March 6th, 2008/Richmond, Ca. – The 2008 United States Touring Car Championship is set to begin this weekend of March 8-9 at Thunderhill Park Raceway in Willows, California, located two hours north of San Francisco. The long and challenging track made famous for the longest endurance race in the world, the NASA US Air Force 25 Hour of Thunderhill, will host the USTCC season opener for the second year in a row.
Ali Arsham, USTCC series coordinator, stepping out of the race car after the 2007 season to concentrate on the series fulltime, had a pretty busy off season with a new Prize Monies structure, locked in new series sponsors, a new title sponsor and a new spec-tire program from NITTO Tire. “We been trying to get the NITTO Tire program underway. Unfortunately, many things beyond our control have slowed down the process. But as they say ‘better late than never.’”, said Arsham. Official announcement of the new NITTO Tire USTCC program is to be release at later date. Fortunately enough, the first shipment of tires arrived on time before the season opener and teams have already received their tires for the season opener. “The new NITTO Tire program is a very neat (no pun intended) and unique spec-tire program to any series out there, each USTCC driver/car combo entry will receive four free NITTO NT-01 tires with their paid entry fee and season registration fee and will receive two free tire with paid entry fee for each of the remainder of the season schedule races.”, continued Arsham.
NITTO Tire commonly associated to and most famous for their successful participation in drift competition worldwide extended their North American motor sports program with the U.S. Touring Car Championship. “We are trilled to extend our tire program and establish a partnership with the USTCC, it’s one of the most relevant and competitive road racing sprint format series in North America.”, said John Wu, director and head of NITTO Tire Marketing. “With a combination of speed and great competition matched with the versatility, durability and consistency of our D.O.T. approved NT-01 road race tires for the USTCC series, it’s a win-win situation. Our tires are proven winner with our successful win at this past season’s 2007 25 Hour of Thunderhill in our second try.”, continued Wu.
NITTO Tire equipped 2007 Apex-I Rookie of the Year Winner Bret Strom’s Diffonline Team BMW 328i on its way to a class victory. The NT-01s performed flawlessly, and at the end of the 25-hour race, the team had completed 615 laps, five more than the second-place finishers. The team competed in the EO class, which is the fastest class that requires D.O.T. tires.
2007 USTCC Co-Champions Curt Simmons & Pete Bovenberg of MBO Racing Group looks to defend their title along with Dodge for the Manufacturer’s Title. But the rest of the 2008 NITTO Tire USTCC field is primed and will be gunning for the top step.
First official practice for the 2008 NITTO Tire U.S. Touring Car Championship Round 1 starts on Saturday, March 8th at 8:00 am. First Qualifying will be on Saturday, March 8th in the afternoon. The NITTO Tire USTCC field will take the track for it season opener race on Sunday, March 9th. Event updates and results will be available here on the U.S. Touring Car Championship official website.