Laguna Seca: The Racer's Group race report

TRG Closes Out 2004 ALMS Season at Laguna Monterey, CA -- October 16, 2004 -- The two Porsches of The Racer's Group closed out the 2004 ALMS season tonight at Laguna Seca, as a freak rainstorm hit with less than 20 minutes left in the race, ...

TRG Closes Out 2004 ALMS Season at Laguna

Monterey, CA -- October 16, 2004 -- The two Porsches of The Racer's Group closed out the 2004 ALMS season tonight at Laguna Seca, as a freak rainstorm hit with less than 20 minutes left in the race, sending teams scrambling for wet tires. The #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche of Cort Wagner and Patrick Long finished 5th in class, after a day full of thrilling battles with the other GT cars. Wagner, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., commented on this stint in the car, the middle of three stints during the race for the #66 car.

"The car had great balance, but it was getting very hard to see after sunset. I had a great battle with the #31 car, and I had a lot of trust in Patrick to go out and finish strong. No one expected rain, but he did a great job in extraordinarily difficult conditions. It's a little bittersweet today, because this is the last race of the season -- we've had a lot of fun with New Century Mortgage, Monster Cable, the Auto Gallery and CDOC. It's been great."

The race was a rather uneventful one for the first three hours, as there were no caution periods and very few racing incidents. All that changed in the last hour of the race, however, as an unseasonable rainstorm hit the circuit and caused everyone to prepare wet tires. Just as the rain began, the final yellow flag of the race flew, bunching up the field and causing a fantastic restart in pouring rain. In addition to a very dark track and a sudden squall that soaked the track, Patrick Long had to deal with a steadily fogging windscreen for the last ten minutes of the race, as he raced for position. In the last minutes of the race, the #31 Porsche that Long was racing for position spun, sealing 5th place in class for the #66 car.

"Today we got just about everything thrown at us that you could imagine," said Long, "We got a big wet surprise in the dark, which definitely added to the challenge of driving here, and our top-five finish was nice. It's been a fun season, and we've learned a great deal."

The #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche of Pierre Ehret and Bobby Julien finished 11th in class today, after a well-driven race. The duo battled back and forth with several other GT class cars throughout the day. "It's been a great season," said Ehret, "and to end it at Laguna was terrific. We all could have done without the rain, though! That made it especially tough at the very end, but it's part of the challenge of sports car racing."

Team owner Kevin Buckler reflected, "It was a tough race for us, but I'm proud that both cars finished so well, and with barely a scratch on either of them. We had to run the gantlet of conditions and emotions, but I'd say it was one hell of a competitive effort by TRG. Laguna is one of our favorite tracks, and to run here at night was special. We certainly had a lot of variables to deal with tonight -- my hat is off to the entire team, they and the drivers did a fantastic job. I'm very much looking forward to a bigger, better and stronger effort in the ALMS in 2005."

The Racer's Group would like to express its thanks to sponsors New Century Mortgage, Monster Cable, the Auto Gallery and CDOC for an amazing 2005 season.

-trg-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Pierre Ehret , Patrick Long , Cort Wagner