SCC: TRG season review

TRG Closes Successful Grand-Am GT and KONI Seasons Petaluma, Calif., October 16, 2007 -- TRG has concluded the Grand-Am schedules in both the GT and KONI Challenge series'. The crew from California had a busy and successful season combining...

TRG Closes Successful Grand-Am GT and KONI Seasons

Petaluma, Calif., October 16, 2007 -- TRG has concluded the Grand-Am schedules in both the GT and KONI Challenge series'. The crew from California had a busy and successful season combining for six wins.

In GT, the highlight of the season was the veteran driver combination of Andy Lally and RJ Valentine in the No. 66 CRG/TRG/Porsche. In contention for the GT championship the entire year, Lally and Valentine posted wins at Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Iowa and Montreal. In addition to five wins, they also raced to podium positions at Homestead and Barber Motorsport Park, TRG was tied for the team championship with Lally and Valentine just five points out of the drivers championship lead. Just 30 laps in the only mechanical issue of the season ended the day early, relegating TRG to third in the team championship and Lally and Valentine to fourth in the season ending drivers standings.

Season highlights include the Iron Man performances throughout the year by Lally. One such performance took place at Iowa Speedway in July. This spectacular race by Valentine and Lally was included in the season ending voting for the Grand-Am Moment of the Year. The SPEED Channel TV crew were diligently following the pursuit of the GT win by Lally who had to run nearly 183 laps on a tight modified oval circuit in 100-degree heat with no cool suit. Chronicling each pit stop the TRG crew were dumping ice water into Lally's driver suit and seat to keep him cool for his run to a thrilling win.

In the penultimate race of the GT season at Montreal a last lap melee in the famed Casino turn had Lally sneaking through a series of wayward cars to bring the Porsche home for a surprising win. These thrilling moments made for one of the strangest and most competitive years in the GT series for TRG.

"What a year!" Buckler said. "We made the decision to go back to Porsches for the 2007 season and were able to make a strong run to defend our GT championship. We were in a position to win at the finale in Utah, but our only mechanical problem of the year ended our hopes. Andy and RJ had a great season with five wins and nearly winning the championship. Andy reaffirmed that he is one of the best sports car drivers in the world and RJ still has a lot left in the tank. A proud moment was also the podium position for Jim Lowe and Jim Pace at the Rolex 24. I think they still have the grins on their faces. They did a fantastic job for us all season and will be back in a big way in 2008. We also enjoyed some spectacular performances by Mark Greenburg and Spencer Pumpelly who nearly tasted victory at several races. Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski were a super strong duo. We also had several inspiring one-off performances throughout the 2007 season. The TRG crew persevered through everything that was thrown at them this season, including getting 29 drivers acclimated to our system. The cars were always prepared to the highest standard and ran near perfect every race. We are all focused on 2008 and looking forward to the challenges ahead."

"I think we had a good year," Lally said. "We were in a transition year going back to Porsche from Pontiac as well as coming in as defending series winners. Winning the five races we won was a big deal. Winning the five races we won was a big deal. The high point of the season for me was the five wins. Each one had a special meaning to me, the first one of the year at Laguna, was a breakthrough. That opened the flood gates. The Glen Six Hour win was special because I am originally from New York. Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks. Iowa is a special track because Debra Buckler was raised in the area. The end of the Montreal race was great because the sea parted and we won. It was also special because it gave some momentum for our NASCAR debut the next day. Disappointment was the last race. We only had one mechanical problem, which was out of our crews hands. They worked hard all year. Kevin did a great job to assemble a team that was focused on winning. Everything just really came together."

In the Grand-Am KONI Challenge series the season put together by Lally and Ted Ballou highlighted the TRG run. One win at Barber Motorsport Park and podium positions at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock, Mid-Ohio and Trois Riveres had the duo finishing the season in the top 10 in points. Strong runs were also put in by Duncan Ende and Grant Maiman as well as Scott Schroeder and John Bibbo throughout the year. The Maxwell Paper Porsche of Ross Smith, Dan DiLeo and Byan Sellers came on strong at the end of the season leading several races.

"We had an equally successful year in KONI GS," Buckler continued. "The series is very competitive with as many as 60 cars entered each race. We were able to bring in a lot of new talent to the series and field some very competitive cars. Again, Andy did a great job with a win at Barber and four other podiums with Ted. I am really looking forward to the development and advancement within our program with Duncan Ende, Scott Schroeder and John Bibbo. Next year we will be formidable with this team, and will be looking to add another GS championship to our winning history."

"The GS season was not going to be easy," Lally said. "We knew we had a challenge going into the season. We had top finishes after the first race. We were really in a position to win every time out. Everyone on the team came together and we really had a good year. We were able to develop some young drivers during the season and it sets up for a strong beginning to 2008. We could have had a second win at Miller and Homestead, but some small things out of our control conspired against us. Combined, we won six races this year. So we cannot complain at all. As a driver you can only ask to have a car that can win, and I did every time out."

TRG had a who's who of sports car drivers behind the wheel of their Porsche GT class racers this season, including Andy Lally, RJ Valentine, Jim Pace, Jim Lowe, Ralf Kelleners, Johannes van Overbeek, Spencer Pumpelly, Mark Greenberg, Tom Cloet, Pierre Bourque, Mike Solley, Austin Harris, Ted Ballou, Rocco DeSimone, Brad Jaeger, Chris Gleason, Murray Marden, Brent Milner, John Peterson, Michael Gomez, Scott Schroeder, Scott Tucker, Ed Zabinski, Ross Smith, Dan DiLeo, Bob Heniff, John Potter, Murray Marden and Bryan Sellers.

TRG Porsche KONI GS drivers included Andy Lally, Kevin Buckler, Duncan Ende, Grant Maiman, John Bibbo, Scott Schroeder, Ted Ballou, Serge Glazunov, Matt Harris, Steve Pattee, John Petersen, RJ Valentine, Dan DiLeo, Pierre Bourque, Bryan Sellers, Andrew Davis and Ross Smith.

-credit: trg

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Mark Green , Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , Johannes van Overbeek , Chris Gleason , Spencer Pumpelly , Andrew Davis , Jim Pace , Mark Greenberg , Grant Maiman , Bryan Sellers , Brad Jaeger , Steve Pattee , Ross Smith , Tom Cloet , Murray Marden , Jim Lowe , Duncan Ende , Ted Ballou , Scott Schroeder , John Bibbo , Pierre Bourque , Brent Milner , John Peterson , Michael Gomez , Scott Tucker , Ed Zabinski