2021 Awards Banquet Draws Big Crowd to Celebrate the 2020 and 2021 Championships
The annual awards banquet drew a large crowd of teams and drivers. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 banquet never happened and it was decided to wait until the situation was better.
The night was started with special awards from the 2021 season highlighting special accomplishments.
1. Best Sportsmanship. Viktor Czapla.
To be a good sportsman you need to park your ego outside. Many drivers are so competitive that they can’t even make good decisions because their egos get in the way. This person is always mellow and even when he qualified in the back did not look to place the blame elsewhere. One person said “He is constantly trying to help his fellow racers with tips and assistance in order to improve the sport and class which in turn pressures himself to be more competitive.” Another person said “Mac Gyver like resourcefulness helped numerous competitors throughout the season.”
2. Best Surprise. Matthew Rivkin
Matthew missed the first two races this year but started all the races after that and was always just a hair shy of the podium until he worked out the issues and got himself and his car quicker. He almost won at Buttonwillow and is now a consistent threat for a win.
3. Hardest working. Reto Baumann
Reto has worked so hard because he races in a tough class in a car that is not the easiest to drive. The team is constantly trying to make improvements which requires more testing and tuning and it is just a hard battle. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But the important part is that he is always searching for speed in his car and in himself which is what we all should be doing.
• This guy always showed up, Never gave up. Regardless of the situations.
• He has completely immersed himself in the building of the team and his car. Despite a season faced with constant struggles, he always managed to focus and press forward. His hours and efforts this season (both on and off the track) are countless. (I know he didn’t write this himself because the writer misspelled his name!)
• He is always training on the simulator, testing and trying new things & different line on the track, developing himself and his team, updating his car. Continuous improvement.
4. Hard Luck. Bob Accardo
It is not common to have a person show up and win their first race but that is exactly what Bob did. But after that, there were issues. At Laguna Seca Indy weekend on Sunday a brake balance issue almost put him into the wall and then at Thunderhill the water pump pulley took away any hope of a win in the first few minutes of the race.
5. Your favorite driver. Beau Borders
The winner is a man who wins everyone over with his great humor, humble attitude and charm. As one voter said: “He goes out of his way to assist strangers that could use a hand without being asked. He is a bright personality with a great sense of humor. He represents the sport with class.” Class is really the best way to put it.
6. Outstanding Contribution. Mark McManus/Tom Milburn/Brad Austin
One of the things that we love about USTCC is how everyone is always helping each other. We can all come together to make the entire experience better for all of us. These people really helped make the tech procedure far better than it was. With their help the cars are now scaled much quicker and easier.
7. Most underrated. Freddie Macugay
Freddie has raced since he was a teenager. He has driven everything from RX7s to stock cars to touring cars. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive. And he is always fast no matter what. The only difference is that he is humble and isn’t a loud mouth like some other drivers. That makes him very special.
8. Best Battle. Sean Milburn vs. Josh Lion
There were three nominees. 1. Bard Austin vs Sean Milburn Las Vegas 2. Gordon Pun vs. Ken Kurtz Fontana. 3. Reza Arsham vs. Matt Rivkin vs. Alfred Macugay at Sonoma. 4. Sean Milburn vs. Josh Lion at Laguna Seca. Milburn vs. Lion was selected as the winner since it just kept going and going and there were so many lead changes.
9. Best Comeback. Michael McColligan
Michael crashed his car hard in 2021. Things were looking bad and anyone else would have just given up and thrown in the towel. He is either really dedicated or really stupid. He insists on doing everything himself and uses practically all of his spare time to make improvements. He missed just one race rebuilding the entire car, front and back and made it back for the Indy weekend.
10. Most Improved. Daniel Rose
At Laguna Seca Indy weekend Daniel was quicker than his teammate who is not slow. Comments:
• He's been working his butt off, and it clearly shows.
• He went from a roadblock to a legitimate podium contender in a season.
That pretty much sums it up.
11. Most respected driver. Gary Trudeau
When we asked you for who would you rather go side by side at T-10 at Sonoma, the results were pretty convincing. Comments:
• Been There done That.
• He's a phenomenal driver and has great car control. I have a lot of faith in his driving.
12. Hard Charger. Rob Harper
Charging hard is about going through the field and passing cars and this person had to work his way through the field many times. If we kept count, he probably has passed more cars than anyone. Comments included:
• He races to win
• When his car is right hard to beat...
