Atlanta: Roger Burgess preview

Burgess and R2B2 Racing dedicate race to teammate's father ATLANTA (May 14) -- R2B2 Racing team owner and driver Roger Burgess has dedicated this weekend's race at Atlanta Dragway to Ernesto Commisso, the father of teammate Raymond Commisso, who...

Burgess and R2B2 Racing dedicate race to teammate's father

ATLANTA (May 14) -- R2B2 Racing team owner and driver Roger Burgess has dedicated this weekend's race at Atlanta Dragway to Ernesto Commisso, the father of teammate Raymond Commisso, who passed away Tuesday night in Toronto.

Filling in for Commisso in the R2B2 Motors 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Pro Mod will be Michael Gullqvist of Stockholm, Sweden, who drove a R2B2 racecar to a runner-up finish earlier this year at the season-opening Gatornationals.

"One of the things I look forward to the most at the races is being around Raymond and enjoying his company," Burgess said. "He's such an easygoing and positive person. Like me, he stays at the track so we spend lots of time together. We're good friends and I know that whenever one of us is down because we're not running well then the other one is always there to pick them up. So we'll definitely miss him this weekend.

"We've spoken several times and he made it very clear he wanted us to be here racing so we're going to use this event to honor Raymond's father Ernesto."

Between Burgess, Gullqvist, and team driver Melanie Troxel, R2B2 Racing should have three strong entries for the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, which begin at 3 p.m. Friday with Round 1 of qualifying.

"We're going to see a hot, greasy track, I'm sure, but this is a facility we're very familiar with so I expect we'll do well," said Burgess, who hails from Florida but bases his race shop in nearby Duluth, Ga. "Conditions are going to be tricky but if anyone can figure it out it's (crew chiefs) Al Billes and Bob Newberry.

"We were lucky enough to get Michael to fill in at the last minute. He literally dropped everything and flew over to help us out and we're excited to have him back. Like the rest of us, he's racing with Raymond on his mind."

The owner of a high-performance auto shop in his native Sweden, Gullqvist needed a full day of travel to get to Atlanta as volcanic ash from the much-publicized eruption in Iceland had him taking the long route over the Atlantic Ocean.

"I was very worried about making it in time because the flights are once again being diverted away from certain areas in the north," Gullqvist said. "We ended up going down through Paris to get under the newest cloud.

"I'm happy to race again and didn't want to miss this chance. Of course, we pray for Raymond and his family. This isn't the way you want to race but I will do my best to honor his father."

-source: r2b2

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Newberry , Melanie Troxel , Al Billes , Roger Burgess