Hartanto Pulls Out a Victory
Andrie Hartanto managed to stay unbeaten this season in the Nitto Tire US Touring Car Championship by winning the Infineon round on June 28, 2009. The victory was somewhat surprising because Andy Chittum was quickest in every session in his BTM Motorworks/LeMans Karting BMW 328ti. Chittum started on pole and managed to not only take the lead but also to start to pull away from Hartanto who was his closest challenger.
|Photos by Ryan Cristobal|
Chittum managed to set the fast lap of the race but credit Hartanto for not giving up in the RedZone Performance Acura TSX. They say in racing you never know what can happen so you must push until the checkered flag waves. Hartanto did just that and he knew that working traffic was going to be an issue today. With two laps to go Chittum lost a little momentum and went a little wide at Turn 7 while passing some lapped cars. Hartanto took advantage of the opportunity and took the lead and about 4 minutes later, the checkered flag.
Hartanto now has won all three races this season and remains unbeaten. Chittum has now finished second to Hartanto at every race. The BTM Motorworks team of Chittum now have to try again at the next round at California Speedway in Fontana, California to see if they can beat Hartanto. Behind the pair, there was a separate intense three way battle for third place between Michael McColligan's Racing Beat/Idemitsu Mazda RX8, Vincent Parker's Mini Mania Mini Cooper S and Rich Woo's Gogogear.com Acura Integra. McColligan had third place to himself for most of the race and he was followed by Woo who was hounded by Parker. With one lap to go, McColligan made an uncharacteristic mistake at Turn 6 and both Woo and Parker went by. In a split second, McColligan's first podium hopes had evaporated. Woo, who is a USTCC veteran, took over third place but now Parker was even closer. "I wanted to slow down on that last lap because I was very nervous that something may break on the car. I kept thinking about everything that could possibly break but I could not let the Mini pass me. Needless to say, I was very happy to see the checkered flag," said Rich Woo afterwards. Vincent Parker won the Dupli Color Top Rookie award for his fourth place finish.
Andrie Hartanto won the Go Pro Hero award and won a Motorsports HERO camera for his outstanding drive.
Andy Chittum won the AEM Hard Luck award, winning an AEM wideband air fuel gauge.
Rich Woo won the DXG Camera award, winning a DXG 1080p HD camcorder for his drive from the back of the pack to the podium.
Michael McColligan won the Team DI Impressive Drive award for his great drive to third place for most of the race, winning a Team DI pair of Nomex driving gloves.
Matthew Yeung won the second Team DI Impressive Drive award for significantly improving his lap time from qualifying to race. Yeung won a Team DI helmet bag for his efforts.