TRG Finishes Eighth in KONI Challenge Opener at Daytona
Daytona Beach, Florida —TRG’s Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly drove their Porsche to an eighth place finish today in the Fresh From Florida 200 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge season opener.
Ende started the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Racer’s Roast/TRG Porsche 997 from his fifth place qualifying position. Ende proceeded to run in the top five, doing a double stint. When he turned the Porsche over to Pumpelly the team was running strong in seventh.
“I had a pretty good double stint,” Ende said. “I was able to run up with the leaders and we were keeping a pretty good pace. Doing the double stint we didn’t put tires on, so I was an hour and forty five minutes on the same set of tires, which is asking a lot. I made a couple of small mistakes, but when I gave the car to Spencer we were in solid shape.”
During the yellow plagued three hour race, eight cautions for 31 laps, the restarts played havoc on the No. 39. The big V8 cars would be able to pull away on the restarts negating any advantage the TRG drivers were able to gain.
“We are really good in the infield,” Pumpelly said. “Then when we get up on the bank the Mustangs just blow by us. The car was handling excellent, we just don’t have the horses to challenge them. Duncan did a great job doing a double stint. He qualified well and ran upfront all race. We had no issues with the car. It is just frustrating running in the top 10 and really not battling for a chance to win.”
In the No. 41 Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche 997 John Potter and Andy Lally ran into trouble early in the race. John Potter started the Porsche from the 12th row and following the first caution period lost third gear and eventually fourth. He pitted on lap 18 and turned the car over to Lally.
“During the first caution I lost third gear,” Potter said. “Then I also lost fourth. I was going through the Bus Stop turn in fifth. It became tough to keep the momentum of the car up. I turned the car over to Andy to see if he could nurse it home for some points.”
Lally took over and soon lost all drive to the rear wheels of the 997.
“When I got in I had first, second, fifth and sixth gear,” Lally said. “It wasn’t fun to drive, but it wasn’t impossible either. Then around lap 37 it went to total neutral. We weren’t breaking gears. I think it was in the internal linkage somewhere.”
Kevin Buckler, team owner, was satisfied with the performance of the team and worried about the future.
“Duncan and Spencer had to drive the tires off the car to place in eighth,” Buckler said. “We really have to kill the car to keep up with the Mustangs and BMW’s. We just burn down the car and then when it is time to race at the end we have nothing left. Spencer can race with anyone, anywhere, but with our competition disadvantage we are just asking too much from him and Duncan. John and Andy did a great job this weekend. John has been getting so fast and is really a “heads up” driver. We have a championship caliper team, we just need the opportunity to make things exciting at the front.”
TRG was founded in 1993 and has been competing at the top level of motor racing ever since. The team has the most wins of any team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with 25, including the 2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT championship trophy to go along with wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. TRG’s young KONI Challenge team has logged two wins and recorded seven podium finishes in their first two seasons of competition.
TRG is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance racing parts. The group specializes in engine and chassis tuning as well as full service professional race car preparation. The company also provides electrical and mechanical engineering services, driver development and arrive-and-drive opportunities. TRG is based in Petaluma, Calif., near its home track of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The company’s NASCAR operation is based in Mooresville, North Carolina with a new state-of-the-art facility coming on-line at New Jersey Motorsports Park in late 2009.