Watkins Glen III: Finlay Motorsports preview

FROM AFGHANISTAN TO AUTO RACING Air Force Reservist Jeffrey 'Eggs' Eggersdorf, a Watkins Glen native just back from a tour in Afghanistan, will be a guest of the Finlay Motorsports /Air Force Reserve team at this weekend's Crown Royal 250 Rolex...


Air Force Reservist Jeffrey 'Eggs' Eggersdorf, a Watkins Glen native just back from a tour in Afghanistan, will be a guest of the Finlay Motorsports /Air Force Reserve team at this weekend's Crown Royal 250 Rolex Series race

Master Sergeant Jeffrey 'Eggs' Eggersdorf, a Watkins Glen native and Air Force Reserve member who grew up just five miles from the famed Watkins Glen International racetrack, has returned safely from his latest tour of duty in Afghanistan and will be a guest of the Air Force Reserve-sponsored Finlay Motorsports team at this weekend's Crown Royal 250 Rolex Series race at The Glen.

"I found out about the Finlay Motorsports team earlier this year when our Public Affairs rep sent out an Air Force Reserve news article telling of the USAFR sponsorship of Finlay Motorsports' Grand American race team," says Eggersdorf. "I did a quick search on the internet to find some pictures of the car so everyone could see what the car looks like. I've been an avid race fan since childhood; NASCAR, NHRA, road racing, basically, if it has four wheels and goes fast, I'm a fan. I've also attended the 3 day Formula Racing class at the Derek Daly Racing Academy in Las Vegas, and I own a Van Diemen RF 84 Formula Ford in hopes of running it someday. Or, more appropriately - I own enough parts in my garage to someday build a Van Diemen RF 84 Formula Ford."

Eggersdorf, an Air Force Reserve member since 1987, is no stranger to those parts of the world most of us only read about in newspapers. In addition to his most recent deployment, Eggersdorf has also served in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Northern Watch, Provide Comfort II, and Enduring Freedom.

On Friday, September 23, in the press room at Watkins Glen International, Eggersdorf will present Finlay Motorsports drivers Memo Gidley, Michael McDowell and Michael Valiante with a flag that was carried by a helicopter from his unit during an actual combat rescue mission in Afghanistan. Accompanying the flag will be a framed certificate signed by the pilots and air crew of the chopper certifying that this flag was indeed the actual one carried during the mission.

When back in the U.S., he works full time for the 943rd Maintenance Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona as an Avionics Quality Assurance Inspector, helping to maintain the HH-60G "Pavehawk" helicopter that provides the Air Force Reserve with the capability of combat rescue in hostile territories. His unit also supports search and rescue missions at its home station in Arizona; one such mission last year was the rescue of two injured firefighters who were struck by lightning while fighting a forest fire on nearby Mt. Graham, Arizona.

In addition, Eggersdorf's 943rd rescue group and the 920th rescue wing from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida have been engaged in continuing rescue support missions at Jackson, Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The combined efforts of the two units have saved more than 1,000 lives as Air Force Reserve personnel have expertly executed incredibly difficult rescue missions in what is arguably the largest rescue/recovery operation ever performed by Air Force Reserve units in the United States.

Also attending the race, although in a totally different capacity, will be Eggersdorf's sister, Janice Tamberelli, a Dispatcher and Corrections Officer for the Schuyler County Sheriff's office. Tamberelli's association with the Watkins Glen track began when she sold programs for the 1968 U.S. Grand Prix as a senior in High School, and has been to every race since -- working as a member of the Sheriff's Department since 1971. In all that time, however, she admits, "... I've never seen a race."

The Finlay Motorsports team has become the talk of an otherwise well-ordered Grand American paddock in this, its first year of competition and is currently tied for 5th in the 2005 championship battle. The team has scored four 4th-place finishes, led six of the last seven races and finished on the podium for the first time on July 31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Driving the team's #19 Air Force Reserve / Make-A-Wish Foundation / Commercial Defeasance Dinan-powered Riley Daytona Prototype will be Champ Car veteran Memo Gidley and rising Canadian racing star Michael Valiante, of Vancouver. B.C. Valiante is substituting at this race for regular driver Michael McDowell who is serving a one-race penalty for a driving infraction at the previous event.

On-track action for the Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen begins at 3:30 pm Thursday, September 22 with a combined one-hour Daytona Prototype / GT practice session, followed by half an hour in which the DP cars are on track alone. Prototype qualifying will take place from 4:40 pm to 4:55 pm on Friday, September 23, and the 250-mile/74-lap/2 0x00be-hour race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:00 pm, Saturday, September 24.

The Crown Royal 250 is the 12th round of a 14-race 2005 Grand American season. The next event on the schedule is the VIR 250 at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, October 9.


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Memo Gidley , Michael Valiante , Michael McDowell , Derek Daly
Teams Formula Racing