By: Jeff Lepper
Richmond, CA -- The second round of the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) traveled north to Portland International Raceway in Portland, OR. Fighting off numerous challenges for the lead, Gary Hutto driving the Global Motorsports Group/Hutto Motorsports/Intrax BMW 328i took his first career USTCC victory.
Weather is always a factor when the USTCC teams travel to the Pacific Northwest. This weekend however, the skies stayed dry and beautiful for this exciting round of the USTCC. The teams would have two qualifying sessions to determine the field. The top three cars in first round qualifying were all within a second of each other. Leading the way was Hutto in his BMW followed by Neil Vanni's Hopkins Honda Performance Parts Civic, and Ben Ho in his Autotronics Honda Civic. A couple of drivers moved up during second round qualifying including Thomas Lepper's Impact Engineering/H&R Springs Honda Accord into third on the grid and David Lang's Miracle Auto Painting-Napa/Pier Market-SF Honda Prelude into the fourth spot. The top five were set with Hutto leading the way. Followed by Vanni, Lepper, Lang and Phil Malgren's Collision Craft Acura Integra Type-R to round out the top five.
Due to the regulations at the track, the USTCC drivers were unable to have a standing start. For this race in Portland, the drivers would have a rolling start. At the start Vanni got around Hutto to lead the first lap, also getting a good start, Lang moved into third with Lepper following. Close behind was Ali Arsham in the Gogogear.com/Miracle Auto Napa/Specialty Products Honda Civic.