By Steve Wittich
After six months of transcontinental travel, the members of the XtremeTM crew end their Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season with a more comfortable 90-mile trip from their home base in Corvallis, Ore. to Portland International Raceway.
As the tire service provider for Cooper Tire, XtremeTM literally keeps the USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights teams rolling. The crew consisting of at least a dozen Oregonians, led by Nikki Stauber, mounts, dismounts and services all of the Cooper Tire slicks and rain tires for the Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.
XtremeTM began their exclusive relationship with Cooper Tire when the 104-year-old Findlay, Ohio tire manufacturer started providing tires for the Atlantic Championship.
Outside of the open-wheel racing world, Cooper Tire and XtremeTM have also worked together on IMSA Prototype Lites, Global Rallycross, and Americas Rallycross.
“Excellent,” said Stauber when asked about working with Cooper Tire. “And, I’m not just saying that because I’m sitting in front of a Cooper (Tire) trailer. What I really love about working with Chris Pantani (Director of Marketing; UHP Marketing, Event Management, Sponsorships & Motorsports at Cooper) and Cooper Tire, in general, is that they are very passionate about finding great solutions and win-win scenarios for the racing world.
“I really appreciate that Cooper Tire are continually trying to think of ways to keep improving and to find new ways to keep racing in front of the public eye.
“Chris is a great networker, so he’s really good at finding ways to cross-market and bring people together in ways that are beneficial to everyone. I really appreciate that when they make a decision, they follow through. They are great partners!”
If you spend any time in the Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires paddock, it quickly becomes evident that the XtremeTM crew are friends and have a lot of fun at the race track during their “workcations.” In a hyper-competitive racing paddock, an infectious and fun attitude goes a long way.
Stauber told TSO Ladder: “One of the comments that people often make about our crew is that it looks like we are always having fun. I don’t know if it’s an Oregon thing, or what. We do have a crew that gets along really well. A lot of them call this “workcation.” We try to mix in some work and fun. These guys have great attitudes, and they do work very hard. They get everybody their products on time with very few mistakes (we’re not perfect), they do it with a great attitude; keeping in mind that everybody that is here is on the road especially at this time of the year everybody is tired. Even if you get somebody that is less than pleasant, they are very good at letting that fall away. They have a great attitude, and I do appreciate them. We have a great team!”
So about that “home” race?
“I’m really excited about it,” said the always smiling Stauber. “It is really great. I love being in Oregon. Oregon is so beautiful. I do feel like the Northwest has a fanbase that is untapped. To get to have a big race like this here. I think we’re going to have some really great support from the fans. So, I’m really excited about that. It’s a beautiful setting. And, it’s going to be fun because we have so many family and friends coming. It will be so cool to share with them what we do.”