September 11th, 2006/Sonoma, Ca. - Last season, Rich Peterson the driver/owner of the #58 Bergman Companies MINI Cooper-S was definitely the most noticeable car and driver combination. It was hard to miss the 6’5” man with the black MINI Cooper-S U.S. Touring Car as he towed the MINI race machine to all sorts of car shows and other types of auto sports events. Peterson became the pseudo representative for the Hankook U.S. Touring Car Championship (USTCC) at each event that he attended and helped spread the word about USTCC’s brand of racing. He became the easy choice vote for the 2005 season’s Racetech Seats USTCC Promotional Award.
In a handful of races thus far this season, on the track for his rookie campaign, Peterson and his #58 Bergman Companies/MINI have not been really as loud or as flashy or stand out as the other drivers and team cars during races, unlike the attention he commands from event-goers at a car show event. Instead, Peterson seems to have been driving a pace of his own, but very steady, with minimal mistakes and consistently finishing races. None of the other teams, especially most of the front running teams, seem to worry much about Peterson and his MINI Cooper-S. Until this past Sunday, September 10th during the USTCC’s one-hour single pit stop race at Infineon Raceway. It was here that Peterson’s patience and steady driving skills finally paid off. Behind the wheel of his MINI, he surprised nearly everyone and even himself posting his best USTCC finish with a fourth place finish and taking home the Apex Integration Rookie Award. Peterson quietly qualified and started in tenth place and was able to work his way up front thanks to a steady driving pace and good pit stop. “Gordon Pun did an awesome job with the re-fuel and not spilling a drop that could’ve cost a penalty. Thank you”, said an elated Peterson after his fourth place finish.
Penalties served to a couple of front running cars did help advanced his position, but it does not take away the fact that Peterson drove a clean, consistent and steady driving pace during the race earning him a well deserved finish and recognition.
The Bergman Companies, a national development and construction company and primary sponsor of the #58 MINI were just as “excided with the 4th place finish”, said Jim Lewis, Director of Marketing for The Bergman Companies.
Rich Peterson, the #58 MINI Cooper-S and the rest of the Hankook USTCC field will return to action for the second Infineon Raceway date on October 7-8 with the Super Street Time Attack event on the same weekend.