Sheehan Motor Racing wins round one of the USTCC at Sears Point. Gary Sheehan took the win in the first U.S. Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race of 2002 in his Subaru WRX. The lead was closely contested amongst several competitors, but it was...
Sheehan Motor Racing wins round one of the USTCC at Sears Point.
Gary Sheehan took the win in the first U.S. Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race of 2002 in his Subaru WRX. The lead was closely contested amongst several competitors, but it was Sheehan that brought his car across the line first, followed closely by runner up Gary Hutto in his BMW 328i and third place finisher Ali Arsham in his Honda Civic.
Similar to last years USTCC race at Sears Point, Mother Nature was up to her games again and provided a mix of sunny warmth and driving rain with chilling winds. Qualifying fell right in the middle of a wet spell, which played to the strength of the Subaru WRX's All Wheel Drive and helped Sheehan set a commanding pole qualifying time, several seconds ahead of the nearest competition.
The green flag dropped on a dry track and the battle up front was hotly contested. Sheehan fought hard to keep his lead during attacks from the Honda Civics of Daryl Chan, Ali Arsham and Neil Vanni for most of the race and held off a last lap charge made by Gary Hutto in his BMW 328i, taking the checkered flag by a narrow margin.
"It was a tough race today," said Gary Sheehan after it was all over. "The shortened track configuration was a real bullring that favored the lighter Hondas and BMWs. They had a big weight advantage that helped them in the braking zones and corners. But our new STOPTECH brakes were awesome and let me get into the corners very deep. I just concentrated on driving as hard as I could and managed to keep everyone else behind me. It's a great way to start the season!"
Sheehan leaves Sears Point leading the championship by 20 points. The USTCC heads next to Portland International Raceway on April 27th and 28th for Round 2 of the series. Portland's high straightaway speeds and early spring weather should make for an exciting weekend.