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Ken Dobson Wins Two in Monterey in GT. Tim Barber and Mike Whelden win in Touring Car

Monterey, CA. August 2, 2015 -- Ken Dobson won the GT class and Tim Barber won the Touring class at Round 3 of the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For Round 4, it was Dobson once again with the win in GT but this time Michael Whelden won the Touring Car class.

Round 3 was very difficult for everyone due to numerous cautions and full course yellow. Tim Barber took the early lead in his TNI Racing Mazdaspeed 3 but as the race went on his lead seemed to be diminished. Soon the MBO Motorsports Honda Civic of Pete Bovenberg was charging hard through the pack and was on Barber’s rear bumper. Barber had a mirror full of Bovenberg who at that time was almost a second a lap quicker. It looked like it would just be a matter of time until Bovenberg made the pass but suddenly one of the competitors blew an engine coming into Turn 10 which dumped oil all over the track. At least six cars ended up spinning in the oil but amazingly, no one hit anything. The full course caution caused mass confusion among the spinning cars and the amount of debris on the track.

Meanwhile in the GT class, Dobson’s FFR GTM was leading but his biggest challenger, Daniel Akhromstev’s Red Star Racing BMW M3, had issues as he broke a half shaft right at the start and could not even take the green flag. That gave a bit of breathing room to Dobson but behind him a battle ensued between the Life’s Good Racing Chevrolet Camaro of Dave Brown and the Achilles Motorsports BMW M3 of VJ Mirzayan. Brown looked strong and it looked like he was going to win it until his Camaro spun in the Turn 10 oil giving second place to Mirzayan who was slick enough to avoid trouble.

Once the cars were bunched up behind the safety car something unusual happened. Bovenberg’s Civic was now in the lead in front of the Mazda. After the race it was shown that the Civic driver had made the pass under yellow flag conditions. Bovenberg was handed a penalty that put him to last place and the victory went to the Mazda of Barber. Beau Borders in the Hawk/Competition Clutch BMW M3 finished second and his teammate Justin Crickenberger in the other Hawk/Competition Clutch BMW M3 finished third.

Roger Eaagleton managed to win the Sportsman class in the BMW M3 with Jim Stevens in the Achilles Motorsports BMW M3 finishing second and his teammate Gregg Hughes in the other Achilles Motorsports BMW M3 finished third.

Round 4 was a brand new day and in the GT class, Dobson, driving the My Race Shop/TelTac Factory Five GTM, started on pole and pulled away from second place finisher Dave Brown who was driving the Hawk Performance Chevrolet Camaro. VJ Mirzayan finished in third place in the Achilles Motorsports BMW M3.

Whelden won the Touring class in a different car than what he started the weekend in. Whelden usually drives the San Rafael Mitsubishi Lancer but when the car experienced mechanical issues in qualifying the team switched to a backup BMW M3 to keep his chances of a championship alive. Whelden had to work for the win as at least five people held the lead during the race at some point. What matters most is who has the lead at the end which was Whelden’s Sparta/CCI BMW M3. Teammate Beau Borders finished second in the Hawk/Sparta/CCI BMW M3 and Roger Eagleton’s BMW M3 finished third.

With his third place Eagleton also won the Sportsman class with Gregg Hughes driving the Achilles Motorsports BMW M3 finishing second and Jim Stevens in the other Achilles Motorsports BMW M3 finishing third.

