TRG EARNS SECOND AND SEVENTH PLACE GT FINISHES AT BIRMINGHAM BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (July 21, 2007) -- Team TRG scored well-deserved second-place and seventh-place GT-class finishes when the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special ...
TRG EARNS SECOND AND SEVENTH PLACE GT FINISHES AT BIRMINGHAM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (July 21, 2007) -- Team TRG scored well-deserved second-place and seventh-place GT-class finishes when the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve visited Birmingham, Alabama for the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park and Round Eleven of the 2007 schedule.
On the strength of a thrilling last-lap pass, TRG drivers RJ Valentine and Andy Lally overcame brutal heat, a slick track and intense competition to finish second and climb their sixth podium of the season.
Piloting the TRG No. 66 CRG/Maxter Porsche GT3, Valentine took the green flag from 18th position and drove a flawless first stint to stay on the lead lap and keep the car in perfect condition. Lally took over and worked his way through the field like a master, climbing the leader board to fourth-place with just 15-minutes remaining in the two-and-a-half hour event.
Waging a fight to the finish, Lally nipped at the heels of the No. 70 Mazda of Syvain Tremblay and passed him cleanly, then battled with the No.87 Porsche GT3 of Dirk Werner through every bend of the 2.3-mile Barber road course. With the checkered flag in site, Lally executed a brilliant pass in the next to the last turn of the last lap to secure the second-place finish.
"This TRG Porsche is incredible," said Lally. "These guys put an awesome car under us and I can't thank them enough. RJ is just a terrific teammate in the way he supports everything we do and every person on this TRG team makes this a ton of fun and a wonderful experience."
"Today's second-place finish keeps us alive in the championship," said TRG team owner Kevin Buckler. "I am so proud of both these guys and Andy's pass at the end was unbelievable. With just two GT-class races left in the Grand-Am season this gives us great momentum going into our big event in Montreal and our big announcement on Monday."
Also running well for TRG was the No. 65 Maxwell Paper Products Porsche GT3 driven by teammates Ross Smith and Dan DiLeo. Smith started 10th on the grid and ran a very solid stint, posting competitive lap times and keeping the car well positioned on the lead lap. DiLeo took over on lap 30 and despite never having raced at Barber, matched lap times with the leaders to post a solid seventh-place finish.
"Ross and Dan were awesome in the Maxwell Paper car," said Buckler. "They both drove a stellar race. Ross had one of the best drives I've ever seen him have and he performed just beautifully.JDan didn't get to test with us and had never been to Barber before, but he turned his best laps of the weekend during the race which is amazing and he drove a fantastic last stint. I'm super proud of both these guys."
Rounding out TRG's three-car line-up was the No. 67 NETTS/Fast Cash Porsche GT3 entry of Spencer Pumpelly and new TRG driver Tim George. George qualified and started 14th, and ran competitive lap times in his first event with the team. Pumpelly took over at the 45-minute mark into the race and had just entered the top-10 when incidental contact with another car on lap 70 forced the No. 67 entry to retire from the race.
"Tim drove a brilliant first stint, especially considering it was his first time in a GT-class race," Buckler said. "He really mixed things up with the big dogs and showed that he can drive at this level, so I'm really proud of him. Spencer had a great run all weekend with just the one little bobble that put us out of the race, but I'm really looking forward to driving with these guys again."
With today's second-place finish, Valentine and Lally climb to within eight points of the lead in the 2007 Rolex Series Driver Points Championship heading into the August 3rd Grand-Am race in Montreal.