Indianapolis, IN -- June 20, 2004 -- As the trailers pulled out of a busy Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, the TRG crew and drivers reflected on what Kevin Buckler called a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. The five-car TRG team ...
Indianapolis, IN -- June 20, 2004 -- As the trailers pulled out of a busy Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, the TRG crew and drivers reflected on what Kevin Buckler called a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. The five-car TRG team fielded entries in the Porsche Michelin Supercup, a one-make series run in conjunction with Formula One in Europe and the U.S., and had strong showings at the historic circuit. The team set out for their first run at the Supercup races to learn the ropes, compete with the best Porsche drivers in the world, and above all, soak in the experience.
Team owner Kevin Buckler said, "For TRG to race at the Brickyard under the Porsche flag is a big honor. Having F1 here is an inspiration as well -- there's nothing more elaborate and spectacular in the racing world, and we're honored to be here. It's pretty thrilling to look up and see the hundreds of thousands of people in the stands -- it gives you a real sense of where you are."
The five TRG drivers finished well, with three finishing in the top five of the non-regular Supercup drivers. Joe Kunz was TRG's highest finisher on Sunday, with Pat Flanagan hot on his heels, then Jim Collier, Marc Bullock and Gary Becker rounding out the lineup.
Flanagan, from Laguna Hills, California, summed up his weekend. "It was the experience of a lifetime -- testing yourself against the best Porsche drivers in the world in identically prepared cars on the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I've dreamed of driving at Indy since I was a little boy listening to the radio broadcast of the 1969 Indy 500 and rooting for my racing hero Mario Andretti to win. It was amazing to watch the front-runners drive these Porsches. The best memory for me was sitting on the grid for the Saturday race and hearing my name over the PA system at the track -- it felt great to hear that. I didn't have any really scary moments, but the standing start and trying to fit 26 cars into turn one will always stick in my mind!"
Marc Bullock, from Omaha, Nebraska had a similar experience. "My overall impression from the Supercup experience was amazing. Being with a strong organization with caring and efficient people who treated us fairly in a highly visible, international event was great. Porsche took a big chance on us -- so did Kevin -- and I am sure our performance pleased them all. My best memory was working hard and patiently through the weekend, then having a culmination on Sunday of the best race day ever with the most fun I've ever had on Father's Day and sharing it with my wife and son-- no scary moments, just the anxiety of not performing my best during this huge event. The anxiety was for naught, but Kevin was right -- it came and went so fast that all that's left is the memory of how well we performed to our own expectations."
Joe Kunz was impressed with the weekend. "The whole experience is just impressive -- I think that we should definitely have more of this racing in the States. Let's put it this way -- if they ran Carrera and Supercup races in the United States more often, we'd all be back there. Every second of every minute I was there I appreciated the place -- and having our friends from TRG and the Porsche Owner's Club was pretty fulfilling. Going down the front straight out of turn 13 was just amazing -- but the scariest moment was when my right door blew off right on the front straight!"
TRG tentatively plans to run the 2005 Michelin Supercup races again, pending an invitation.