USTCC: Willow Springs report 2001-07-8

Richmond, CA -- The United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) drivers were racing in the vicinity of Los Angeles at the great Willow Springs Raceway on July 7-8, 2001. James Sofronas, driving the Global Motorsports Group / SSF BMW 328i, won...

Richmond, CA -- The United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) drivers were racing in the vicinity of Los Angeles at the great Willow Springs Raceway on July 7-8, 2001. James Sofronas, driving the Global Motorsports Group / SSF BMW 328i, won his second USTCC race.

The weekend's biggest story was perhaps the H&R Springs Honda Civic of Tom Lepper and Jeff Lepper. Only three laps into the first practice session, the engine blew on the car. Determined not to pack it up after going such a long distance from home, the search for an engine began. By the next day, the car was ready to go with a new engine.

Sofronas' BMW was one of the quickest cars but his main rival continues to be the Team Miracle Honda Prelude of David Lang. Lang has been waving the Honda flag proudly and has been one of the quickest cars also. Sofronas managed to qualify the BMW on pole, beating Lang by a few tenths of a second. But Lang had the quickest lap time of the entire weekend by two tenths of a second in the Honda.

The starting order for the race was Sofronas in the BMW, followed by David Lang's Honda with Richard Holdener's Subaru of America WRX in the third position. Three different manufacturers were in the top three positions.

At the drop of the flag, the Subaru of Sheehan with the tremendous grip of its all wheel drive, managed to leap past the Prelude into second place going into turn 1. The BMW took the lead with Lang in third place. Lang quickly reclaimed the position by passing the Subaru at turn 2. Behind them the biggest battle was between two of the newest cars in the series: the Auto Tronics Honda Civic R of Ben Ho and Moon Kwong as well as the KMAC / Special Projects Honda Acura R of Jeff "Kiwi" Owen. Owen's Acura is a Honda since it is a right hand drive version imported from Japan. The car gathers a lot of attention everywhere it goes and was actually featured in a video shot by import lifestyles magazine over the weekend.

At the front, Sofronas left nothing on the table as he lead all 15 laps to take the checkered flag by over 9 seconds. Lang finished second in the Prelude with Sheehan's Subaru finishing in third place. The Subaru team had hoped that this track would really suit their car well but a weak motor gave them no chance to improve their position.

The teams now embark on their next race at the most anticipated race of the season at Wisconsin's 4 mile Road America race track next month.

-USTCC

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Series General
Drivers James Sofronas , Jeff Lepper