Daytona II: The Racer's Group race report

Daytona Beach, FL -- July 1-2, 2004 -- The two-car Porsche team of The Racer's Group finished 3-4 in the GT class at the Grand-Am Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway tonight, the fourth podium finish of the season for the team. ...

Daytona Beach, FL -- July 1-2, 2004 -- The two-car Porsche team of The Racer's Group finished 3-4 in the GT class at the Grand-Am Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway tonight, the fourth podium finish of the season for the team. The #66 F1 Air/Gleason Agency Porsche 911 GT3 RS, driven by Chris Gleason, RJ Valentine and Ian James finished third in class, just 4.475 seconds ahead of team owner Kevin Buckler and Liz Halliday in the #67 TRG Porsche.

The race saw a full-course caution on the first lap, and on the ensuing restart Kevin Buckler maintained his lead; he wouldn't surrender the lead on the track. At the first series of pit stops, three cars got past the #66 car and a later strategy gamble nearly paid off for the #66 car, when Liz Halliday stayed out an extra lap under yellow, anticipating a wave-by to gain a lap back on the field. The wave-by didn't occur, and what resulted was one of the closest battles the two cars of the TRG team have had all season long.

The #67 F1 Air/Gleason Agency Porsche was qualified in 4th position and started by Chris Gleason, who turned the car over to teammate RJ Valentine holding in 4th position. Both Gleason and Valentine employed a conservative strategy of tire preservation, and handled the car with care before Valentine turned the car over to Ian James.

Valentine said, "I had a great stint in the car -- Chris did an amazing job in his stint, and he gave me the car in exactly the position we needed to be in. The car was flawless, but I had to exercise a good deal of patience conserving the tires. Ian did an amazing job of getting us to our third podium of the season."

James, who is among the top four drivers in three separate championships so far this season, commented on his race. "It was a great result for us -- the crew did a great job to give us a car that ended up being quickest in the whole field at the end of the race. I was happy to get around both the BMWs, and it's a great way to start the 4th of July weekend."

The race had only one scary moment -- with approximately 20 laps to go, two Daytona Prototypes made contact under heavy braking into turn one of the Daytona course, spreading debris down the runoff area and briefly launching one of the cars airborne. Both drivers were unhurt, but a full-course caution caused the field to bunch up, allowing the nos. 66 and 67 cars to close together, along with the #44 Porsche, with whom both TRG cars were fighting for position.

Team owner Kevin Buckler said, "We had a great run to the end of the race, and it was really fun to have a dice with Ian. Liz did a great job in the car today, and the crew again prepared us a terrific racecar. We couldn't have done much more in the race -- but the result ended up good. This is a great start for TRG for the weekend -- now it's off to Lime Rock for the ALMS race."

The TRG team is already busy in Lime Rock, CT preparing for the New England Grand Prix, which runs Monday, July 5th, and will be televised on CBS.

-trg-

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Series GRANDAM