Oswaldo Negri teams with de Ferran, Carrapatoso and Castroneves for all-star karting enduro in Brazil (Miami, FL)16 November--Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri teamed with Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, two-time Indianapolis...
Oswaldo Negri teams with de Ferran, Carrapatoso and Castroneves for all-star karting enduro in Brazil
(Miami, FL)16 November--Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri teamed with Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, and World Karting champion Rubens Carrapatoso in the Granja Viana 500 in Brazil this weekend, storming from fifty-third on the grid of seventy to take second place just fifteen seconds behind 2004 Indy Racing League Champion Tony Kanaan after a late-race pit miscue cost Negri's squad the win in the nearly eleven-hour event.
Negri proved quick in practice, so the team selected him to qualify the kart but a problem with the fuel pump kept him from producing any fast times, leaving the team to fight from mid-field. But the Brazilian squad was more than up to the task, as Carrapatoso took the helm for the start, and hauled the kart up to the lead in his first stint.
"It was amazing, this Carrapatoso turns the kart over to me in the lead, and it doesn't have a single scratch on it after passing all those karts!" said Negri.
Negri then took the wheel, keeping the car competitive during a brutal two-hour and forty-five minute stint, even lapping Rubens Barrichello (part of the winning squad that included Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, and Philippe Giaffone) before turning the car over to countryman Castroneves, who was also able to keep the car in the lead.
Castroneves in turn passed the driving duties over to former Penske teammate de Ferran, who had to turn the kart back over to Carrapatoso after he injured his ribs on the rough circuit. Carrapatoso did everything he could to take the win, but a line of karts waiting in the pits for fuel in the closing laps of the enduro kept the team from taking the victory.
"We all went down for some fun-see some old friends, have a good time in the karts for the race, but in those closing laps, those guys were fighting for that win like it was the last race in the world, and there was no joking around," said Negri. "With a field of drivers as talented as this-probably the most skilled collection of drivers in any race-its not too surprising that it was so competitive."
Negri, who is hoping to return to the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2005 and build on the positive momentum he generated with the Michael Shank Racing team, was nursing some sore ribs upon his return to the States.
"It hurts a little bit, but that will go away," said Negri. "It was very special to be racing there, to have the exceptional teammates that I did, and to come so close to winning. I really had a good time, and of course, we can start thinking now about how to make sure we win next year..."