TRG Finish 6-9 at ALMS New England Grand Prix Lakeville, CT-- July 5, 2004 -- The two Porsches of The Racer's Group finished the ALMS New England Grand Prix in a strong 6th and 9th position today, as tricky weather wreaked havoc with many of the...
TRG Finish 6-9 at ALMS New England Grand Prix
Lakeville, CT-- July 5, 2004 -- The two Porsches of The Racer's Group finished the ALMS New England Grand Prix in a strong 6th and 9th position today, as tricky weather wreaked havoc with many of the teams' pit and tire strategies. A heavy rainstorm started just minutes after the field had completed its reconnaissance laps, and every car on the grid had been fitted with slick tires. Several cars spun off-course on the first lap due to the wet, greasy track, including the #43 Porsche, which hit the wall hard and caused the race's first full course caution. Many teams, including TRG, immediately brought their cars in to switch to full rain tires. The rain stopped as quickly as it started, and the #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche of Patrick Long lost a lap during the change back to slick tires.
A second full-course caution came out within minutes, and on the ensuing restart, Long was rear-ended by another Porsche, which brought the car in for a pit stop for a preventative check for damage. The car was not damaged, but it lost another two laps during the ensuing stops.
Patrick said: "I think that luck didn't go our way for the second race in a row -- our overall pace is at a podium level, but we can't seem to catch a break. The weather threw us a curveball, and we decided to go conservative in our strategy instead of being aggressive like we were at Mid-Ohio. We'll work on our strategy a good deal for Infineon, and be ready to get up to the podium."
Long's co-driver Cort Wagner took over the car in the second hour of the race, and gained several positions through the course of his stint. He said, "The luck did not fall our way today. Just about everything that could have gone wrong did -- Pat getting hit early on set us back a bit, and the weather definitely didn't do us any favors. We had a great car and our lap times were among the best in the field, but as they say, some days you're the bug, and some days you're the windshield."
The #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche also had an eventful race, one in which unfortunately it had an off-track excursion courtesy of another car. Jim Matthews was hit in the left rear by an overtaking prototype, causing a spin off the track and a flattened rear wheel. He immediately brought the car into the pits for a tire change, losing a lap under green, and re-entered the race. Smoke was reported coming from the car's left rear by the race officials, and the car was brought in again for a damage inspection. No problems were found, and Jim again re-entered the race, where he and co-driver Pierre Ehret set ever-quicker laps for the duration of the race.
Ehret said, "My stint went pretty well -- I had to come in twice for fuel. I was not motivated to drive too quickly and take chances because I was a few laps down after Jim was punted from the track, so I gave 95 or 98% effort. Jim did a good job in the car, and if not for being shoved off the track, we'd have finished in a higher position."
"We started the race with a lot of confidence, but with very unsure weather conditions. We had some unfortunate contact early on and had to bring the car in under green to check the condition. An unscheduled green flag stop is a tough pill to swallow here, but we got the #66 car back out on dry tires and fought hard to the end for a strong 6th place finish. Jim Matthews was the innocent victim of an errant P2 car and came in to change a damaged wheel and tire. The lap times of all four drivers this weekend were very strong, and we feel very confident going into our next event at our home track of Infineon Raceway."
TRG will use their first break in more than five weeks to regroup and head for California, where the team will work in the comforts of home in preparation for the ALMS Grand Prix of Sonoma, on July 17, 2004. The race will be broadcast live on CBS.