ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN (Sunday, August 21, 2005) – In his first appearance in the Toyota Atlantic series, Oshkosh, WI resident Chris Prey piloted the Gehl Company-sponsored No. 2 entry almost flawlessly until the 10th lap of the 17-lap event when a missed down-shift in turn 12 started a chain reaction that ultimately sent Prey for a trip deep into the pea-gravel and ended his debut performance in front of his local fans and family.
Buried deeply in the gravel, Prey’s car was safely pulled from the pit by a Gehl Dynalift Telescopic Handler, adding a little irony to the situation.
“It wasn’t exactly the way I pictured I’d be leaving the track, but, what can I say about Gehl’s amazing equipment,” Prey said with a smile. “Those Dynalifts can really pull their weight.”
Prey was very matter-of-fact explaining the events that lead to his early departure.
“It was a simple thing, really. I missed the throttle blip to the down-shift going into the turn and lost my braking rhythm. The car slowed enough that it lost its downforce from the wings and ground effects, which gave me too much brake pressure and locked up the front wheels,” he said.
“I’m disappointed, but I’ll chalk it up to my education and keep trying hard to improve every lap around the track.”
There were no down faces in the Gehl hospitality tent when Prey joined them after the race. As he walked in, the crowd burst into applause for their new “favorite driver.”
Gehl’s Marketing Manager, Lori Heidecker, said, “This weekend was a huge success for us. Chris is a incredibly talented driver with a warm personality, and all of our guests enjoyed watching Chris drive the Gehl car.”
“We had a great time cheering for a fellow Wisconsin native,” she said. “We like to take care of our own.”
Gehl’s Manager of Trade Shows and Special Events, Terry LeFever, went on to say, “We had an incredible weekend. Having a car here makes a world of difference – it really completes the program. This is the first time we’ve ever done this and it has really been exciting for our dealers, customers and our own people, too.”
Gehl entertained over 300 guests, consisting of dealers, customers and employees. LeFever said that one of his dealers, Bruce Bowman from Star Equipment out of Iowa, brought 40 people to the event to cheer for Chris an the Gehl car.
“The response has been tremendous,” LeFever said.
Prey summed up the weekend by saying, “I can’t thank Gehl enough for everything they’ve done for me. I’m looking forward to working with them on events in the future.”
While no plans have been made regarding next year for Prey and Gehl, Prey is confident that this hometown race was the beginning of a long, fun relationship.
Gehl Company is an international manufacturer of compact construction equipment and agriculture implements based in West Bend, WI. For more information about Gehl, visit the company’s web site at www.Gehl.com