Fremont, CA - The Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) held its annual awards banquet and karting challenge at the beautiful Le Mans Karting facilities in Fremont, California. The night featured awards presentations followed by a karting challenge between the drivers and crew. At the end of the night, the 2012 USTCC Champion Robert Thorne stood once again on the podium winning the karting challenge.
There were two special awards presented during the night. The first was the Miller Welders Crew Chief of the Year award. This award is presented to the hardest working Crew Chief of the year and the winner takes home a brand new Miller MIG welder. This year the competition was very tight with several nominees each with a great chance to win. At the end though, the vote was unanimous to present the award to Deborah Valtierra of TNI Racing.
A special Achievement Award was presented to long time USTCC competitor and two time Champion Pete Bovenberg of MBO Motorsports team who has been participating in almost every USTCC race since 2005. Bovenberg has had many good days and bad days as have most racers. Sometimes the day ends with a blown engine and sometimes the day ends on the podium. The MBO Motorsports team and team Principal Pete Bovenberg have never gotten discouraged and always fight back and never give up. They are always a great inspiration in the paddock.
Of course the main award was the Drivers Championship award which was presented to Robert Thorne, driving the KPAX Volvo C30. Thorne started the season with a win and ended up winning the championship on a tie breaker. Thorne picked up his award along with the Sparco Championship jacket, courtesy of Sparco USA.
Once the awards were over, the racing got started with 12 teams racing the unique half indoor and half outdoor kart track at Le Mans Karting of Fremont. The 2012 Drivers Champion, Robert Thorne qualified on pole position for the main race and lead the early stages of the race. Thorne's teammate was Ali Arsham, driver of the GoGoGear.com/UTI Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The duo were fast all race long with probably the quickest pit stops of the race.
Second place in the early stages belonged to the team of Andy Chittum, driver of the RM Peterson Construction Mini Cooper S and 13 year old Reza Arsham of the GoGogear.com Racing team. The team of three time Champion Dave Brown and TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3 driver Felipe Cabezas was glued onto the Chittum/Arsham rear bumper for much of the race. Chittum/Arsham were in second place for most of the race but near the end they were passed by the Brown/Cabezas team for position.