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Team Autoparts Warehouse/K-PAX Wins with Volvo C30

Newcomer Robert Thorne, driving the Autoparts Warehouse/K-PAX Volvo C-30, won the season opener of the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) at Sonoma, California on March 11, 2012. Felipe Cabezas, driving the TNI Racing/Performance In Frame Tuning Mazdaspeed 3, was only seconds behind the Volvo. Finishing third in a very impressive debut with a new car and missing all practice and qualifying sessions was Curt Simmons in the Cornwell Tools/Stevens Creek Dodge SRT4. Chris Lock won the iGrille Top Rookie finishing fifth in the Roger Kraus Racing/Rota Wheels Honda Prelude.

In the GT Class, Skip Rebozzi finished first in the Morgan Hill Cross Fit Porsche 911 over Robin Riner's R&D Builders Ford Mustang. Billy Maher's Bavarian Tuning BMW M3 finished third.

The race started off with Thorne starting in the pole position next to the Brown/Chicca Hawk/San Rafael Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. At the drop of the flag, Brown took advantage of the all wheel drive of the Mitsubishi and launched himself into the lead. Thorne and Cabezas followed and waited for their opportunity knowing that the race is a long one and anything can happen. Soon the trio were starting to pass slower traffic and Thorne saw an opportunity and made his move into the lead. That lasted for a few laps when Brown returned the favor and took advantage of slower traffic to box Thorne and retake the lead. Brown managed to hold his lead until the Mitsubishi had ignition problems and was forced to pit. At first the team thought that the car was low on fuel so they added fuel and sent Brown out but Brown reported that the problem remained. There was no time to pit again so Brown was forced to drive with the problem and slow down a bit. Upfront the battle became a two way fight between the Volvo of Thorne and the Mazda of Cabezas. Cabezas managed to turn in the quickest lap time but was forced to stop twice for fuel while Thorne only needed one stop. That was the difference in the race.

Simmons managed to drive a clean race with no problems in an untested new car to finish third. Simmons pitted once on lap 43 and managed to stay ahead of everyone except the top two. At the end of the race, Simmons was very excited with the outcome of the race.

Special Awards

Wine Country Motor Sports Award
Dave Brown won the $150 gift certificate from Wine Country Motor Sports for placing 7th in the race.
Go Pro Hero Award
The Go Pro Hero of the Race was Robert Thorne for winning the race and received a Go Pro high definition camera for his work.
Auto Tech Interiors Gauge Award
Ken Kurtz organized a great group of GT competitors and took the Auto Tech Interiors gauge award.
Stack Gauge Award
The Stack Gauge award went to Gordon Pun for a great race that ended too soon due to mechanical problems.
Ironclad Performance Gloves Award
The top 3 positions received Ironclad Performance Wear mechanics gloves.
Mothers Clean Car Award
The Mothers Clean Car Award went to Robert Thorne, driving the beautifully prepared Volvo C30.
LeMans Karting Fremont Seat Time Award
The LeMans Karting Fremont Seat Time Award went to Shawn Yu for having the slowest fast lap of the race.
Optima Battery Award
Optima Batteries light up most of the engines in the USTCC and Optima provides a free battery to the top three finishers.
Swift Springs Swift Move Award
Tom Milburn drove a conservative but swift race and finished in the top 10 after starting in the back of the field, earning himself a pair of Swift Springs.
Sampson Racing Radios Award
The Sampson Racing Radios Award gift certificate went to Felipe Cabezas for a great drive to second place.
Go Light Award
The Go Light award went to Felipe Cabezas for turning in the fastest lap of the race and Cabezas earned a brand new remote controlled Go Light.
Hawk Brake Award
Doug Makishima received the Hawk Brake Award for a great drive to the front of the field and outbraking several key opponents. Makishima took home a new set of Hawk racing brake pads.
Project Mu Award
The Acutech Racing team debuted their new JDM Honda Integra and won the Project Mu award with great speed and reliability. The driver, RJ Reeves, took home a set of Project Mu racing brake pads.
Airaid Breathtaking Award
Airaid Breathtaking Award was given to Pete Bovenberg who was fast all race long but suffered many hardships during the race and was not able to finish.
Advanced Clutch Technology Award
Ron Valtierra did the clutch move and won the Advanced Clutch Technology Clutch Move of the Race Award by taking a car that had so many problems and finishing in eight place.
Specialty Products Award
Ali Arshamís team made some smart tactical moves before and during the race with a car that had seen very little testing and almost made the podium, finishing in fourth place winning a Specialty Products alignment gauge for his efforts.
The HoverCam Document Camera Award went to Curt Simmons for missing all of Saturday and showing up with a brand new car to finish third place.
DXG USA Camera Award
The DXG USA Camera Award was given to Chris Lock who drove a brilliant race and would have probably won the race had the team not spilled fuel in the pits and been given a five minute penalty. Lock won a DXG HD camcorder for his hard work.
Affinity TV Award
Tom Lepper earned the Affinity TV Award for jumping into the back up car after the primary car had issues and managed to finish the race in ninth place. Lepper took home a new flat screen HD TV for the superb drive.
iGrille Top Rookie Award
The iGrille Top Rookie of the Race Award went to AJ Gracie, finishing 12th.
Polar Award
Winning a Polar heart rate monitor watch and the Polar Heart Stopping award was Larry Bani for a terrific three way fight in the early stages of the race.