TRG Has Trying Day at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, OH —
Lexington, Ohio, (June 20, 2009) - TRG's Justin Marks and Andy Lally finished the Grand-Am Rolex Series EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in eighth. John Potter and Craig Stanton finished ninth, Josemanuel Gutierrez and Scott Schroeder were 12th, with Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly ending the day in 14th. This caps a very trying day for TRG.
What started out as a tough day at Infineon Raceway with the TRG Motorsports Adobe Road Winery NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy Impala SS of David Gilliland being wrecked in morning practice spilled over into the team's Grand-Am Race at Mid-Ohio. Each of the four TRG GT entries had issues on the day.
Justin Marks No. 67 Construct Corps/Kartel Motorsports/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3 had a competitive car for three-quarters of the race, with teammate Andy Lally running in third when a flat tire forced them to pit out of sequence costing the duo valuable track position.
"It was a little bit disappointing," Marks said. "It was another race in this string of bad luck for us. The first stint was kind of screwy because we stopped during that first caution to get the mandatory pit stop out of the way early. Half the field did it and half the field didn't so there was a lot of mismatched strategy out there. Once things settled down I tried to force a better time out of the car but couldn't do it so I just rode around and kept us in position for Andy. The good news is that we are going back to Daytona, where we won earlier this year, so hopefully we can have a good run there July 4th."
"We had a great car today," Lally said. "This was probably the best balance we have had so I have to say thanks to my crew and Jeff (Braun) our engineer and all of the guys for hustling. We were going to have a really good battle there but unfortunately we had an overanxious DP and he hit me in the rear going into turn nine. It took a couple of laps but we wore through our sidewall which gave us a flat and we had to pit for that and lost some time. It was one of those things that at the end of the day it was a tough deal and not the result we wanted, but I'm a lucky guy because I get to be a race car driver for a living and work with these guys."
John Potter started the No. 65 Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3 and had it solidly in the top five. Craig Stanton took over and had an unfortunate incident with the No. 40 Mazda late in the race on a restart, relegating the team to a ninth place finish.
"I thought it went really well," Potter said. "We had a little late race problem with some over aggressive Mazdas out there but my TRG Porsche ran really great. It was our first drive in the No. 65 for Craig and me after taking a 66 hiatus, but we are all back together, one big happy family. The good thing was that the crash was pretty late into the race so we got to see what we can do as a team and we were there for what would have easily been our best finish in the No. 65 TRG Porsche."
"When we started the race John had just gotten out of the TRG GS KONI Challenge Porsche and he was all calibrated in and he ran a really good stint," Stanton said. "We were in the top five while he was running - the car was good and we were looking good. I took over and with the car running so well and with strategy we ran it to the top five or six and actually moving forward. I think we had a top five car for sure but we got tangled up with the 40 Mazda. It was one of those turn one deals on a restart. As Dorsey Schroder from the SPEED Channel says 'Yellows breed yellows'. It was four of five wide going in there and I made it out but we got tagged in the right rear so we had a bunch of toe-in which made the steering center up at about nine or 10 o'clock. We had a little damage to the wheel but all in all with the 65 crew we are banging on all six cylinders and we are really looking forward to the next race at Daytona. We put some new things in place to move along for the rest of the year. "
Duncan Ende started the No. 66 AXA/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 and on lap 25 limped the car back to the pits with a broken axle taking him and teammate Spencer Pumpelly out of contention early in the race.
"I had a really good car under me and I was doing decent times," Ende said. "I had a problem with a tire rubbing early on and it was really severe. There was so much smoke in the cockpit I thought I was going to cut a tire down. That eventually cleared up and I was getting a pretty good move on but an axle broke in turn one. It wasn't actually as hairy as I would have expected. It was too bad because we had a really good car and Spencer needed the points so I am sorry it went down this way."
"The toughest part is that we were very competitive in the championship and now I feel that we have taken a huge step backwards and we are going to need a lot of luck to get back in it," Pumpelly said. "With the season half over we have limited options as far as luck helping us out. That is tough to swallow because I know the guys have worked really, really hard and they cover every little nut and bolt and the consistency that they have put in is why we were in second place in the championship. I hate it for everyone on the team who worked so hard to get us where we are. Duncan was having a great run in the beginning of the race. This is his first run with me in the 66 Porsche and he had a phenomenal weekend. He has really stepped up. KONI or GT he has really one of the guys to watch out for in the future."
Josemanuel Gutierrez started the No. 68 Cohen Financial/Intercity Lines/TRG Porsche and had a trying first stint. Handing over to teammate Scott Schroeder, the 21 year old celebrating his birthday today, unfortunately ingested some fuel that had spilled on the hood and made its way into the car. This forced him to hand the car back over to Gutierrez late in the running.
"This is my 21st birthday so even though the race didn't go as planned and you want to have a good race on your birthday it was still a good day," Schroeder said. "Josemanuel had an alright stint, he was running very strong early on and I think he should be proud about that. I got in and we were doing pretty well but we were a couple of laps down and running our own race. Unfortunately a freak thing happened and some fuel got on the windshield and when I turned on the windshield wipers it came right into the cockpit and into my mouth. That last 45 minutes was a rough one. I actually had to get out and had the car back over to Josemanuel again who brought it home to the checker. It was a hard weekend but I think the 68 crew worked really hard to keep us fighting back from those laps we lost."
Team owner Kevin Buckler, who is on a whirl-wind weekend, commuting back and forth from Mid-Ohio to the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California has had a trying weekend.
"Just when you think that nothing else can wrong it gets tougher," Buckler said. "We had our primary NASCAR Sprint Cup car wrecked in this morning's practice and then we had a lot of little issues with all of our Rolex GT cars today. Justin and Andy had a great car and then they had the flat. Duncan and Spencer broke a half-shaft. John and Craig had contact on a restart which affected the handling for the rest of the race. Josemanuel and Scott had their fuel in the car issue. I have one more race this weekend at our home track at Infineon to try and make the weekend right - we will persevere. This team always does!"
The team will return to where the season started at Daytona International Speedway for a practice, qualify and race all in one day on July 4th prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.
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.