Sheehan wins at Laguna Seca
Gary Sheehan got back behind the wheel of the #31 GoGoGear Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8L for race 2 of the IndyCar weekend at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on September 11th. The duo of Gary Sheehan and Reza Arsham came into the weekend in 2nd place in the championship with the intent to come out of the weekend with the championship lead in the USTCC Touring Car class. Things didn’t work out as planned!
Reza Arsham had a tough race 1 on Saturday. The power steering pump started to fail before halfway through the race, making for a very physically demanding race car to drive. Despite the challenge, Reza brought the car home for a 3rd place podium finish. The post-race inspection of the Hyundai also revealed a complete failure of swaybar endlink mounting tab on the right front strut, further hurting the car’s performance.
The team was able to replace the power steering pump after the race on Saturday, but the broken swaybar endlink mount was an issue that would remain for the remainder of the weekend. The team attempted to compensate by adding can pressure to the front JRZ shocks and crossed their fingers for the Sunday race.
Based on Reza Arsham’s Saturday laptime, Sheehan was gridded in 2nd place for the start of the race, alongside championship leader Gary Trudeau. The two would have an unobstructed drag-race into turn 2 without any traffic in front to worry about.
At the drop of the green flag, Sheehan got a solid launch while Trudeau had issues getting off the line. Sheehan arrived into Turn 2 in the lead, followed closely by teammate Larry Bani in his GoGoGear.com BMW E90. From that point Sheehan settled into the race and put distance between himself and the rest of the Touring Car field.
A late race full-course yellow bunched the field up again, taking away the gap Sheehan had been working on all race. The restart was exciting as all competitors’ tires had become cold and the field slipped and slid around the race track for a couple of laps struggling to get traction back. Sheehan was able to maintain the lead and bring home the win in the Touring Car class.
“The race was pretty uneventful for most of the way,” said Gary Sheehan in the post-race interview. “I was just hitting my marks and racking up clean laps, and I was easing away from everyone else. I thought the race was in the bag until we got that full-course yellow. On that first restart lap it felt like I was driving on a wet track! I went into turn 6 a bit faster than the tires were ready for and put half the car off the track on exit! I was able to gather it up and bring the car home in 1st, thankfully.”
The teams have a just over four weeks before they are back at it again, this time at Buttonwillow Raceway in Buttonwillow, California on October 15 & 16. The team has a lot of work to do on the car to get it back to peak performance and in fighting shape to go for the championship win over the next two races.