Gary Hutto takes the USTCC win at Las Vegas and takes a comfortable 18 point lead into the last race. For the second time this season, the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) competed in Las Vegas, Nevada for the USTCC sixth ...
Gary Hutto takes the USTCC win at Las Vegas and takes a comfortable 18 point lead into the last race.
For the second time this season, the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) competed in Las Vegas, Nevada for the USTCC sixth round.
The teams had raced at Las Vegas before, but this was a new event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the outside road course, as opposed to the American Le Mans course.
The first practice session for the teams started Saturday morning under rainy conditions. With the weather so bad during the first practice session, the teams were not able to transfer any data on setup for the qualifying round. Not needing any setup data was 2001 USTCC champion James Sofronas, returning to the series for the first time this season, teamed with first-time USTCC competitor Fabryce Kutyba in a pair of Global Motorsports Group BMW 328i's. Gary Hutto in his Global Motorsport/Hutto Motorsports/Intrax BMW 328i, took the pole, followed by Kutyba's BMW. Rounding out the top five was Gary Sheehan driving the Subaru of America/StopTech/Serious Auto WRX, Jeff "Kiwi" Owen in his right-hand drive Special Projects/B&G Sports Suspensions Honda Integra R and David Lang in his Miracle Auto Paint-Napa/Pier Market-SF Honda Prelude. Sofronas qualified 10th but started ninth since the 9th place qualifier, Albert Mirko in the Mirko Racing Mazda 626, was late to grid.
The usual standing start took place with thirteen cars on the grid. Thanks to a big melee in the second corner involving Kutyba and Owen, Sofronas was in fourth place after the second turn while some were in the dirt to avoid contact. While Owen was able to continue, Kutyba was forced to make a pit stop for repairs. Kutyba did eventually continue to finish eighth. That left the lead pack of three with Hutto followed by Sheehan and Sofronas closing in. Sheehan made a great pass coming onto the front straight, and took the lead. This allowed Sofronas to close in on Hutto. It wasn't long until Sofronas was by Hutto and Sheehan, leading the race. Further back, Owen was making his way back up through the field. He closed in on Lang's Prelude, creating a great battle for fourth. Owen got around Lang and Lang returned the favor, battling back and earning the FLUIDYNE Cool Move of the Race Award. Owen eventually retired and placed twelfth. Either Sofronas' BMW broke at the last corner of the last lap, or team Ferrari had something to do this race. Regardless, Hutto passed Sofronas and took the win; extending his points lead to eighteen over Sheehan. Rounding out the top five was Lang, followed by Ali Arsham's GoGoGear.com/Miracle Auto Napa/Specialty Products Honda Civic.
It's become a two-way battle for the 2002 USTCC Championship between Hutto and Sheehan. It has also become a two-way battle for the Manufacturer's Championship between BMW and Subaru, and last, but not least, also a two- way battle for the A'Pex Integration Rookie of the Year award, between Thomas Pitre's GoGoGear.com Acura Integra and Jeff Lepper's H&H Auto Machine Dodge Neon.
The final race of the season will conclude at Infineon Raceway (Sears Point) in Sonoma, California, which was the inaugural race of the 2002 season, however, now that Infineon Raceway has completed their renovations, this will be the first race for the USTCC on the new course. Look for all the exciting touring car action as well as championships to be decided, November 23rd and 24th.
Dave Lang earns FLUIDYNE Cool Move of the Race Award at Las Vegas
Earning The FLUIDYNE Cool Move Of The Race Award Was David Lang in his Miracle Auto Paint-Napa Pier Market-SF Honda Prelude. Lang earned his award by dicing back and forth with Jeff Owen's Special Projects Motorsports B&G Sport Suspension Honda Integra R. Although Owen's Integra has much more horsepower, Lang managed to out-corner and out- handle Owen's Integra R, winning him the FLUIDYNE Cool Move of the Race Award. Lang finished in third place.