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Rydquist Clinches GT Class Championship at Mazda Raceway while Sheehan, Sekhon and Gardner Score Wins

Monterey, CA – Carl Rydquist managed to clinch the championship in the GT class with another dominant win in the class at the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In the Super Touring class, Mike Sekhon scored the win while Gary Sheehan won the Touring class. Andrew Gardner won his very first USTCC race, winning the Sportsman class.

Rydquist, driving the Champion Spark Plugs FFR GTM, had tough competition from Sam Stowell’s Somewhere Else Bar and Grill Jaguar XKRS but with a few lap to go Stowell went a little too deep going into the famous Corkscrew corner and was stuck in the gravel traps. That was the moment when Rydquist could finally celebrate the championship.

In the Super Touring class, George Kibilov put the SGK Home Solutions BMW M3 on the pole position but only by a tenth of a second over his rival Mike Sekhon in the Wheels BMW M3. In the race, Sekhon proved to have the stronger car as he passed Kibilov and finished ahead for his second consecutive win of the season. Larry Bani finished third in the other Wheels BMW M3.

The Touring Car class is extremely competitive and this time the front runners were once again very close. Andrie Hartanto qualified his Supertech/Rota Wheels Honda S2000 on pole position and he stormed off into the lead but a bad ABS sensor cost him time and made the Honda vulnerable under braking at a track with lots of hard braking zones. Qualifying in second place was the AutoLogic/Z Car Garage Nissan 350Z of Patrick Chio. Things looked great for Chio until the drop of the green flag when he had too much wheel spin at the start and went from second to last in a few seconds. On the other side, Wheels driver Gary Sheehan did not have a great qualifying session complaining about lack of grip. The team made changes and it showed as Sheehan started his charge to the front aboard his Hyundai Genesis Coupe. With the help of a full course yellow, Sheehan soon caught up to Hartanto and made a beautiful pass on the outside of Turn 5 and took over the lead. Chio did not give up and proved that he is very strong and passed Hartanto as well. In the end it was Sheehan in first, Chio in second and Hartanto in third place.

The Sportman class is the tightest class but a few broken engines and transmissions meant that some of the usual front runner could not make the race. Newcomer Andrew Gardner took advantage of that and placed his Ford Mustang ahead of the pack with another newcomer Jeff Francis in his LKQ/Finishmaster BMW M3 on his tail. The two had an epic battle with two laps to go with a great Ford vs. BMW battle. At the finish line it was the Ford by a nose over the BMW with Thomas Pitre’s Darwin Machine Acura Integra finishing in third place.

The teams don’t have much time to relax as they are back in only one week’s time for the next round at Sonoma Raceway. You can watch the entire race on which is broadcast on NBC Sports.


Special Awards

Advanced Clutch Technology
Patrick Chio was super quick but a poor start put him in the back of the field at the start but he fought back and ended up finishing in second place. He won the Advanced Clutch Technology award good for $500.
AutoMeter Products
Carl Rydquist won the GT class and won an AutoMeter battery charger and an AutoMeter professional tire gauge.
BAF Racing
Michael McColligan suffered from overheating issues in the intense heat but he did not give up and kept pushing to finish fourth. He earned $300 from BAF Racing for his efforts.
Classic Motorbooks
Andrew Gardner ended up winning his first USTCC race at his first try and won a set of books from Classic Motorbooks.
Michael Lowe had mechanical issues during the race but now he has some help to fix his car for next time with an assortment of CRC products.
CSF Radiators
Gary Sheehan had a very poor qualifying and ended up near the back but he found the speed in the race and won his class. He took home the CSF Radiators award.
Disc Brake Australia USA
Mike Sekhon was very cool as he qualified in second and worked his way to a win and won the DBA USA award along with a set of DBA high performance rotors that can help him in the future.
Flowmaster Mufflers
George Kibilov was not sure if he could even make it to the race with transmission issues but his team worked hard and got the car ready just in time for qualifying and he managed to finish in second place and hold onto his lead in the championship. He won $500 from Flowmaster Mufflers for his efforts.
Molecule products is a great way to keep your racing gear clean and smelling nice and Jeff Francis won the Molecule Sports award with a complete Molecule cleaning kit.
Tao Takaoko showed up with a very pretty pain job on a Mustang and won the Mothers Polish award with a big bucket full of car cleaning products.
Roger Eagleton qualified well and finished fourth. He collected the $200 Perma Cool Products award.
Race Ramps
Larry Bani and his guys burned the midnight oil as they had to source a motor and do the engine swap and the associated parts that goes with it to get the car ready for this race. For his efforts, he took home $300 from Race Ramps.
Ram Mount
Michael McColligan battled though mechanical issues but did not give up and won the RAM Mounts award.
Rescue Tape
Larry Bani was charging to a win but electrical gremlins stopped him. He won the Rescue Tape award.
Rostra Precision
Andrew Gardner was just hoping to finish his first USTCC race but he won the race and the Rostra Precision Control award.
Sampson Racing Products
After winning everything at the start of the season, we expect Thomas Pitre to win everything but he sees the bigger picture which is winning the Championship. He won the Sampson Racing Radios and Communications award to help him towards his goal.
Scan Gauge
Jeff Francis had a great battle for the lead and ended up finishing in second place and won the Scan Gauge award.
Sound Stream
Beau Border came back to the series after some time off and won the Sound Stream awardwith a new navigation/DVD unit.
Specialty Products Company
Felipe Loza had head gasket issues ruin his race but he still won the Specialty Products Company award.
Sam Stowell was looking strong until he overshot Turn 6 and was stuck in the gravel trap. He took home the Stack Limited award.
Swift Springs
Patrick Chio was one of the quickest cars on the track and won the Swift Springs award collecting some new springs to help him go even faster.
Thule is well known for vehicle racks but are now making superb pieces of luggage. Winning one was Andrie Hartanto.
TYLT makes terrific products that busy people on the move need such as phone chargers and battery packs. Winning a backpack full of their products was George Kibilov who worked extremely hard to fix his transmission issues and made the race.
Cobra Electronics
Winning the Cobra Electronics Top Team award was the Racing Team with a first place in Touring Car class and a first place in the Super Touring class. The team earned a Cobra radar detector for their hard work.
Optima Batteries GT
The OPTIMA Batteries podium in the GT class was Carl Rydquist, first place, Sam Stowell second place and Felipe Loza third place.
Optima Batteries Touring Car
The Optima Batteries podium in the Touring Car class was Gary Sheehan, first place, Patrick Chio, second place, and Andrie Hartanto, third place.
Optima Batteries Super Touring Car
The Optima Batteries podium in the Touring Car class was Mike Sekhon, first place, George Kibilov, second place, and Larry Bani, third place.
WASPcam Action Cams
Win a USTCC race and you win a new WASPcam action camera that shoots in crystal clear 4K quality. The drivers that won the WASPcam action cameras were Carl Rydquist, Gary Sheehan, Mike Sekhon and Andrew Gardner.
Wine Country Motorsports Award
Andrie Hartanto was going to win the race but a faulty ABS sensor had other ideas but he still won the Wine Country Motor Sports $150 award with a third place finish.