Sheehan and Lepper Clinch Another Championship at Portland IndyCar Weekend while Rydquist Does the Impossible
Napa, CA – Gary Sheehan clinched his record 7th USTCC Championship and Tom Lepper clinched his 5th Championship at the Portland IndyCar races on September 2, 2023.
IndyCar always draws a huge crowd at Portland Raceway and this year was no exception. The crowd really seemed to enjoy watching the touring cars race and many showed up in the paddock to talk to the drivers and to see the cars up close. This was a double header weekend with rounds 5 and 6 taking place over the weekend.
In round 5, the GT class was stacked but it seemed like everyone was having clutch issues. Bob Accardo’s team managed to fix their car after a collision caused some body damage earlier in the day and he easily set the fastest lap of the race and took the GT class win in the Accurate Arms Chevrolet Camaro. Behind him was Beau Borders in the Hankook/Borders Racing Factory Five GTM.
In Touring Car, Tim Hunter looked strong in the VT Racing Volvo but a broken axle ended his day and he ended up in third place. Gary Sheehan took the victory in the GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis with Fred Snow finishing second in the DMM/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis.
Sportsman was a battle between several cars but in the end, it was Ben Penn in the Ecoflow BMW 328i who took the win with Michael McColligan taking second place in the Raybestos/Idemitsu Mazda RX8. Ken Kurtz finished third in the Allele Network Honda Civic.
Round 6 will be best known for the great drive by Carl Rydquist. The REVS/Optimal Stunt Chevrolet Camaro still had clutch issues so they had to start out of the pits and try to pass the entire field. That would not be easy with Borders and Accordo in the race. Rydquist went after it and took advantage of lapped traffic to get closer to Borders and passed the Factory Five on lap 15. Then a few laps later, he caught up to Accardo and made the pass. Rydquist’s victory was met with huge cheers from the fans who were watching.
Tom Lepper was the Touring Car class winner but he was hounded all race long by Reza Arsham in the GoGogear.com/Konig Wheels Honda Civic Type R. Arsham would end up finishing in third place with Tim Hunter’s VT Racing Volvo finishing in third.
Chris Evertsen almost did not make the race since the car suffered suspension damage but the team worked hard and got the car on the grid with minutes left. He rewarded the team with a great victory and the fastest lap of the race in the Speed Traveler BMW 330i. Ben Penn finished second in the Ecoflow BMW 328i and Michael McColligan finished third in the Mazda.