31 GoGoGear Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8L arrived at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
for the first race of the 2023 USTCC season rejuvenated and ready to kick off the year at a track they have
historically performed well at.
Saturday practice started off well with the #31 leading the time sheets in the Touring Car class. USTCC
reintroduced single-lap qualifying at the Las Vegas event, which added a twist to the normal qualifying
procedures. With just one lap to set a qualifying time, consistency and precision were paramount. Sheehan
was on target to break his track record lap time on his single flyer, but a single missed shift on the straight
leading to the finish line was all it took to spoil the lap. The lap was still good enough for P1 in Touring Car, just a tenth of a second off the existing lap record.
Race day on Sunday was warmer than the previous day, with temps in the mid-80s and clear, sunny skies.
USTCC’s typical standing start was exciting and went off without a hitch. Sheehan had a brief battle with his
2022 co-driver Reza Arsham in his brand new Honda Civic Type R in the faster Super Touring class. The two
sorted things out after the first couple of corners with Sheehan leading Arsham. The Civic Type R is still early in its development and will be quite the class contender as the team gets the car sorted.
The remainder of the race was uneventful for Sheehan, who managed the pace to save the car and tires for
subsequent races, and brought the #31 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8L home for the first win of the season.
Newcomer Seong Kim took 2nd and Tom Lepper finished in 3rd in the Touring Car class.
The teams barely have time to check out the cars and head back out on the road for the next race. Round 2 of the 2023 season is scheduled for April 29 - 30 at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA. This is considered the home track of many USTCC teams and always results in competitive racing.