Mid-Ohio: TRG race report

TRG GTO.R TRG/iRise/F1 Air Add Two More Podiums to Streak at Mid-Ohio Petaluma, Ca. (June 25, 2006) - Despite Grand American's continued attempts to level the playing field in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class by placing restrictions on the...

TRG GTO.R TRG/iRise/F1 Air Add Two More Podiums to Streak at Mid-Ohio

Petaluma, Ca. (June 25, 2006) - Despite Grand American's continued attempts to level the playing field in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class by placing restrictions on the Pontiac GTO.R's and lowering weight regulations on other vehicles, the talented drivers of TRG continue to mount one impressive finish on top of another throughout the 2006 season. Saturday's Emco Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course saw the #64 TRG/iRise GTO.R driven by Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards finish second and the #65 TRG/F1 Air GTO.R piloted by Marc Bunting and Andy Lally take third.

The race was marred by a spectacular late race crash by the #21 Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW. Light contact between the BMW and the #64 TRG/iRise Pontiac sent the BMW into the grass where it hit a drinage ditch and was launched over 30 feet into the air. The vehicle flipped end over end, eventually landing on its roof.

Team owner Kevin Buckler had this to say: "What happened yesterday, in terms of the crash, should not have happened. Had the two of them bumped and raced side by side into the corner, it would have simply been good racing. They know and respect each other. What happened yesterday needs to really be looked at, from a track perspective, and that is the bottom line. Minor contact that happens hundreds of times in a race found the BMW launched off a drainage culvert that simply can not be there…its crazy. Last night when we were all discussing this incident, I asked if anyone knew the ditch was there. No one knew about it, even though we all have raced there for years. The racing community is very tight knit and many of these drivers, while competitors on the track, are good friends off the track. It is very fraternal in many ways. This is definitely the case here. It was a really strong performance by all of the front running cars. I was proud of our team's performance. We are all just glad that Joey is okay."

Winning the race was the #72 NEC Porsche, which also finished first the previous event at Watkins Glen. The Porsche closed the gap between it's second place standing in the season points competition and TRG drivers Bunting and Lally, who reside in first. The gap between the two teams is now only five points, 372-367. The second and third place podiums by the TRG GTO.R teams add up to a total of 14 podiums in a row, dating back to the 2005 race season.

Adding to the drama was a strong drive in the team's Porsche by veteran racer R.J. Valentine and local hot-show B.J. Zacharias. "We were all really proud of these guys", said Buckler. "R.J. drove one of his best stints ever and really put to use some of his Mid-Ohio experience turning in some very competitive times. B.J. ‘lit it up' at the end, and the team made strong stops and great calls all day."

The team is headed to Daytona for the Brumos Porsche 250 where it will be competing with it's two Pontiac GTO.R's as well as two Porsche 997's. The competition will be fierce in the jam packed event that sees practice, qualifying, and the race all taking place on Thursday, June 29. Speed TV will air live coverage of the race action that evening at 7:00pm EST (4:00pm PST).

-TRG

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kelly Collins , Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , R.J. Valentine