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Kraus/Bovenberg Team Sweep Rounds 5 and 6 at Sonoma

Sonoma, CA – The team of Kraus and Bovenberg enjoyed a terrific weekend winning both races from pole position in the Ettore Squeegees/Roger Kraus Racing/Blacktrax Honda Civic at the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) on September 22-23, 2012. Finishing second on both days was the AutoPartsWarehouse.com/K-PAX Volvo C30 of Robert Thorne. Finishing third on Saturday was Andy Chittum in the BTM/Niello Mini/RM Peterson Construction Mini Cooper S. Finishing third on Sunday was the Roger Kraus Racing/Rota Wheels Honda Prelude of Chris Lock.

In the GT class, VJ Mirzayan’s Achilles Motorsports/Rotora Brakes BMW M3 took the win on Saturday with Ken Kurtz in the Yokohama/Weld Racing/Baer Brakes/TPIS Pontiac Trans Am taking the win on Sunday.


The Bovenberg/Kraus Ettore Squeegees/Roger Kraus Racing/Blacktrax Honda Civic was the car to beat as he laid down a 1.58.161 lap which bested the second place time of Thorne by half a second. Another second back was Chittum who was happy to start third. The Civic was pulling away about a second per lap and managed to finish about 15 seconds ahead of the Volvo at the finish. Chittum’s Mini was right in the fight with the Volvo and finished a second apart.

In the GT race, the BMW M3 of Mirzayan did not have an easy job as the BMW and the Pontiac were involved in a huge battle to the finish line. At the end, Mirzayan managed to finish about five seconds ahead of the Pontiac thanks to the super twisty track configuration of Sonoma. Mirzayan later said that, “if we were racing at another track with a longer straight, I would not have been able to win.” Finishing third was Geoff Sykes in the European Motor Works BMW M3.


Sunday’s race was highlighted by a poor start by the Kraus/Bovenberg Honda. By Turn 2, the Honda was barely in the top ten position and looked like it was going to be a difficult day. Meanwhile the Volvo of Thorne managed to steal the first place position and was being chased by the Mini of Chittum. The Honda would not give up and was pushing hard and by the end of the lap had managed to claw itself to fifth place. On lap four Kraus was in third place and only four seconds ahead was the Mini of Chittum. Finally on lap 5, Kraus made his move and moved into second place and started to chase down the Volvo of Thorne. The gap kept closing by about a second per lap and by lap 10, Kraus was only .247 seconds behind. On lap 13, under braking at Turn 7 the Honda managed to sneak under the Volvo and took the lead. Once in front, the Honda managed to keep the lead and finished about 3 seconds ahead of Thorne at the finish line. Chris Lock drove a fantastic race in another Honda and finished third.

In the GT class, the Saturday winner Mirzayan had a suspension issue and the team elected to not start the race for safety concerns. Ken Kurtz started the race in the back of the field after missing qualifying due to a mechanical problem. Starting on pole was the BMW of San Francisco BMW M3 of Henry Schmitt. Schmitt did not get a great opening lap and found himself in second place after lap one behind the European Motor Works/Motul/Yokohama/Meyle BMW M3 of John Handal. Geoff Sykes was in third place also in a BMW. Kurtz knew that he had a fast car and quickly worked his way up through the field. By lap 3 he was in 21st position. By lap 5 he was in 16th position overall and had managed to pass the BMW of Sykes. Schmitt managed to do very well and finished in third place.

The teams now look forward to the next round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 20-21, 2012.

Special Awards

Wine Country Motor Sports Award

Chris Lock won the $150 gift certificate from Wine Country Motor Sports for placing third in the race in touring.

Wine Country Motor Sports Award - GT

Geoff Sykes won the Wine Country Motor Sports GT class award and took home a new OMP Sports racing suit.

Go Pro Hero Award

The Go Pro Hero of the Race was Brandon Kraus for winning the race and received a Go Pro high definition camera for his work.

Auto Tech Interiors Gauge Award

VJ Mirzayan took the Auto Tech Interiors gauge award for a great drive winning the GT class in great fashion.

Stack Gauge Award

The Stack Gauge award went to Pete Bovenberg who had lots of transmission issues all weekend long but managed to finish 13th in Touring Car.

Ironclad Performance Gloves Award

Doug Makishima won the Ironclad award for working so hard all weekend after a crash to get the car on a frame machine after a heavy crash on Saturday and making the race on Sunday.

Mothers Clean Car Award

The Mothers Clean Car Award went to Billy Maher’s bright neon green BMW.

LeMans Karting Fremont Seat Time Award

The LeMans Karting Fremont Seat Time Award went to Roslyn Shen 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

Daryl Chan’s team earned a pair of Swift Springs for going through three engines until they finally fixed their reliability issues.

Sampson Racing Radios Award

The Sampson Racing Radios Hardship Award carbon fiber headset went to Tom Milburn who was the first car to be out of the race with mechanical issues.

Go Light Award

The Go Light award went to Rob Krider for a great job in his debut race. He won a brand new remote controlled Go Light.

Hawk Brake Award

Tommy Lo received the Hawk Brake Award for a great battle for most of the race making his car impossible to pass.

Project Mu Award

Percy Howard took home a set of Project Mu racing brake pads for working through mechanical issues and finishing the race.

Airaid Breathtaking Award

Airaid Breathtaking Award was given to RJ Reeves who made a bold move to jump four positions at the start.

Advanced Clutch Technology Award

Tom Lepper did the clutch move and won the Advanced Clutch Technology Clutch Move of the Race Award by starting out in a brand new car that he had never driven and finished seventh.

Specialty Products Award

Tom Lepper donated his car to a needy team and drove a brand new car without testing to a seventh place finish winning a Specialty Products alignment gauge for his efforts.

HoverCam Document Camera Award

The HoverCam Document Camera Award went to actress Roslyn Shen who came all the way from Taiwan to race in the USTCC race.

DXG USA Camera Award

The DXG USA Camera Award was given to Andy Chittum who had a fantastic weekend, finishing in third and fifth. With the arrival of a new baby, Andy will be using his HD DXG camcorder a lot in the future.

iGrille Top Rookie Award

The iGrille Top Rookie Award went to Chris Lock who was the highest placing rookie in the field.

Polar Award

Winning a Polar heart rate monitor watch and the Polar Heart Stopping award was Dave Lang for finishing the race with only fourth gear.

Blackstone Labs

Blackstone Labs, provided a free engine oil analysis to Geoff Sykes who started his first USTCC race.

DelCity.net Award

Tommy Lo won the DelCity.net $300 gift certificate award.