Thriller at Thunderhill
Willows, CA – Round 2 of the United States Touring Car Championship was held at Thunderhill Raceway Park and the race turned out to be a thriller from start to finish with multiple lead changes.
The big battle up front was between the Bay area Drafting BMW M3 of Sean Milburn vs. newcomer Tony Domenici in the Bay City Electric Works BMW M3 vs 5 time USTCC Champion Gary Sheehan’s GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis. Domenici won pole position but Milburn beat him to the first corner and took the early lead while Sheehan tried to also get by Domenici on the first lap. Domenici closed the door on Sheehan and went after Milburn but Sheehan would keep the pressure on for the entire race and showed why he is a multiple champion. Milburn tried to maintain the gap but Domenici would close it and get within a second in the hopes of a mistake. Domenici’s prayers were answered when Milburn’s car had a hiccup going into turn 10 and that is all that Domenici needed to attack. He jumped to the inside and took the lead. Milburn tried to counter attack but with only two laps left, there was not enough time.
In the Sportsman class, the battle was just as fierce. Chris Evertsen made a very aggressive move and took the early lead from Tom Lepper who had pole position in the GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Honda Civic. Ben Penn used traffic to his advantage and also passed Lepper in the Path to Reding Success BMW 328i. Once things settled, Lepper started to make his charge. Penn started to have some electrical issues and was passed on lap 1. Lepper chased Evertsen for several laps and finally made his move on lap 5 going into turn 10 with a bold outside pass. Evertsen was not giving up as the pair swapped positions several times during the race until the last lap when the two were side by side into the tight turn 11 complex. The pair rubbed fenders and Evertsen exceeded the grip levels of the Hankook slicks and spun as the pair were fighting to get to the checkered flag. Lepper ended up with the win with Evertsen in second place and Penn in third place.
The teams will have a well deserved break after a grueling start of the season with the next race in June at Sonoma.