TRG's Ballou and Pumpelly Fourth at Laguna Seca
Monterey, Calif. — TRG’s Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly kept their consistent streak going by finishing fourth today at the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The duo maintains their Grand-Am Rolex Series GT points lead heading to the six hour race at Watkins Glen.
Ted Ballou started the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 from his tenth place qualifying position. Wasting no time, Ballou had the Porsche in fourth place by lap 15. Pumpelly took over the drive and was able to keep the rear tires under the car for the remainder of the race and finish in a good points position of fourth.
“We had a really clean run,” Pumpelly said. “We are looking for consistency, while maintaining our points lead. It is not as big as when we came here, but we are still leading. We are going to keep being consistent and keep finishing in the top five and take the wins when we can. Ted is doing a great job in qualifying and is very clean during his stints and that is what is making us successful at the end of the day.”
John Potter had the wheel of the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3 at the start. Potter had the car up to seventh when he handed over to Stanton. Veteran sports car driver Stanton was able to maintain the position for the duos best finish of the year in seventh.
“The 65 team has been working on the car and our overall approach on the weekend,” Stanton said. “John Bedell (crew chief) and the guys took a look at why we were eighth and ninth. We were seventh today, so we are chipping away at it. Debriefing with John Potter we are getting to know why the car was better today. I think we had good handling, we had good aero on the car and the brake package was right on today. We had some good power as well. We are getting a good feeling for the Pirelli tires and what makes them work best on these cars. The set-up allowed us to run harder longer. We had three great pit stops by the guys and had a strong day.”
René Villeneuve started the No. 63 Team Polizei 144/TRG Porsche GT3 and soon had the car in the top ten. Villeneuve put in a double stint behind the wheel, and he soon had the series new comers in the top ten. Villeneuve handed over to Henri Richard who drove some of his best laps of the weekend and was able to bring the car home unscathed in 12th position for the group’s first outing.
“TRG gave us great support this weekend, we had a fantastic crew,” Richard said. “I have to thank René. He did a fabulous first stint and ran an hour-and-thirty-five minutes, which is no small task. He gave me a good car and I played it safe. Our objective was absolutely first and foremost to take the checker. I judged that some of the guys behind me were faster and I let them go. I listened to my spotter on the DP traffic and kept it together to the end. A good or our first outing our team.”
Josemanuel Gutierrez started the No. 68 Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche. Gutierrez was able to knock on the door of the top ten during his strong stint. Handing over to 20-year old Scott Schroeder, the youngster proceeded to engage in an on track battle with the No. 20 car until contact relegated him to a 11th place finishing position.
“Our strategy had to change from what we planned in the truck before the race,” Schroeder said. “We had to adjust it as the race progressed. We were a lap down so we had to adapt to that fact. We could have finished eighth or ninth, but we were in that battle at the end. I had contact with the 20 car with about five laps to go which bent our suspension and knocked the toe out. I am looking forward to running Watkins Glen with Josemanuel in a few weeks.”
Gutierrez was impressed with his co-driver this weekend. “We had a slightly tough race, because we had two mishaps and we lost our left side mirror,” Gutierrez said. “But Scott was our hero for this weekend. He had to drive a badly damaged car, but he drove so well, that his times were as good as if the car was in perfect condition. I’m looking forward to driving with him again at Watkins Glen and having Duncan Ende in the car with us.”
Justin Marks had a tough start to the race. Taking the green in the No. 67 Construct Corps/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3, Justin kept the car up front and stayed solidly on the tails of the class leaders but had an issue with a radiator on lap 8. The team took to repairing the Porsche on pit lane returning Justin to the track to complete the minimum distance for points and then getting Andy Lally into the fray, not only getting his minimum seat time, but grabbing four valuable positions on the finishing order as well. The crew helped get the team to a 15th place finish on the day.
“We had another tough outing,” Lally said. “This crew came through and did a pretty tough fix on the car in very hot conditions. I think we are going to look back on these finishes where the crew performed so well at the end of the season as extremely valuable. We were able to get back out and get four more places on the finish sheet. I am not sure what happened, the right front radiator just lost its water all at once.”
Team owner Kevin Buckler’s team is leading the points and having solid drives every weekend.
“Ted and Spencer had another strong day,” Buckler said. “They are driving smart and the guys are putting a great car under them. John Potter and Craig Stanton had their best finish with us so far, another testament to their ever increasing driving abilities and overall approach on the track. Josemanel and Scott ran smart all day. Josemanuel did his usual ironman stint and Scott had a nice battle at the end and made a pro move to back off with an ill handling car and take the position. Our new guys René and Henri had a great first outing with us. They both did just a stellar job in the cockpit. We introduced the Team Polizei 144 brand to the Grand-Am audience. Justin and Andy had their trouble early which was a bummer because it was one of Justins best drives. He was flying in his opening stint. I am glad they got it back out.”
Round five of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be the Sahlen’s Six Hour of Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway on June 6.
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 26, 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 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 and a new state-of-the-art facility is coming on-line at New Jersey Motorsports Park in late 2009.