Grand AM » 4 June 2006
Bergmeister retakes lead with Glen win.
In a race featuring 20 lead changes among nine cars and twelve drivers, Jorg Bergmeister reclaimed the points lead in Grand-Am's Rolex Series with victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
When erstwhile leader Alex Gurney made his final pit-stop with 21 laps remaining, Bergmeister took the lead in the #76 Krohn Racing Riley-Ford he was controversially sharing with road race veteran Boris Said. The German maintained the lead through two late full-course caution periods and pulled away on both restarts to win by 3.495secs over Gurney's #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing entry.
Bergmeister's triumph allowed him to reclaim a slim advantage in the Daytona Prototype driver standings, now heading #01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz by four points. It was Bergmeister's first overall Rolex Series win since last September's Phoenix victory.
"It was definitely exciting," he admitted, "Our team did an awesome job. After the trouble we had at the beginning of practice, where my usual team-mate couldn't compete, Boris did an awesome job with his stint in the middle of the race under difficult conditions. It was just awesome today."
Said, who served as a replacement for 17-year old Colin Braun, duly earned his first overall Rolex Series win in only his fourth Daytona Prototype start.
"I pretty much got a gift by being on the team," he remarked, "They called me Tuesday when I was testing my Nextel Cup car in Atlanta and asked if could come stand by just in case something happened. Jorg probably drove about four hours - I just drove about an hour-and-a-half in the middle - and he gave me a win, so I feel pretty happy."
Although post-race technical inspection revealed that the race-winning #76 Riley was too low, the result remains unchanged, with both team and drivers keeping the points earned at the end of a difficult weekend. The team, however, was fined $2000, which will be donated to Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Florida.
Gurney and co-driver Jon Fogarty claimed their second runners-up result in the last three races, with Fogarty leading the most laps of anyone during a topsy-turvy event. The pairing rallied after falling a lap down following contact between Gurney and Michael Valiante's #5 Finlay Motorsports Crawford on the opening lap. The damage forced Gurney onto pit-lane for a new nose, but the team was leading by lap 57 and, at one point in the final two hours, headed the field by more than 15 seconds.
"It's really a shame, as we were feeling like we could win this race," Gurney said, "What we knew, and what we were doing, with the tyres really helped our pace. It was just unfortunate that we got into some contact, and damaged the exhaust a little bit. I think it hurt us a little bit on top speed, but Jon was incredible in the wet - I wish we could have gotten the win for him."
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