USTCC - Sears Point
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By Jeff Lepper

The United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) invaded Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, CA on November 10-11, 2001. Gary Sheehan in his Subaru of America/K2/ WRX took his first win of the season, breaking James Sofronas' SSF/Global Motorsports Group BMW 328i win streak.

Sears Point is currently under a $30 Million modernization project so the track was a bit different. Gone are turn 10 and the every exciting passing area at turn 11. Added is a new part of track just past turn 9 that connects turn nine to old turn 1, making the course 1.8 miles around. This change in the course caused many teams to have to readjust to the new track.

A couple of factors were going to make an overall affect on the outcome of the race, most importantly the weather. During Saturday practice and qualifying the track was dry and offered the best qualifying times for the competitors. Right before the start of the second round of qualifying it started to downpour. Most teams elected to forgo the qualifying session and wait until Sunday practice to set up their cars for the race. A few teams however took advantage of the wet conditions to set up their cars just in case it did rain on race day. Among them was Ali Arsham in his Honda Civic. Ali had an awesome set up and it showed on race day.

The field was set during 1st round qualifying. Sitting on the pole was Sheehan's WRX. Second was Sofronas in his BMW. Third was David Lang in his Miracle Auto Painting Honda Prelude who was fighting handling problems all weekend. Rounding out the top five was Daryl Chan in the Auto Tronics/F2 Consulting Honda Civic, and newcomer Gil Caravantes in the Commerce Printing Services BMW M3.

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