Harper overall winner, Arsham sets record for youngest class winner

Race start
Race start
Photos by Richard Pochop

After a long delay, the United States Touring Car Championship 2020 season was finally under way last week at Buttonwillow Raceway, just north of Los Angeles, CA.

Buttonwillow, CA — The GT field had a very diverse six car field with some very fast cars but finishing first in the GT class and overall was the AP Racing/BC Forged Chevrolet Corvette of Rob Harper (IRL). In the Sportsman class, Reza Arsham (IRA) won in the Konig Wheels/GoGoGear.com BMW M3 becoming the youngest driver ever to win a USTCC race at 20 years old. Doug Makishima (USA) extended his win streak from last season and won the Super Touring class in the ARG/Summit Tech BMW M3. Gary Sheehan (USA) had mechanical issues but still managed to take the win in the Touring Car class in the GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

The start was full of action as usual with standing starts but Makishima managed to come out ahead of everyone else. Harper used the big V8 engine of the Corvette and soon took over the lead while Larry Bani (IRA) pushed his GoGoGear.com/Konig Wheels BMW 335i closer to him. Viktor Czapla (GER) also showed the strength of his Wob-cars Audi R8 and made himself part of the lead group in the GT class.

Behind them in the Touring Car class, Gary Trudeau (USA) took the early lead in the Gary’s Airbag Service Hyundai Genesis Coupe but he was soon overtaken by Sheehan’s Hyundai. Charging through the field though was Victor Ng (HKG) in the AR-G Motorsports Honda S2000. Ng was last on lap one but took his time and passed one car at a time and by lap 4 he was in the lead of the Touring Car class. That’s when a small mistake at the tight Star Mazda turn caused him to lose control. The S2000 spun and came to a stop in the middle of the track. Fortunately, all cars avoided hitting him but he found himself at the back of the pack once again. He charged forward and eventually finished third behind Trudeau and Sheehan.

Winner #33 Reza Arsham, Kneeling
#33 Ali Arsham

The Sportsman class is usually where the action is and today was no exception. Reza Arsham took over the lead at the start but was passed by Pete Bovenberg (NED) who was driving the MBO Motorsports Honda Civic. Bovenberg had a mechanical issue and had to pull over, handing the lead to Arsham. He never looked back setting a lap record in the process and becoming the youngest ever USTCC race winner. Dan Zargham (USA) was in second place most of the race but a brake malfunction ended his day aboard the MBO Motorsports Dodge SRT4. Alfred Macugay (PHI), who made a return to racing after many years off, used the great handling of the Walker Telecommunications Honda Civic to take second place and Michael McColligan used his great knowledge of his home track to gain third place in the Idemitsu/Raybestos Mazda RX8.

Winning the Top team award was the GoGoGear.com racing team with two wins, Reza Arsham in Sportsman and Gary Sheehan in Touring Car. The Plastex Plastic Repair Kit Top Rookie award went to Gary Trudeau with a second place finish in his class.

Next, the teams move to the familiar Thunderhill Raceway Park where many have a lot of experience on August 1-2. Story by Niki Arsham

USTCC is a professional road racing series comprising of late model sport compact sedans such as BMW 3 series, Mazdaspeed 3, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, Audi R8, Ford Mustang, Honda Civic and others. The cars use slightly modified engines and highly modified suspensions with aerodynamic ground effects and sticky Hankook slick race tires. The races can be seen exclusively on Final Drive TV available on NBC Sports on Xfinity cable, Dish Network, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse. For more information on USTCC, visit www.ustcc.com

Results

Pos Class # Driver Model Team Best Time Laps Points
1 GT 28 Rob Harper (IRL) Chevy Corvette Red Panther Motorsport 01:54.957 12 100
2 GT 30 Larry Bani (IRA) BMW 335i GoGoGear.com 01:55.021 12 90
3 GT 888 Viktor Czapla-R (GER) Audi R8 Czapla Racing 01:56.627 12 85
1 ST 23 Doug Makishima (USA) BMW M3 ARG Motorsports 01:56.094 12 100
4 GT 46 Ayed Alnajjar-R (JOR) BMW M3 Kings Auto Body 01:57.036 12 80
2 ST 53 Reto Baumann (SUI) VW Jetta Red Panther Motorsport 01:58.216 12 90
1 TC 31 Gary Sheehan (USA) Hyundai Genesis GoGoGear.com 02:00.725 12 100
1 SP 35 Reza Arsham (IRA) BMW M3 GoGoGear.com 02:01.612 12 100
2 TC 52 Gary Trudeau-R (USA) Hyundai Genesis Red Panther Motorsport 02:01.790 12 90
3 TC 82 Victor Ng (HKG) Honda S2000 ARG Motorsports 02:01.379 12 85
5 GT 19 Chris Alliegro (USA) BMW M3 ARG Motorsports 02:03.165 12 75
4 TC 33 Ali Arsham (IRA) Hyundai Genesis GoGoGear.com 02:04.098 12 80
2 SP 16 Alfred Macugay-R (PHI) Honda Civic Walker Motorsports 02:05.666 11 90
3 SP 36 Michael McColligan (IRL) Mazda RX8 MC Racing 02:07.249 11 85
4 SP 2 Pete Bovenberg (NED) Honda Civic MBO Motorsports 02:05.889 11 80
5 SP 5 Dan Zargham-R (USA) Dodge SRT4 MBO Motorsports 02:04.091 6 75
6 GT 107 Will Wattanawongkiri-R Nissan 350z WWR Motorsports 02:15.665 1 70

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