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The discount tire sunchaser

By Daniel Souza - Staff Writer - | Sep 6, 2006

Oswaldo Negri’s first season win brought the Rolex Sports Car Series championship to a thrilling, fireworks-filled close. It also culminated Jorg Bergmeister season awarding him the 2006 championship after the first-ever 9-hour endurance race at Miller Motorsports Park last Saturday.

Negri, who started the race as the qualifying driver in fourth–because of the long 9-hour racing period, drivers are required by regulation to switch every three hours–managed with teammate Mark Patterson, to remain in the top ten throughout the race. The action became more intense as Negri’s No. 60 Lexus pitted with No. 19 Ford Crawford, both before the race’s overall leader No. 6 Lexus Riley. The fight for first place then became a personal matter between no. 60 and no. 19.

“I had an animal behind me. It was like I was in Africa. The car was impeccable and I had the power to do it,” said an exhausted Negri.

Although it was Negri and his Michael Shank team that won first place, the native German Jorg Bergmeister from Krohn Racing was the spotlight, becoming the champion of the 2006 Rolex sports Car Series.

Bergmeister came to Tooele with a 19-point lead over second place Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz. The Slavic driver needed an attainable fourteenth place finish to reach the top place at the championship chart. Bergmeister along with co-drivers Colin Braun and Nic Jonsson crossed the checkered-flag in sixth.

The Discount Tire Sunchaser was the first ever 9-hour endurance race for both Miller Motorsports Park and the Rolex Sports Cars Series. Considering the track measures 4.5 miles, the cars drove for about 868.5 miles with average speeds raging from 72 mph to 96 mph range.

Most vehicles would not be able to withstand the extreme braking and acceleration conditions these cars go through. Not in a normal situation.

“The quality of equipment that goes into these cars comes from aerospace technology. Everything they have in them is the top stuff in the market,” said Jeff Campbell, a damper technician with the Chip Ganassi team.

Campbell understands what aerospace technology really is. Before making his way to the Lexus Riley Chip Ganassi team, Campbell–who hadn’t been back to Utah in the last ten years–was a crew chief at Ogden’s Hill Air force base. He oversaw most of the maintenance work for F-16s.

“I loved living out here. Utah has some of the prettiest countryside in the states,” said Campbell.

This story appeared in Spanish Fork Press on page A7.

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