TRG's Potter and Lally Win KONI Challenge at The Glen
Watkins Glen, NY —
TRG's John Potter and Andy Lally drove to a hard fought victory in the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge GS Series race at Watkins Glen International raceway today. Teammates Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly came home in fourth.
Potter started the No. 41 Magnus Racing/Intercity Lines/TRG Porsche 997 from his eighth place qualifying position, his best of the year. Potter put in an excellent opening stint. Turning over to Lally, who used his vast knowledge of the Watkins Glen circuit to make daring outside passes to move his way up the field, the veteran was able to get the car to the front. Later in the race Lally took advantage of dueling BMW teammates in front of him to get by and take the win for TRG.
"We had some unexpected wetness during the race, which is what you expect when you come to Watkins Glen," Potter said. "It was my best qualifying run of the season. I had a good, clean opening stint, turning over to Andy in good position to help set him up for his charge to the front. The guys did a great job with the car and in the pits today."
"This is a talent rich series and it is really fun to race here," Lally said. "The restart on the final yellow was probably some of the craziest racing moves I have been involved with in a long time. We were four wide door-to-door. I think the front three cars passed each other three or four times within a couple of laps. It was absolutely amazing. It was great for TRG and it is John's first win, so that is cool. It is a big win for me in my home state as well. I think this win put us back in the hunt for a championship. We are working real hard to try and put a program together to come back here in August and run the Sprint Cup race. I tested the TRG Motorsports Sprint Cup car at VIR this week and had a blast with the team."
Ende and teammate Pumpelly were a fixture in the top five most of the day. Ende started the car from his front row qualifying position, keeping the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes/Racer's Roast Coffee/Intercity Lines/TRG Porsche 997 toward the head of the field for his entire stint. Pumpelly raced hard, working with teammate Lally in traffic, but had to recover from hard contact on one of the late race restarts to keep the TRG Porsche in the top five.
"We had a great qualifying session," Ende said. "I had a really good car all weekend and in qualifying it showed what we had. With the brief rain at the beginning I turned the car over to Spencer and he did a really good job. We did not have the best car for working the traffic here. We had a little bad luck on that restart with contact, but Spencer did a great job to bring it home in fourth."
"We got unlucky with our pit strategy," Pumpelly said. "We had good strategy, but sometimes you just get unlucky, which is what happened. We had to take two tires at the end to get track position. On the restart I got hit pretty hard, I had to gather myself up and make up a few spots, so that cost us. The car didn't want to work in traffic, I couldn't draft people and work the brake zone. It is too bad. I would have liked to have been on the podium today."
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, is celebrating a great run by his two KONI Challenge Porsches.
"It was a great day for us today with the KONI cars," Buckler said. "John got his first win and Andy proved, once again, that he is a great sports car driver and a master of this track. That was some of the most exciting racing of the year. Duncan did an awesome job in qualifying and, as he has all season, kept the car at the front for Spencer. We are trying to put a deal together to run Andy in the Sprint Cup race when we come back here in August. We are looking for some sponsor help there and I hope this win can help us sell that program."
Today's race will be televised on the SPEED Channel on June 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
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 (three) at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. TRG's young KONI Challenge team has logged four wins and recorded ten 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.