Birmingham: The Racer's Group Saturday report

Birmingham, AL -- October 9, 2004 - The three Porsches of The Racer's Group qualified for Sunday's Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL today, with TRG driver RJ Valentine setting the pace for the team with a lap of 1:32.203 in...

Birmingham, AL -- October 9, 2004 - The three Porsches of The Racer's Group qualified for Sunday's Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL today, with TRG driver RJ Valentine setting the pace for the team with a lap of 1:32.203 in the #66 F1 Air/Gleason Agency Porsche. Morning rain on the two-year old circuit significantly slowed lap times on the day.

Valentine said, "I had a good qualifying run today, and I think we're well set up for the race tomorrow. Unfortunately, we still had mainly a rain setup on the car for qualifying, so we weren't able to take advantage of the changes we'd made on the dry circuit yesterday. It's easier to drive a soft car like we would in the wet, so if it rains tomorrow I think we'll be in good shape. I'll start the race in 10th position, and I'll look to gain a bunch of track positions early in the race."

David Master, driving the #65 Basic Coatings Porsche GT3 Cup car in the SGS class, qualified in 9th position in class, setting a fast lap of 1:35.981. He and new co-driver Steve Pattee will push for a top finish in the race. Master said, "The 15-minute qualifying format is really interesting for me, because there really isn't much of an opportunity to get a clear lap around the track, so I feel that I'm having to hustle the car nearly everywhere. The track was relatively dry, which we didn't entirely expect, so we were running a bit softer suspension settings than would have been optimal, but we're very competitive at the moment - within about one half second of five cars. We're looking forward to it tomorrow."

Robert Nearn, driving the #67 Monster Cable/TRG Porsche, had a spin on his out lap in qualifying, slipping into the grass as his cold, new tires found a patch of water on the edge of the track. Nearn gingerly drove through the grass, but caught the edge of the tire wall, damaging the car's bodywork and prematurely ending its qualifying session. Nearn and team owner Kevin Buckler will start the race tomorrow near the back of the GT field, and will have to make up ground in the early stages of the race. Nearn said, "It's a bummer that the car went off-course, but thankfully the damage was only superficial -- there was no chassis or suspension damage, so we won't be affected for the race. The car is actually very well set up, so Kevin and I will have to battle from the get-go."

Team owner Kevin Buckler said, "With three cars running this weekend, we've got a busy day ahead of us in the race tomorrow. The team's strategy will be to drive a smart race -- if rain comes, as is forecasted, it'll play to the team's strengths. I'm excited about racing here tomorrow, the circuit is very challenging and it'll be even more so in the wet."

The Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park will be broadcast live on Speed Channel at 1pm ET on Sunday, October 10.

-trg-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Robert Nearn , Steve Pattee