Three inside the Top 10 for TRG DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- The Porsche GT3 has traditionally been at its strongest at Daytona International Speedway, which TRG hoped would continue to be the case in Thursday night's Brumos Porsche 250. However,...
Three inside the Top 10 for TRG
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- The Porsche GT3 has traditionally been at its strongest at Daytona International Speedway, which TRG hoped would continue to be the case in Thursday night's Brumos Porsche 250.
However, while Andy Lally and Ted Ballou finished fifth in the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3 and three TRG Porsches earned top-10 results in the GT class, team owner Kevin Buckler and the rest of the team came away somewhat disappointed.
"We had three cars in the top 10 and our guys did a great job, but I'm a little disappointed," Buckler said. "I'm not having a lot of fun running here in Grand-Am right now. It was just a Mazda parade tonight again. I've never seen so many awesome lap times with the two Mazdas at the front of the field. They need to get the rules right, because you're seeing the fields diminish and that is truly a shame and will really hurt everyone. We are trying to be patient but we need parity between the marques NOW. Done right, this is a great place to race but right now it is not right. This used to be THE Porsche track. What's left for Porsche?"
Lally and Ballou were the second highest teammates among the Porsche drivers and the No. 66 was the first car to finish one lap down to the race-winning No. 70 Mazda. Ballou started the car 12th in class and kept the car in the hunt throughout his stint before turning the car over to Lally. The timing of yellow flags ultimately dropped the No. 66 machine off the lead lap, but Lally persevered for a top-five result. It was the second consecutive top-five result for Lally and Ballou and was their third top five of the season.
"It was a good day," Ballou said. "We had a good car under us. I had a little contact out there, but it was a good run. I picked up a couple of spots. Unfortunately, we lost the lead lap. Otherwise, Andy would have been right there for a podium. It was a good day for us."
For the third consecutive race and the fourth time in the last five races, the No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total-R Insulation Solutions Porsche GT3 from TRG/Riegel Autosport finished inside the top 10. Co-drivers Hima Maher and Craig Stanton brought the car home in eighth place, earning the race's hard-charger award for gaining the most positions during the race.
"It was another really clean run," stated Hima Maher. "I handed a clean car off to Craig. We had excellent strategy from both John Bedell and Ted Rozsa. What more can we say? We just kept it clean and ran consistent laps. It's unfortunate we went down a lap, but we weren't the only ones. We're the second-highest finishing TRG Porsche behind Andy Lally and Ted Ballou. It's great."
The No. 67 Johnny Love Vodka/ 994 Magazine TRG Porsche GT3 also returned to the top 10 after a two-race absence with a ninth-place performance by co-drivers Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly. It was the sixth top-10 result in nine races this season for the No. 67 teammates, enabling the No. 67 team to maintain fourth place in the championship standings.
"It's another top-10 finish for the No. 67 Johnny Love Vodka/ 994 Magazine TRG Porsche," George said. "They're a new sponsor, and it's nice to get them a top-10 finish. We did what we could. We didn't have the best setup. We changed some gears and missed the practice. I qualified the best out of the TRG Porsches (11th), which was great, and ran a pretty clean stint. I had a little issue with a DP out there; he gave me a little knock. Spencer had a little issue and that cost us a lap, and we couldn't get the lap back. It is what it is. We should still be pretty good on the rookie points. We should still be leading, and I'm looking forward to our next track at Barber, where it's a Porsche track."
Unfortunately, the fourth TRG Porsche was back in the garage area at the drop of the checkered flag. The No. 68 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air Porsche GT3 for co-drivers Bryan Sellers and RJ Valentine was classified 21st in the GT class after retiring with a mechanical problem. The No. 68 machine completed 44 of the race's 70 laps.
"We had a pretty good thing going and then the engine went away on us," Valentine said. "What's more to say? It's a bad day at Black Rock."