• He strikes me as a "go for broke" type of driver. He followed me through the gravel to make a pass at Laguna which made me smile.
13. Most impressive drive. Edgar Lau
This one was pretty special. Start in the back in the fastest car and drive through the field. Of course it helps when you have a powerful V8 under the hood and get lucky with a full course yellow. But still it was so fun to watch.
14. Driver of the year. Gary Sheehan
It is difficult to put into words how much this driver has accomplished. He has a Wikipedia page. He raced Formula 2000s and finished second in the championship to a guy who went on to race IndyCars. He raced Grand Am, World Challenge, Global Time Attack, and TCR International. He holds 8 track records in USTCC, more than anyone. And this year he made it a record 4 championships in a row with a record total of 6. Comments:
• Mr. Professional. He is what most drivers aspire to be.
15. Best Attitude. Ken Kurtz.
Drivers are a weird bunch. Many think they are god’s gift. Of course, in their mind they see nothing wrong because they are never wrong and it is always someone else’s fault. This guy always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude. And instead of complaining he always asks if he can help or if we need anything.
16. Brightest Future. Sean Milburn
It is so nice to see second generation drivers in USTCC. Sometimes the second generation drivers are not as good as the first. Many times they are. Just ask Mr. Verstappen. One of our best has shown that he can battle with anyone. In addition to racing in USTCC, this year he also tried endurance racing, night racing and drifting. It seems like he is a natural. He could have won the championship this year if it wasn’t for mechanical issues. He will no doubt win many more races and championship.
17. Best returning performance. Gordon Pun
It is not often when a driver comes back and races in USTCC after more than 10 years. This year we had just that. After leaving the series in 2010, he returned in 2021 and finished second in the Touring Car class.
18. Best starts. Brad Austin
With Larry Bani not racing much this year, it left this category wide open. In Touring car racing, starts are a very important part of the race and some people are better at drag racing than others.
-He absolutely dusted the whole field each and every time. He immediately came to mind, and usually gets through most of the touring car field by the end of the first lap.
-Every single race that darn blue Miata left 11s off the grid and left the rest of sportsman for dead.
19. Best Pass. Reza Arsham
There were a lot of great passes in 2021. It was really hard to pick out one but we went for this one not because it was well set up. He faked left and went right and made a pass on a faster car and made it stick. And best of all our TV cameras caught it.
2020 TOP AWARDS
1. Chris Alliegro/Edgar Lau. 2 wins, 3 seconds
2. Rob Harper. 2 wins, 2 seconds
3. Larry Bani. 1 second, 3 thirds
1. Doug Makishima/Edgar Lau. 5 wins
2. Reto Baumann/Dave Brown. 1 win, 5 seconds
3. Daniel Rose. 2 thirds
1. Gary Sheehan. 3 wins, 1 second
2. Gary Trudeau. 1 win, 3 seconds, 1 third
3. Ali Arsham. 1 win, 1 second, 2 thirds
1. Pete Bovenberg. 3 wins, 1 second
2. Michael McColligan. 2 seconds, 3 thirds
3. Alfred Macugay. 1 win, 1 second, 2 thirds
Top Rookie TC Gary Trudeau
Top Rookie ST Daniel Rose
Top Rookie GT Viktor Czapla
Top Rookie overall Alfred Macugay
Top Team ARG-MBO Motorsports. 10 individual wins in 6 races. 4 out of 6 Top Team awards.
1. Rob Harper. 1 win, 3 seconds
2. Bob Accardo. 1 win, 1 second
3. Edgar Lau. 3 wins
1. Viktor Czapla. 5 wins, 1 second, 1 third
2. Reto Baumannn. 3 thirds
3. Mike Sekhon/Art Nersisyan. 1 win, 3 seconds, 1 third
1. Gary Sheehan/Fred Snow. 5 wins. 2 thirds
2. Gordon Pun/Ali Arsham. 5 seconds, 1 third
3. Mark McManus/Ken Kurtz. 1 win, 2 seconds, 3 thirds
1. Brad Austin. 4 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third
2. Reza Arsham. 1 win, 2 thirds
3. Matthew Rivkin. 2 thirds
Top Rookie TC: Gordon Pun
Top Rookie: ST: Josh Friesen
Top Rookie GT: Bob Accardo
Top Rookie overall: Josh Lion
Top Team GoGoGear.6 Individual wins in 8 races. 1 out of 8 Top Team awards.