Trudeau grabs first win. Milburn wins tough Sportsman battle.
Sonoma, CA – Gary Trudeau won his first race in the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) at Sonoma Raceway driving the 3point8 Performance Hyundai Genesis. Sean Milburn worked hard and managed to take a difficult win in the Sportsman class in his Bay Area Drafting Acura RSX. Ralph Warren won a crowded GT field in the Pavlov Racing BMW M3 while Doug Makishima extended his win streak in the MCS/Summit Tech BMW M3.
Trudeau qualified second and was nearly run off the road at the start but kept the pressure on the leader, Gary Sheehan. Sheehan was driving the Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis and was the early leader but Trudeau knew that he had to keep the gap close if he was going to have a chance. The pair nearly collided at Turn 7 when Sheehan went a bit wide and a lap later Trudeau went for the pass at Turn 3 and made it stick. After making the pass, it was obvious that he had the faster car as he started to pull away. Ali Arsham, driving the Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis, finished third.
The Sportsman class is always tough and therefore starting position is critical. Milburn put the Acura on pole position but was fell back to third in the early stages. Pete Bovenberg took advantage of the situation and was very aggressive on lap one which gave him the early lead in the ARG MBO Motorsports Honda Civic with Alfred Macugay’s Walker Motorsport Honda Civic in second place. Once the cars had settled in their positions Milburn started making his move, first passing Macugay’s Civic and then getting a better exit out of the fast Turn 10. He then placed his Acura perfectly on the inside of Turn 11 and made his pass for the lead. Milburn held on to the lead from that moment with Bovenberg finishing second and Macugay finishing third.
The GT class was a battle of the BMW M3s. Ralph Warren was the fastest and he managed to pull away and build a nice gap in his V8 powered M3. The Alliegro/Lau team was only a few seconds behind in their ARG MBO Motorsports BMW M3. Vic Pizzino kept the pressure on the Alliegro/Lau BMW and finished third in the Redline Mechanical BMW M3.
The Super Touring class had a wide range of cars with a normally aspirated inline 6 versus a turbocharged four cylinder versus a normally aspirated four cylinder. Doug Makishima extended his win streak to 10 and took the win despite a very scary first lap spin that nearly ended in disaster. The spin dropped Makishima to last place, something that he is not used to. To grab the win, he had to pass nearly the entire field. He managed to do just that and took the win in the ARG MBO Motorsports BMW M3. Reto Baumann’s Sparta Evolution Volkswagen Jetta finished second and Seth Huntley’s Driving Ambition Honda S2000 finished third.
The next race is right around the corner on September 11-12 with a double header at Buttonwillow Raceway.
Be sure to follow the action online and on social media and watch the entire season exclusively on Final Drive TV on NBC Sports BA available on Xfinity, Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T Uverse and Hulu Live. You can always watch the previous seasons on YouTube.