Special Awards

Wine Country Motorsports
Justin Crickenberger finished fourth and ended up winning the Wine Country Motorsports $150 gift certificate. Wine Country Motorsports have a huge selection of automotive gear for any car enthusiast.
Whiteline Performance Suspension
Whiteline Performance makes some terrific suspension components and Dave Brown earned a $300 gift certificate for Whiteline Suspension. Brown had a hard fought battle for 45 minutes for second place which kept going back and forth depending on traffic situations.
Swift Spring
Michael Whelden’s primary car broke early in the weekend and he had to start near the back of the field but he worked his way through the field and ended up winning the race. He won a set of Swift Springs of his choice that they can use for the next race to go faster.
Stack Gauges
Lars Wolfe showed up with a special car that will be featured in My Life at Speed Magazine. The Nissan Juke will be a multi-purpose race car that will run road races, rallys, circle track and more. For that he won a new Stack oil pressure gauge to help his chances at the next race.
Specialty Products Company
Justin Crickenberger had a great battle during the race and ended up finishing fourth. He won a Fastrax camber caster gauge to help dial in his chassis for the next race.
Rod Rojas started the weekend with no qualifying time when the timing transponder did not work and had to start in the back but he drove a great race and ended up finishing in fifth place earning a Soundstream car stereo unit with GPS navigation.
Sampson Racing
The Sampson Radio Communications award went to Pete Bovenberg who looked strong all weekend long but ended up with mechanical problems’ in the race. He won a $100 gift certificate that the team can use for team communications equipment.
Rostra Precision
Rostra Precision provided a high resolution back up camera to VJ Mirzayan who had a fantastic battle for the entire race for second place. He can now use the high-tech system to see everyone behind him.
Race Ramps
The Race Ramps award is certainly one of the most popular awards that the drivers shoot for. The TNI Racing team was in front of the Mazda USA folks at Mazda Raceway with two Mazdas and had to rebuild one after some mechanical issues. They won a $300 certificate towards the purchase of a set of Race Ramps.
Powerbuilt Tools
The Powerbuilt Tools award went to Jim Stevens who looked very strong in the Sportsman class but a failing clutch caused him some time and he ended up in third place. He now has a new Powerbuilt professional torque wrench to use at the next race.
The Perma-Cool award was won by Patrick Chio who was leading the race but overheating brakes caused him to be stuck on the side of the road. He now has a $200 gift certificate that he can use so that he does not have this issue ever again.
Mothers Clean Car
The Mothers Clean Car award went to the BMW M3 of Beau Borders whose car looks like it came out of the showroom at every race. He earned a complete car cleaning kit full of Mothers products to keep the new paint job looking new.
Disc Brake Australia
DBA brake rotors are legendary with their kangaroo paw vents. Winning the DBA award was Ron Valtierra who drove a fantastic race in the GT class and ended up finishing fourth and received a set of the DBA high performance rotors for a great job.
CSF Radiators Cool Move of the Race
The coolest move of the race was by Daniel Akhromstev who looked like he may be able to win in the GT class after much suspension tuning over the weekend. Unfortunately, a flat tire ended his day but he won a new CSF racing radiator of his choice for his efforts.
CRC products are the official chemicals of USTCC and Tim Barber received a huge assortment pack of CRC products by winning the CRC Award for a fantastic drive.
Autometer provided their new professional tire gauge to Roger Eagleton who can use it to accurately set up his car at the next race. Eagleton ended up finishing in third place and winning the Sportsman class.
Gregg Hughes had issues on Saturday but came back strong to finish second in the Sportsman class. He now has his choice of Airaid air intake system for his hard work.
The $600 cash AFE Power award was provided to the top three cars in Touring and GT. In the Touring class, the top three were Michael Whelden in first place, Beau Borders in second place and Roger Eagleton in third place. In the GT class, the top three were Ken Dobson in the FFR GTM followed by Dave Brown’s Chevrolet Camaro and VJ mirzayan in the BMW M3. The drivers won cash awards from AFE Power for being the best in their field, just like AFE Power.
Advanced Clutch Technology
Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT) makes some of the best clutches in the business and the ACT award went to Ken Dobson who can use the new ACT clutch to go a little quicker.
Optima Battery Ultimate Power Source
The top three in Touring Car were Michael Whelden in first place, Beau Borders in second place and Roger Eagleton in third place. In the GT class, Ken Dobson was first followed by Dave Brown and VJ Mirzayan. Each driver won a free Optima Battery for his efforts.
Go Pro
The winner in each class wins a new GoPro action camera. The lucky winners today were Michael Whelden, the winner of the Touring class, and Ken Dobson the winner of the GT class.