Oct 13, 2013 – Buttonwillow Raceway, Calif.
Geoff Sykes entered Round 6 of the US Touring Car Championship with a solid points lead and would clinch the championship, if the car ran well and he finished the race in a good position with no penalties.
In Saturday’s first practice, Sykes tested some tires, which ended up causing some suspension issues, but the second session ran well after going back to the old tires. “Due to schedule, we were limited on our set up time, plus we had to spend some of Saturday rebuilding the front brakes, having been unable to work on the car since the Sonoma rounds,” said Sykes.
Sunday’s qualifying saw Geoff put down the second fastest time, but the race starting order used times from Saturday’s session as well, which meant Geoff would start the race from fourth position.
Sykes had a good start, moving up to 2nd position for the first few laps. However Hartanto was on a charge in the #99 S2000, getting by Geoff on the fourth lap, then Yepez in the #46 M3 started to battle for third place. On lap nine, Yepez was able to get by Sykes in lap traffic. “After that, I was right behind the #46 car for the next seven laps, being very careful as to when to make my move. There was no margin for error in this race,” said Geoff.
The move came on the very last lap, when Yepez came up on traffic. Sykes was right on the rear bumper of the #46 car coming through the last turn, with enough speed to carry the pass, when a slower classed car ahead started to lose control. “I had to hit the brakes hard and was very concerned about hitting Yepez, but then I was able to pull alongside and make a run for the finish.”
As the cars raced down the straight toward the checkered flag, Yepez moved right on the track to avoid the slower lapped car, and to avoid Yepez, Geoff ran his rightside wheels off into the dirt as he tried to complete the pass and get the podium position, though ultimately missing by 13/100ths of a second. It was an exhilirating finish but fortunately a safe one, with Sykes scoring enough points to clinch the championship title.
“The #60 BMW E46 M3 has been such a reliable and steady car all season,” said Geoff. “With BMW’s platform and the support from Perfect Fitness, Tour Angle 144 and Replay XD, this has been a very successful season with 3 wins and a total of 4 podiums. We had a DNF and some hard fought races along the way, but it feels great to have won the championship with one race to spare.”
ABOUT USTCC AND GEOFF SYKES
USTCC is America’s most exciting touring car racing. Cars are production-based sedans, coupes and hatchbacks with chassis and suspensions that have been modified for maximum performance.
Geoff Sykes, the 2013 GT Champion in the US Touring Car Championship, has multiple records and championships in the BMW CCA racing series, and currently drives a Supercar Lite in the Global Rallycross series.
Sykes’ USTCC racing includes support from Perfect Fitness, Tour Angle 144°, DTV Solutions and Replay XD.
Photo Credit: DTVS