USTCC Awards Banquet & Go-Kart Challenge
Fremont, Ca. – United States Touring Car Championship teams, staff, friends and family gathered at Le Mans Karting in Fremont, California on Saturday, January 19th, to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers for the 2007 USTCC Season.
|Top3 USTCC Champions: From L to R: Ali Arsham (2nd place), Curt Simmons (1st place Co-champion) Pete Bovenberg (1st place Co-champion) and Becky Arsham (3rd place).|
USTCC TV/Final Drive host Jennifer Grossman emceed the evening to recognize all of the exceptional individual and group on and off-track performances through out the 2007 season and highlighted the night by the presentation of the yearly coveted USTCC Drivers’ Championship and Manufacturers’ Championship trophies.
Curt Simmons, driver of #49 Sunnyvale Dodge/Cornwell Tools/MBO Motorsports Dodge Neon SRT-4 took home his first USTCC Drivers Championship with a total of 585 points, 104 points ahead of the second overall finisher Ali Arsham. Simmons, scored six consecutive podium finishes, bagged a pair of wins and a series record of four straight second place finishes within six starts out of seven races of the 2007 season.
Simmons behind the wheel of his SRT-4 racing machine also spearheaded Dodge’s claim to the 2007 USTCC Manufacturers Championship title, another USTCC first. This marks the first time ever an American brand has managed to win the USTCC manufacturers’ title.
Pete Bovenberg, co-champs the 2007 USTCC Drivers’ Championship by taking advantage of the series’ unique teammate rule set. Bovenberg, who regularly pilots the familiar red and yellow #94 AutoSourceMotoring.com/PPG/MBO Motorsports Honda Civic Si, scored a vital first place win during the first of three 2007 Infineon Raceway rounds, for teammate Simmons. This is also Bovenberg’s first ever USTCC Drivers’ Championship. This is only the third time in the eight year USTCC competition history that the top overall step went to co-champions via the teammate rule set. Previous Co-Champions are Richard Holdener/ Gary Sheehan in 2000 and the father/son duo of Tom and Jeff Lepper in 2004.
Ali Arsham driver of the #33 Konig Wheels/GOGOGEAR.com Honda Civic Si, drove to his highest USTCC finish. He consistently finished in the top 5 with a pair of second place finishes, two fourth places, a third place and fifth place in 7 races. This is Arsham’s second ever top three overall after taking home third overall in 2003 and taking a year off in 2006.
Rich Woo and Becky Arsham were teammate drivers of the #32 Konig Wheels/GOGOGEAR.com Acura Integra R. They split the 2007 driving duties to take home the third overall spot. It’s the duo’s highest overall finish in the series. Rich Woo drove the first two rounds with a top 5 finish on the opening round and a key second place finish on the second round. Becky Arsham, the lone female series driver in 2007 drove the rest of season and kept the pace by posting three top five finishes to secure their final position in the overall standings. This is also the highest a female has ever scored in the USTCC Drivers Championship.
The A’Pex Integration Top Rookie of the Year Award went to Bret Strom driver of #67 SLR International BMW 328i after storming into the series. The BMW ace capped off four straight wins out of four outings and nearly put a halt onto the Simmons/Bovenberg championship campaign. The four straight wins set a new USTCC series record.
MBO Motorsports’ night was topped off with its team crew chief Flynn Simpkins receiving the Miller Crew Chief of the Year Award. Simpkins will receive a brand new Miller MIG Welder, the same one used by many other professional teams. Simpkins made sure both Simmons’ SRT-4 racer and Bovenbergs’s Civic Si racer were race ready throughout the season.
This year’s recipient of the Racetech Seats Promotional Award was Gerald Chongco for his outstanding efforts and dedication in promoting the series at various auto shows and motorsports events including all USTCC race events. The Racetech Seats Promotional Award, is the series’ highest non-racing recognition award. It is presented to a group or individual for his/her outstanding work and effort to promote the U.S. States Touring Car Championship on and off the track towards the overall exposure and success of the series.
Chongco’s promotional effort includes the build and design of the 2007 USTCC Toyota Camry SE Official Pace Car and maintaining the pace car. His efforts also included presenting the Camry at every each USTCC race and auto show events in top form. With the USTCC Official Pace Car, Chongco kept a USTCC presence at events like SEMA Show Las Vegas, Toyota Club meet, San Francisco International Auto Show, San Jose International Auto Show and J Style Motoring Show to list a few. During USTCC race weekends, Chongco was also responsible for getting series sponsor banners up arranging the podium and awards celebrations after the race. Chongco will receive a brand new pre-selected Racetech Seat.
This is Racetech Seat’s third year in presenting the USTCC Promotional Award. Racetech Seats (www.racetechseatsna.com) manufactures composite race seats & safety harnesses from New Zealand for the North American market. Racetech Seats and safety equipment products are the fastest selling and most recommended brand by top race car engineers and drivers in the world’s top racing series.
Before the night of honoring and celebrating was over, the reigning USTCC Champions and the rest of the USTCC drivers present along with crew members, friends, sponsors and family members strapped on their racing helmets and gloves and took center stage for another awesome USTCC Go-Kart Challenge at Le Mans Karting’s Premier Indoor Go-Kart track. For some, it’s simple bragging rights. For others it’s another chance to out race the newly crowned champions.
|First place (center) Andy Chittum. Second place (L) Curt Simmons. Third place (R) Andrew Gillis|
Indeed it was another very close heated go-kart racing at Le Mans Karting USTCC style. After a single practice session, two rounds of heat races, two race qualifyings and two main final races, the top three steps were swept by USTCC regulars. Reigning USTCC Champion Curt Simmons reeled in third place with fast lap of 19.86. Andrew Gillis, driver of the #23 STWA Performance/Gillis Motorsports Ford Focus, took second place with the second fastest lap of 19.80. Andy Chittum, driver of #38 The Mad Man Motorsports/LeMans Karting/BTM Motorwerks BMW 318ti, won the top spot with a scorcher fast lap of 19.19.
Special thanks goes to Rick Gaan and the entire staff of Le Mans Karting of Fremont, California (www.lemanskarting.com) for graciously hosting the 2007 USTCC Awards Banquet and Go-Kart Challenge.