Long And Bergmeister Victorious In Rolex Action At Laguna Seca

Monterey, Calif. ? Running on fumes, Jorg Bergmeister took the checkered flag in the U. S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday afternoon. The last three laps were run under the yellow flag, and the slow laps may have saved the win for Bergmeister and co-driver Patrick Long, who were driving a Daytona Prototype.

Reportedly, one liter of fuel remained in the fuel tank when the race concluded.

The pair won for the first time in five Rolex Series Sports Car Series races this season. Until today, their best finish had been a fifth place.

Driving Alex Job?s Ruby Tuesday?s Porsche Crawford, the winners covered 91 laps around the picturesque 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course within view of the Pacific Ocean. Their average speed was 80.606 miles per hour.

?I was coasting at the end,? Bergmeister said. ?I was doing everything I could do so save every drop of fuel, as I didn?t know what was going to happen.?

Prior to the start of the race, the team?s anxiety level was raised when electrical problems were discovered. Mechanics solved the situation just before the race was to begin.

?It was not looking good for us,? said Long, who was in the driver?s seat at the time. ?I didn?t think it was going to be such a good day for us.

Regarding the victory, he added, ?It feels good to me. For me personally and my team, it has been a very humbling year. At the end, we needed help from the fuel gods to get us through the day.?

Second place went to Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, who co-drove the TELMEX Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley.

?I hate it for the fans to finish a race under the yellow flag,? Pruett said. ?A green-white-checkered finish would have been a great show.?

Running on old tires at the end, Pruett was not able to overtake the struggling first-place car. ?I didn?t have enough to get by him, and I didn?t want to ruin our championship hopes.?

With Pruett?s strong finish, he took over the point lead in the driver?s championship. The former champion leads with 148 points, and teammates Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen have slipped to second place with 143 points.

Angelelli finished in 15th place, two laps behind the victory after damaging his car in an off-track excursion early in the race.

Relative unknowns Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson drove a steady race to earn third place in the Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley.

David Donohue and Darren Law put their Porsche Riley into fourth place, and Champ Car stalwarts Patrick Carpentier and Ryan Dalziel took fifth place in a Pontiac Riley.

Seven caution flags slowed the race for 30 laps. Bumping and shoving took place throughout the race, and several drivers were penalized for aggressive driving.

Nineteen Daytona Prototype started the race and all but one was running at the end.

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