PETALUMA, CA (June 28) - TRG heads this weekend to one of the most historically significant racing facilities in North America, Watkins Glen, NY. Known as one of the most challenging race tracks on the circuit, Watkins Glen International, with its signature blue guard rails and high speed corners is a favorite among teams and racers world wide. The race can be seen on Sunday, July 1st on SPEED at 11:00am EST.
"The Glen" is also one of the most successful racing venues in TRG's history. With seven total wins in the Grand-Am Series scattered across both Watkins Glen events and three classes, TRG has found success in any race vehicle that it has campaigned here. Its epic 1-2 finish in 2005 in the Daytona Prototype class at the Six Hours of the Glen, will stand as one of the most dominant performances in Grand American history. TRG also earned two additional GT wins in 2007 and 2010 at the six-hour event. TRG Motorsports also had four strong races in the past four years with the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup events, qualifying well and finishing in the Top 10 in 2007. This weekend the team will have three strong Porsches on the grid, with a solid mix of drivers that are ready to race and to win again.
TRG's AGUNSA/ CCNI/ La Tercera No. 64 car will be piloted by former Formula One driver Eliseo Salazar, Eduardo Costabal and Santiago Orjuela, drivers that also raced for the TRG armada at Daytona.
The Salazar-Costabal-Orjuela tandem is also likely to surprise those not used to seeing this talented trio as part of the regular Rolex Grand-Am lineup. The unofficial "captain" of the crew is Salazar, whose resume lays claim to being the only driver to compete in the five racing classics of Monoco F1, Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Dakar Rally and the Daytona 24.
"I love this team!" said Buckler. "They really showed us something at Daytona. They were solid and consistent the entire 24 hours, and were a delight to work with. They all have a great work ethic. I loved the way they worked together and they are smart "heads-up" drivers. These guys could be real sleepers this weekend."
Another strong TRG entry will be the Port Lavaca/Forgeline No. 66 car of Ben Keating, Damien Faulkner and Bryan Sellers. Keating and Faulkner shared a car at Daytona earlier this year. Sellers is a sports car veteran with wins on several of America's top road courses and has been part of the TRG family for years.
Keating, a champion Viper Challenge driver, had a stellar run at Daytona, leading for much of the race and finishing a respectable sixth in GT class. Keating, who owns the Texas-based Keating Group of Dodge Viper dealerships, has won all four Viper Cup Series races this year. In the Rolex Grand-Am Series this season, Keating is racing the three Endurance Championship events at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Indianapolis.
"Ben is having another helluva season this year in the Viper series," said Buckler. "He is a very talented driver and was unbelievably fast at Daytona. Pairing him with veterans like Sellers and Faulkner gives us a very formidable car at The Glen. I don't normally like to make predictions, but keep your eye on the No. 66 car this weekend. This is a STRONG line-up."
With Steve Bertheau taking the weekend off to heal from last week's spectacular crash, Al Carter has stepped into his seat in the Adobe Road Winery/ BePositive.org No. 67 car along with veterans Spencer Pumpelly and Wolf Henzler. Carter, who competed in his first Daytona 24 earlier this year, is a two-time Skip Barber Master's Champion with nine career wins. He has been a top competitor since 2010 in Grand-Am's Continental Tires Series with Fall-Line Motorsports and teammate Hugh Plumb.
"We are really excited to have Al join the TRG ranks this race," said team owner Kevin Buckler. "He is a great addition and complement to Spencer and Wolf. He's fast and smart and he knows how to handle the race car. These guys will make a real run at the top of the podium. Our cars have been good all season long and this is a solid track for us."
"It is going to be tough without Steve this weekend," commented Buckler. "He is part of our family. We know he wants to be in the car this weekend, but that was quite a hit he took at Road America. I've talked with him several times this week, and he is okay and really wants to be here, but with the events back to back, taking a week off makes a lot of sense. He's done a great job this year, and I know he'll be excited to get back in the car at Indy in a few weeks."
Changing hats to that of a winery owner, Buckler commented, "We are also debuting our first ever Adobe Road Winery Car and livery this weekend. We have always carried the logos as an associate sponsor but this is perfect timing, racing in the beautiful wine country here in upstate New York. The winery has really taken off this last year and some of the amazing scores and accolades we have been receiving are almost like winning Daytona! It has been a long challenging road but we are finally emerging as one of the hottest boutique brands out of Northern California and it is very humbling but also really cool!"
"We have some real talent in these cars, and Watkins Glen is a track where we have had some amazing results," said Buckler. "It is never easy here so that makes us even more proud of our record. The fact that many of these guys raced together earlier this year and had the chance to develop some chemistry really helps. The Glen can be a real monster and is so different from Daytona, but these guys are very savvy and very good. It's the second biggest race on our schedule and a really cool facility with history so we always take it seriously."
With TRG's legacy of success with multi-car operations and an incredible line-up of drivers, perhaps this week, the results at The Glen can add once more to that legacy.