TRG Finishes Ninth in Rolex GT at New Jersey
Millville, NJ, (July 18, 2010) - TRG's RJ Valentine and Andy Lally drove to a ninth place finish in today's running of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Reserve Cask No.16 New Jersey Motorsports Park 250. Teammates Steve Bertheau and Spencer Pumpelly endured to a 15th place finish.
TRG 66 NJ Under sunny skies and temperatures exceeding 95-degrees, with near 100% humidity, RJ Valentine took the green in the No. 66 Advanced Aerosol Acquisitions/CRG/TRG/Porsche for the 1:00 p.m. start. Valentine raced through slippery track conditions to turn the car over to Lally on lap 29. Lally took the wheel and began his run to the front. With strategy falling into place, and Lally running fast times, the 66 was able to make up almost two laps. The team needed one more mid-race yellow to get back in sync with the rest of the field and be a factor at the end. The yellow never came.
"It was inordinately hot today," Valentine said. "The car felt squirrely to me. I had a good start and pedaled the thing hard. We just didn't get that break we needed. Andy did a great job. He drove the wheels off of it and on any other day that would have been a podium run. Some days you're the mosquito and some days you are the windshield, today we were the mosquito."
"We could have used a yellow two laps earlier than when it came," Lally said. "We were able to make-up a lap-and-a-half. That is a testament to the TRG crew and their car preparation. I abused the tires and blistered them at the end, but we were able to drive through. We were still coming when I got held up by a DP car and then the yellow came out and that set us back. I then had an angry little Dutch dude try to run me off the road twice and he finally finished me off the third time. Then I had to pay it back a little bit."
TRG 67 NJ Steve Bertheau had the controls of the No. 67 Sargent & Lundy/TRG/Porsche for the steamy start. Bertheau took the green and was immediately embroiled in a battle with a Mazda. Some car contact ensued and set the 67 back. Pumpelly took over and proceeded to set fast lap times passing cars on his way up the timing screen. Again, cautions at the wrong time and a possible fuel pick-up problem thwarted the run to the front. Bertheau got back in for the last hour, bringing the 67 home in 15th place.
"It was pretty hot out there today," Bertheau said. "I had a tough start. I got tangled with one of the Mazda cars and that put us back a little. Spencer did a great job to move us up and then I got back in for the finish. It was my first time running with the Prototypes in race conditions. When I went back out I was doing good laps and I am smiling. Although we didn't get the finish we wanted, it was a fun weekend."
"We had a really good car today," Pumpelly said. "We got a little behind early and the yellows didn't go our way to help us get back up the order. Steve did a great job to come back at the end and got some good seat time. I am happy with the car and the way the TRG guys had the Porsche running all weekend. We just didn't have the opportunity to show our stuff today."
Team owner, Kevin Buckler, had his TRG East fan base in full effect for today's race. With a packed hospitality area, the team made a good showing.
"I am proud of Steve and RJ," Buckler said. "The conditions out there were tough today. I think about a dozen guys went to medical. For Steve it was his first time on the track with Daytona Prototype traffic, he did a good job and turned some solid laps. RJ is a warrior. He is in excellent shape and that helps his focus on days like today. Andy got in and began to rage to the front, but we just needed that little break that never came. Spencer the same, he was awesome! We just needed a little help with a caution and we would have been right back in it. Also, a big call out to the entire team, it was a very challenging week and everyone really put their heads down and did their jobs well. We are looking forward to going to Watkins Glen to try and get our second win is many months at that great track."
The Rolex Series will travel to Watkins Glen International Raceway for the Crown Royal 200 on August 7.