(21 May 2012) – Fresh from taking yet another a podium finish with Michael Shank Racing co-driver John Pew in Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Ozz Negri was right back to work as he took part in his first Ironman triathlon event on Sunday.
Negri, a man of tremendous fitness, spends his time outside of the No. 60 Ford-Riley with an intense physical training regimen. Having entered the “Escape from Miami” Triathlon a couple years ago as a one-off, Negri has become quite serious about the multi-discipline sport, which sees contestants swim, bike, and run a set distance.
Negri’s brother-in-law Juan Vergara convinced Negri to compete in the grueling Ironman 70.3 Florida event which sees competitors swim 1.2-miles, bike a challenging 56-mile course, and finish with a 13.1-mile run.
With Negri’s racing schedule and his time spent coaching, the Rolex 24 champion had limited time to train for the race, but finished with an impressive time of 6:00:58 in his first attempt. Over 2,000 participants took part – including seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong who won the event.
“I finished much quicker than I expected and it felt great,” said Negri of his first Ironman. “Thanks to Juan Vergara for talking me into doing it and a big thanks to my family for their great support. After seeing the course, I felt that that it would be hard but on race day I put on my race face and that was it – swim, bike, and run as fast as I could. After finishing, I obviously had aches and pains but I promise that racing the Rolex 24 is much harder!”
Fellow GRAND-AM racers Ricky and Jordan Taylor were also on-hand to offer their support and cheer Negri on along the way.
Negri’s off-track training will have him even more prepared as the Rolex Series kicks up with a busy schedule of four events throughout the month of June including the challenging Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at the end of the month.
“The Ironman was a very good mind game,” said Negri. “When I thought I didn’t have anything else, I just started thinking about our next DP race and the exercise became automatic.”
Negri will be back in racing action next weekend as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series makes a motor city debut for the Grand Prix of Detroit.