Napa, CA – The Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) have announced several improvements for the 2011 racing calendar. The changes revolve around new support from an old friend, Jerry Kunzman, Executive Director of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). NASA’s support has allowed the series to increase its prize money structure for 2011. Other changes include new sponsors that will help pay a tow fund for competitors to race at selected spectator events.
With new support from NASA, the series will benefit from increase prize money for every race. As an example, the winner shall receive over $1000 based on a six car field. If there are 20 cars starting, that number jumps up to $1828. Even better news is that last place is still guaranteed to receive $450. Kunzman and USTCC Director Ali Arsham became business partners twenty years ago and decided to rejuvenate the series by improving the formula.
More hot news involves the announcement that the series will race at selected pro weekends on street courses and some of North America’s hottest race tracks. The plan calls for two such races during the season to showcase the series to an even wider audience. To help the teams with costs associated with running such races, the series is in talks with a new sponsor who will be providing a tow fund to the teams to pay some of their expenses. “Rising fuel prices have made cross country racing very expensive and we were eager to find a way to make things less expensive for our teams. If we can help pay their fuel bill for towing their trailer across the country, that is a huge bonus,” said Arsham.
More news for 2011 revolves around more of what USTCC has been doing lately in terms of racing format. “We have tried to change things around before with longer races and unique formats. We plan on doing more such things in 2011 as much as the schedule allows,” commented Arsham. One of those is having at least one two hour race with a required pit stop along the way. Others may be knock out qualifying sessions or required pit stops.
One of the great successes of the series was the implementation of TV coverage with the help of Final Drive TV to cover the races. In 2011, that will continue and every race is scheduled to be shown on a tape delay basis. A new Editor for the TV show should provide better coverage of the races for 2011. The USTCC fan base is growing and many people are very much interested in watching touring car races from all around the world. “The TV shows allows our fans to see and hear what our sport is all about and become involved,” said Arsham. In addition to the TV show, the series is poised to increase its exposure on the Internet on social media sites with a new Director of Social Media whose job will be to increase coverage of the series on places such as Facebook.
All the changes and improvements seem to be working as new teams are already building cars for 2011. Many new cars are scheduled to make their debut at the first race of the season on March 19-20, 2011 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. It looks like there will be another big battle between some of the best automobile manufacturers for one of the best seasons of touring car racing in the United States.