Behind the Scenes with Chris Degioanni
Page: 1  2  Links
Behind the Scenes with Chris Degioanni
-By Sahar Hassani

Chris Degioanni has experienced plenty of highs and lows in his SPEED World Challenge career. Chris had a busy 2008 season as crew chief for Tri-Point Motorsports and car chief for Charles Espenlaub's #73 Mazda6. This was my fifth season with Tri-Point and seventh in the series. I love competing in the World Challenge Series, says Chris. The series provides plenty of high adrenaline and tense situations. In 2007, Tri-Point Motorsports secured the manufacturers' crown for Mazda in their signature blue and white Mazda6s. Tri-Point drivers, Jeff Altenburg and Randy Pobst, finished first and second respectively in drivers' points. However, defending their titles in 2008 proved to be challenging as they struggled to adjust to the newly mandated Toyo Proxy tires. To complicate matters, the #73 was plagued with gremlins throughout the season. Everybody has stepped up this year, explains Chris. There are no back markers, the cars are pushed to the limit and you have to fight for everything.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Chris' passion for motorsports began when his dad was crew chief for OPM Autosports. I first volunteered with OPM at fourteen, says Chris. As he got older, his job duties continued to increase and soon became an employee at the shop. While working for OPM, Degioanni worked race weekends for Tri-Point Motorsports who is based in California. After two years of commuting from Atlanta to LA, Chris eventually transplanted to the west coast. Chris gained valuable experience as car chief for Randy Pobst's Mazda6 and Shanna Marinus' Mazda Protege. As car chief, it was my responsibility to prepare the car based on the spec sheet regulated by SCCA, make sure the car was mechanically sound before each session, work with the driver to determine car setup and institute changes.

Chris has always been impressed with Tri-Point Motorsports efforts. Tri-Point is a very close knit team. My older brother Trevor, is the mechanic for Espenlaub's car and we all work very well together. We manage our time wisely and spend little over time in preparing our cars. Their Mazda6s arrive at the track well prepared and the crew are well rested. We work eight hour days, 40 hours a week at the shop. Of course on race weeks, our hours are much longer.
In the World Challenge Series, a crew chief's responsibilities vary from one team to the next explains Chris. Besides having talent and the ability to think quickly on his feet, Chris believes a good crew chief must work with his heart and sole, delegate responsibilities, respect all members of his team and motivate them during tough times. Following each session, we have a round table discussion with the crew chief, team owner, engineer and driver.
  Next Page >>