TRG MAINTAINS TOP-FIVE IN POINTS AFTER GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI Homestead, Fl (March 8, 2010)- After a tough weekend for the team, TRG held their ground to survive both the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 as...
TRG MAINTAINS TOP-FIVE IN POINTS AFTER GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI
Homestead, Fl (March 8, 2010)- After a tough weekend for the team, TRG held their ground to survive both the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 as well as the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with top-10 finishes, keeping the team in the top-five points positions in both series.
Homestead-Miami speedway, featuring both a tight infield configuration in combination with a banked oval designed for NASCAR, was expected to be a difficult track for TRG's Porsches and Porsches in general. In the Rolex Series, the series-spec Pirelli tire really rewards the tube-framed chassis such as the Mazdas, Camaros, and Corvettes. Driving in the No. 66 AXA Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, drivers Ted Ballou and Andy Lally fought tire wear all race to bring the car home in a steady eighth place, finishing as the top Porsche and keeping the duo fifth in driver points, as well as placing TRG third in team points.
Although the race was incident free for the AXA Porsche, driver Andy Lally was disappointed with the challenge to keep the car competitive.
"We just couldn't run the pace that the tube-frame cars could this weekend, it's extremely frustrating to race like this," stated Lally, a three-time series champion. "When I got in the car I did everything I could to keep us on the lead lap, but after only a few laps the rear tires just burned off, and we were just doing what we could to hold on."
In the No. 67 VisitGuatemala.com Porsche, driver Enrique Saravia had his first taste of GRAND-AM competition, eventually finishing 11th with co-driver Spencer Pumpelly. As a multi-time GT1 series champion in Central America and the Caribbean, the Guatemalan showed steady improvement throughout the weekend, eventually bringing his lap times close to the front runners.
"It was a great first weekend in the GRAND-AM series," stated Saravia. "The level of competition is so high in this series and I'm happy we had a clean race without any incidents. TRG did a great job preparing everything this weekend, and I hope we can put together a program for the season."
In the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Ted Ballou returned to the series to run with series regular Spencer Pumpelly, where the duo drove an aggressive strategy to finish sixth. As a race featuring a variety of yellow flags and caution periods, it was anyone's guess as to what the right strategy would be to finish the race on top. Running a fuel strategy towards the end that would have put the team on top had their been no caution periods at the end, a late-race yellow allowed several cars to avoid last-minute refueling stops, putting the No. 41 AXA machine in sixth, the top finishing Porsche.
For Ballou, the return to the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge was a fun return back to the series where he earned his first professional win.
"It's a really, really competitive series out there. There's so many cars on the track that you really have to drive smart and aggressive at the same time," stated Ballou. "I was really happy to see the AXA Porsche take sixth, it's too bad the strategy didn't put us on top."
For Team Owner Kevin Buckler, all eyes are forward on the next steps for the team.
"We really wanted to show well for AXA this weekend, they've been such a big supporter and their commitment to our team and GRAND-AM couldn't have been more evident than with their sponsoring of both programs," stated Buckler. "It's a shame we have a set of rules and tires that won't let a Porsche compete. Porsche and TRG have been part of GRAND-AM since the beginning, but right now there's just no way for these cars to compete. When you have two great drivers and a great team, execute flawlessly and get lapped by lesser drivers and finish eighth--something is horribly wrong with the rules. We have been saying it for a long long time but we are now at a crossroads and the other Porsche teams are looking to exit the series. We will run our brand where we can be competitive. I was, however, VERY happy to welcome Enrique to our team. He did a fantastic job and was a real pro. He will have a great future here at TRG."