Willows, CA -- Curt Simmons of San Jose, CA pulled out a victory in the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California on May 23, 2010. Simmons, who usually drives a Dodge SRT-4, filled in for his teammate and drove the Red Zone Performance Honda Civic and missed qualifying entirely and had to start from the back of the field.
The points leader going into the race was Ken Dobson of Sonoma, California driving the Cobb Tuning Mazdaspeed 3. Dobson was dominant all weekend and topped every session's times but at the end of the race Dobson had to settle for second place. Finishing behind Dobson were the pair of rookies, Ron Valtierra and Felipe Cabezas in the TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3.
Simmons relied on strategy to try to get the win. The team's plan was to pit once for fuel and beat Dobson in the pits. On the first lap, the Honda's window net came undone and Simmons was faced with a choice. Keep driving and hope that nobody notices or pit and lose time. Simmons chose to pit right away. "I figured if I don't pit right away, I will get black flagged and have to pull in anyway," said Simmons afterwards. After the early pit stop, Simmons strategy switched to driving as fast as possible to try to catch Dobson who had a healthy lead. Simmons managed to set the quick lap of the race by going nearly a second quicker than Dobson. Dobson pitted about halfway into the two hour race and took on ten gallons of fuel. Simmons went an extra 30 minutes before needing fuel showing the fuel economy advantage of the Honda. With 20 minutes before the finish of the race, Dobson had to pit once again for another five gallons of fuel. That second stop was all Simmons needed to take the lead.
|Felipe Cabezas and Ron Valtierra , driving the TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3 finished third 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.|
|Tony Mak won the Mothers Clean Car award and received a Mothers professional car care cleaning kit for having the cleanest car.|
|Tom Milburn won the Go Pro Hero award and won a Motorsports HERO camera for his outstanding drive to a fourth place finish from the back of the pack.|
|Ken Dobson won the AEM award for being setting pole position. Dobson won an AEM wideband gauge for his great move.|
|Curt Simmons won the Stri Gauge Your Performance award, winning a Stri boost gauge for his team's great efforts to pull out a win despite an early setback.|
|Tony Mak won the Team DI Impressive Drive award winning a Team DI helmet bag for going the hardship story of the race, blowing up a transmission on the opening lap of the race.|
|Tom Milburn won the second Team DI Impressive Drive award and won a Team DI balaclava for his efforts.|
|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.|
|Ironclad Gloves and Performance Wear presented each of the podium winners with a pair of Ironclad gloves.|