Willows, CA -- Ken Dobson of Sonoma, CA won his second race of the season at the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship race at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California on April 25, 2010. Dobson started from pole position and lead every lap on his way to the podium's top step. Dobson was driving the Cobb Tuning Mazdaspeed 3. While Dobson had a relatively easy victory, behind him was a huge battle. Four cars were fighting for second place for most of the race and kept switching positions. The team of Valtierra and Cabezas driving the Deborah Czarski Mazdaspeed 3 qualified in second position and managed to stay in second place during the early stages of the race. Behind the Valtierra/Cabezas entry was the MBO Racing Honda Civic of Pete Bovenberg who seemed to get faster as the race progressed. Behind Bovenberg was his MBO Racing teammate, Curt Simmons who was driving the Sunnyvale Dodge SRT-4. Simmons missed all of Sunday's track time due to a broken crankshaft in the engine on Saturday and had to start in the back of the grid. Also starting in the back was the Track Concierge BMW M3 of Navid Kahangi who also missed qualifying.
Once the green flag dropped, Dobson managed to get away from the pack but the others were engaged in a huge battle for that crucial second place trophy. As the race progressed, Kahangi and Simmons started moving up. Then the big battle became a two way fight for second place between Simmons and Kahangi. On lap 8 Kahangi used the BMW's handling to go for an outside pass on the Dodge at Turn 3. Kahangi then started to pull a small gap. As soon as a little calm seemed to prevail, a full course yellow appeared for a broken car and a muffler that was in the racing line that had fallen off Bovenberg's Honda.
At the restart Dobson dropped the hammer down and started setting fast laps. "I could see what was going on behind me and I wanted no part of it," said Dobson afterward. After cooling off the car and the tires, Kahangi suddenly had a very quick car and was able to hang with Dobson and the two of them managed to open a small gap to the third place Dodge of Simmons who was hounded by Bovenberg. With one lap to go Bovenberg put on a last second move on Simmons and passed him at Turn 14 and grabbing third place. A little bit later Kahangi was forced to park the BMW with mechanical problems. That meant that Bovenberg was now in second place and Simmons, after a long day with a very tired crew, earned a position on the podium.
|Felipe Cabezas, driving the Valtierra/Cabezas Mazdaspeed 3 finished fourth and were the highest placing rookies in the race, earning the team the Dupli Color Top Rookie award and winning a host of Dupli Color products.|
|Ken Dobson won the Mothers Clean Car award and received a Mothers professional car care cleaning kit for having the cleanest car.|
|Felipe Cabezas won the Go Pro Hero award and won a Motorsports HERO camera for his outstanding drive to victory circle. Cabezas was a rookie but drove like a professional as he battled with some of the best for the duration of the race.|
|Curt Simmons won the Stri Gauge Your Performance award, winning a Stri boost gauge for his team's great efforts to not give up and rebuild the engine on all day Sunday to get the car to the starting grid and to finish on the podium.|
|Navid Kahangi won the Team DI Impressive Drive award winning a Team DI helmet bag for having a great run from the back of the grid to second place. Larry Bani won the second Team DI Impressive Drive award and won a Team DI balaclava for his efforts.|
|Pete Bovenberg won the AEM Best Pass of the Race for his great pass in the closing stages of the race at Turn 14 on his teammate Curt Simmons. Bovenberg won an AEM wideband gauge for his great move.|
|Optima Batteries, the Ultimate Power Source, presented a special award to the top three finishers on the podium presenting each of them with a brand new Optima Battery.|