TRG's Ende and Pumpelly Win Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Race at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Production-Based Porsche 911s MILLVILLE, NJ - May 2 - Porsche 911s, only slightly modified from the current showroom models, finished first and...
TRG's Ende and Pumpelly Win Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Race at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Production-Based Porsche 911s
MILLVILLE, NJ - May 2 - Porsche 911s, only slightly modified from the current showroom models, finished first and third in Saturday's two hour, 45 minute Garden State 250 Grand-Am KONI Challenge series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Spencer Pumpelly (Mason Neck, VA) and Duncan Ende (Los Angeles, CA) co-drove the #39 TRG Porsche 911 (type 997) to victory, using quick pit stops to win by 2.5 seconds. Pumpelly passed Charles Espenlaub's gas-starved BWM M3 in turn 5 on lap 86 of the 93-lap race.
"The thought was that Espenlaub was not going to make it to the end," Pumpelly said. "The TRG crew was great. The four seconds we won by came from the pit crew. Then it appeared Espenlaub might make it so we had to hustle a little more."
Espenlaub slowed to sixth, allowing the #18 Motorsports Technology Group's Porsche 911 of Bill Johnson (San Clemente, CA) and Peter Ludwig (New Paltz, NY) to move up to third place and a podium appearance.
"We weren't going to be here because of sponsorship and funding problems," Ludwig said. "Tuesday I made a call to a company I do business with and explained what we were doing. They were already a track sponsor, so they agreed to sponsor our team. We missed Thursday's practice because we just couldn't get here.
In the #39 DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes/Racer's Roast Coffee/TRG Porsche 911, Duncan Ende started the weekend off right by putting the car on the front row in qualifying. In the race Ende turned fast and consistent laps to keep the Porsche upfront, handing the car over to Pumpelly in prime position. The keys to the race win was Ende's qualifying position and early race pace, the strategy call by team owner Kevin Buckler to refuel early and take left side only tires. Pumpelly sealed the deal by driving flawlessly and passing the No. 91 BMW for the lead and taking the victory.
"I had a really good stint," Ende said. I was able to get a good start, even though I was on lined up on the outside. I was able to avoid any type of carnage in the first couple of corners. I was running second pretty comfortably the first ten minutes or so. Then I got boxed by some ST traffic coming on the straight-away and then I lost a few spots. I settled in after that and ran consistent laps. I was able to maintain a gap and gave it to Spencer who ran a great race to bring it home in first place."
"We originally thought that the 91 was going to have to pit for gas," Pumpelly said. Then Kevin came on the radio and said maybe they won't. I then had to get a little more aggressive, I was able to get a run on him and get by. TRG did an awesome job the last pit stop. It was super fast, we got on and off pit road the best we have all season. I think that was more than the four second gap than we won with, I really have to hand it to them. Duncan did a great first stint and they helped with those four seconds as well."
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, had a near perfect race with the No. 39.
"That was a great race," Buckler said. Duncan did an excellent job to set the tone for the team in qualifying yesterday by having us start on the front row. He did a great job at the beginning and then Spencer brought it home. We made the right calls in the pits, our pit stops were really good and the win is a great reward for this team. This was a long time coming and well deserved. John Potter was also a superstar today with his stellar first stint. I am sorry for John and Andy, but those guys will come back stronger than ever."
The KONI Challenge Sports Car Challenge Series race from New Jersey Motorsports Park will be televised on the SPEED Channel, tape delayed, on May 9 at 12:00 p.m.
-credit: porsche motorsport