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McClure Scores First Win at the Season Opener of the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship

Willows, CA (April 14, 2013)– After a brutal battle, Brad McClure comes out victorious at the opening round of the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) at Thunderhill Raceway. McClure was driving the BTM Motorwerks/GoGoGear.com BMW M3 in only his second ever USTCC race. Dave Brown had the lead for most of the race and finished second in the Competition Clutch/Hawk Brake BMW M3. Mike Lock finished third.

On Saturday, Bob Bradfield won the pole position by finishing first in the preliminary race in the TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3. Unfortunately, the celebration was short lived as Bradfield was stripped of his pole position time after passing under a yellow flag during a Sunday practice session. Bradfield was to start in the back of the field while his teammate Doug Makishima started on pole position. Next to Makishima’s BMW M3 was another BMW M3 driven by two time USTCC Champion, Dave Brown.

At the drop of the green flag, Makishima got a little too much wheel spin which is all that Brown needed to get the jump to the lead on the outside of Turn 1. Brown was followed by McClure’s BMW and the TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3 of Tim Barber.

There were several lead changes during the race and any one of the top five drivers had a chance to win. In the early stages, it looked like it would be dominated by Brown but Barber was not convinced. He latched on to the lead pack and took advantage of a momentum loss by McClure to make the pass for second place going into the braking zone of Turn 9. A few laps later, he got a run on Brown’s BMW going into Turn 10 and made the pass for the lead. Once in the lead Barber started to pull away and suddenly he looked like the driver to beat. Unfortunately, a lap later cruel racing luck came down hard on Barber as he had to park the car with a blown turbocharger.

An oil spill by a blown transmission caused a shuffle in the field with several cars spinning off the track and separated the main field from the rest of the pack. Much of the track was covered with oil or dirt after only a few laps of racing.

On the last lap, Brown was leading with McClure right on his bumper waiting for a mistake. Two time champions don’t make mistakes very often but McClure was determined to force an error. He faked to the inside to force Brown to cover the inside and tried a very difficult outside pass at Turn 14 and Turn 15. The move worked and McClure was rewarded with the white flag. He led the rest of the way and brought the car home to a terrific win among an ecstatic crew. “I knew it was going to be a short race so we had to come out of the hole as hot as we could to try to pick up any positions. The top four cars were really closely matched with three different makes among the top four,” said McClure after the race. “Overall, I was very happy with the outcome and look forward to racing with these guys some more,” commented a very excited McClure.

In the GT field, Geoff Sykes, driving the Replay TV/European Motor Works BMW M3, won in a very tight battle over Daniel Akhromstev who was driving the Domport Auto Body BMW M3. The two of them were bumper to bumper for much of the race and Sykes just edged out Akhromstev at the end. Rob Rodriguez in the TH Motorsports Noble M400 finished third.

Championship Awards

Cobra Top Team Award
Cobra radar detectors are legendary at picking up signals. One signal that was picked up is that Team GoGoGear.com is here to play. Out of all of the teams with multiple cars, they were the only ones with all three cars finishing in the top 10 with McClure in first place and Bani in fourth place. The team is now leading the Cobra Top Team points championship and earned an awesome new Cobra Vedetta radar detector.
Orange Electronics Sportsman Award
Tommy Lo is quick. He is so quick that he easily won the Orange Electronics Sportsman Award and the Orange Tire Pressure Monitoring System to make him go quicker still. Lo finished seventh in the race.
Plastex Top Rookie
This year’s rookie class is full of talent and it is likely that the champion will be a rookie. The Plastex Top Rookie was also the race winner, Brad McClure. McClure won a Plastex plastic repair kit along with the lead in the points championship.

Special Awards

CRC Industries Award
Dave Brown won a mixed bag of automotive chemicals from CRC Industries for working hard to get the car to the race within a week of purchasing the car.
Supertooth Bluetooth Award
Gregg Hughes entered his first USTCC race not knowing what to expect. He finished in sixth place and won a Supertooth Bluetooth device.
Race Ramps Award
Shawn Yu earned a set of Race Ramps for his hard luck during the entire weekend as his Honda missed the start of the race with mechanical issues.
Disc Brake Australia Award
DBA awarded a free set of their 4000 or 5000 high performance rotors to Tom Milburn for bringing a new Acura to the first race of the season.
DXG Award
The DXG action move of the race went to Larry Bani who has shown that he excels at the starts and jumped several positions at the start to the lead pack. Bani earned a free DXG action camera for his efforts.
HoverCam Award
The HoverCam document camera award went to Pete Bovenberg who suffered a blown transmission in his car and had to jump in a backup car and finished in tenth place.
SPC Award
Specialty Products Company awarded one of their terrific camber/caster gauges to Geoff Sykes for a terrific race and win in the GT class.
ACT Award
Daniel Akhromstev almost won the GT class but he did manage to earn the Advanced Clutch Technology $500 award.
Airaid Award
Mark McManus has been trying to get the team’s Lexus to the USTCC races for almost a year. The team finally made it to the grid and won the Airaid air intake kit award.
Project Mu Award
Project Mu brake pads are some of the best in the world and Percy Howard got a free set to use in his Honda to go along with his new high power engine.
Sampson Racing Award
Sampson Radio Communications award went to Dave Brown who communicated his intentions to win at the drop of the flag.
Swift Spring Award
Swift Springs are one of the keys to going quickly around a circuit and Ali Arsham now has a free set to tune his car.
LeMans Karting Seat TimeAward
LeMans Karting (LMK) of Fremont is a fantastic place to spend your time. John Klusendorf earned a $100 gift certificate at LMK to hone his skills.
Mothers Polish Clean Car Award
There were a lot of beautiful new cars on the USTCC grid but perhaps none were as beautiful as Rob Rodriguez’ Noble M400 who won a free car cleaning kit from Mothers.
Ironclad Performance Crew Award
The TNI Racing crew had a busy Saturday night as they had to search locally for some spare suspension parts and once the parts were found had to install them late at night to get them ready for the first session on Sunday morning. They won our praise and a box of Ironclad’s superb crew gloves.
Stack Gauges Pass of the Race Award
Bob Bradfield had a very fast car that was supposed to start on pole but ended up having to start at the very back of the field. It did not take Bob very long to work his way up and he eventually finished fifth. Bob earned some nice Stack gauges for his efforts.
Whiteline Performance Suspension Award
Doug Makishima came to the first race armed with a cannon to win. He was doing well until an unavoidable body contact ended his day. He earned a $300 gift certificate for Whiteline Suspension products to improve his chances at the next race.
Optima Battery Ultimate Power Source Award
The top three in Touring Car were Brad McClure, Dave Brown and Mike Lock. The top three in GT were Geoff Sykes, Daniel Akhromstev and Rob Rodriguez. All six drivers won a free Optima Battery for their hard work.
ATI Gauge Award
John Klusendorf thought his weekend and championship were done when a suspension piece broke on his Mitsubishi. With not enough time to fix the damage, he was ready to give up. But then he found a backup car and finished the race. He won some Stri gauges from Auto Tech Interiors for his work.
Go Pro Award
Brad McClure won the race and the winner of the race wins a new GoPro camera. It is that simple.