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Willows, CA, May 25, 2014 – The Sheehan/Arsham partnership resulted in another win in the Touring Car class with Daniel Akhromstev pulling out a dominant victory in the GT class at Thunderhill Raceway. The Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) racers visited one of their favorite tracks with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) playing host to the championship.

Gary Sheehan drove three of the four GoGoGear.com/UTI/Konig Wheels race cars during the weekend to score the victory. He started out with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Sheehan managed to qualify on pole position but the car developed an intermittent electrical problem so the team was not confident that the car would be a good option for the race. Compounding the problem was that this weekend, there would be a Saturday race which would count for 25% of the points. The team elected to toss out their pole position and start out from the back of the field in their #35 BMW M3 which was to be driven by Larry Bani. Sheehan managed to finish in fifth place after starting out in the back of the field. The team spent the rest of Saturday night driving back to their base and brought back their #34 BMW M3. The car needed some work to be ready and legal and the team got the car ready for qualifying with minutes to spare on Sunday where Sheehan managed to qualify in fourth place. From there it was a matter of tuning the car to get it ready for the race. One of the crew members on the GoGoGear.com team said, “We wanted to provide the best car for Gary and we spent every minute we had to tune the car to make sure we did not have any issues in the race.”

At the start of the main race, Sheehan had a heart dropping moment as Jason Alexandridis stalled the Performance Technic BMW M3 and was almost rear ended by the BMW of Sheehan. Sheehan avoided the collision but that dropped Sheehan down a few positions and Alexandridis, who had qualified in second place, dropped down to last place. Alexandridis did not have a good race at round two at Las Vegas as he battled with a blown head gasket and was fully focused to win the round three race at Thunderhill. He would now have to regroup and start clicking some quick lap times to catch up to the front pack.

Taking full advantage of everything was Larry Bani in the AEM Infinity controlled, FSR Motorsport Creations tuned GoGoGear.com/ UTI/ Konig Wheels BMW M3 who jumped from fifth place to second place by turn one. Bani has become quite the drag racer with his launching technique and has had some superb starts in his racing career. He was followed by Curt Simmons who was substituting for the second race in a row for the injured Pete Bovenberg in the MBO Motorsport Honda Civic. Bani was in second right behind the pole sitter Mike Sekhon driving the BTM Motorwerks BMW M3. Sekhon, starting from pole position for the first time in his short USTCC career, made no errors and did a great start to lead the first lap with Bani behind.

On lap two, Bani went wide at the exit of turn five and that allowed Simmons to sneak by and take over second place. A few minutes later team orders came into play as Bani moved over to allow his teammate Sheehan who was in first place in the driver’s championship to take over third place. Sheehan passed Simmons a few laps later going into turn one and was now in second position. For the next twenty minutes Sheehan was just focused on turning some quick laps to catch Mike Sekhon who was still leading. With one lap to go the gap was down to less than a car length and Sheehan was pressuring Sekhon but Sekhon was not giving up. Finally on the last lap Sekhon missed a shift allowing Sheehan to get through at turn 11 and take the win. Sheehan was overjoyed after a very difficult weekend and said, “We were in close formation for several laps and I tried a couple of moves that didn't stick. On the last lap I got a really strong run out of 5 & 6, and was able to stay close through 8 & 9. I kept the pressure on in the braking zone in 10 and attempted to get an overlap into 11. Mike missed his downshift to 3rd entering 10 and had a brief moment of no drive at the apex, which was enough for me to get the overlap I needed. I drove deep into 11 and Mike gave me room and I was through.” “Second means work harder and get first next race,” said a very disappointed Sekhon after the race. Simmons was running in third place during most of the race but ended up running out of fuel with one lap to go which put Bani on the podium in third place in the Touring class.

 

At the press conference after the race, Sheehas summed things up by saying, “This was a race that we won based strictly on teamwork with Larry being generous enough to let me use both of his cars. It kept the team in contention and put us in a position to win the race when it could have been the worst of all results”

The USTCC teams next head out to Monterey’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for around four on June 28-29.

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