TRG VICTIM OF BAD RACING LUCK AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
TOOELE, Utah (September 14, 2007) -- Team TRG was the innocent victim of some bad racing luck with several of the team cars, costing them a certain victory during Friday afternoon's Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series race at Miller Motorsports Park.
The TRG No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes entry of Duncan Ende and Grant Maiman had a fantastic event until its first pit stop. Ende ran one of the best races of his career and was in a solid third-place position when he turned the car over to Maiman. As Maiman exited the pits a fluid line apparently broke.
"We could all smell a victory for the No. 39," said Buckler. "But when Grant (Maiman) exited the pits a water line blew and by the time it could be fixed the car was out of contention."
Driving the No. 40 Carlsen Porsche/CDI/Carrera Design entry for TRG was John Bibbo and Scott Schroeder. Bibbo drove a great first stint and even though he had slight contact early on he rebounded incredibly well to get back in the hunt and keep the car on the lead lap. Bibbo turned the car over to Schroeder who was making his way through the field until he got tangled up with a spinning Mustang and the No. 40 had to be parked.
Maxwell Paper & TRG standouts Dan DiLeo and Bryan Sellers drove the No. 42 Maxwell Paper Products/ Carlsen Porsche 997. DiLeo was doing fantastic until suffering a suspected coolant leak that caused the engine to overheat. The car started from the back & made up nearly 20 positions in the first 30 minutes of the race. The No. 42 was eventually forced to retire from the race.
Driving the TRG No. 41 Mitchell Global/Carlsen Porsche 997, teammates Ted Ballou and Andy Lally dominated the majority of the two-and-a-half hour race and were poised for the win on the 4.5-mile, 24-turn Miller road course when disaster struck.
Ballou qualified in 21st position and after running comparable lap times to the leaders had climbed into 11-place within the first dozen laps of the race. Taking advantage of a full course caution, Ballou pitted and executed a flawless driver change with Lally. In typical style, 'pac-man' Lally gobbled up all top-10 contenders and assumed the lead by mid-point of the timed race.
With his TRG crew in position to fuel the No. 41, Lally attempted to enter pit lane only to encounter the crashing Acura of Nick Wittmer. The debris from Wittmer's No. 31 blocked pit lane access and forced Lally back onto the track for another circuit before pitting.
By the time Lally pitted and successfully refueled he had fallen to second place and was over 13-seconds behind the leader. Lally was able to whittle the lead down to five- seconds by race end, but a 'short-fill' fuel strategy relegated the No. 41 to an eventual fourth-place finish after nearly running out of fuel at the end.
"We had the race won completely," said TRG team owner Kevin Buckler. "We had a one minute and four second advantage over Joey Hand and we were going to pit for fuel only. We would have come out with a 10-second advantage and would have cruised to victory. Everything was cool, but when Andy tried to pit the No. 31 crashed right in front of him and blocked the pit entrance. By the time Andy was able to come in we had lost our advantage and ended up losing the race. It's a real shame."
"Duncan pitted the No. 39 car in third-place and they had a water line fail when Grant got in. This could have been their race too. I was jumping off the pit cart with their performance. John and Scott had a great run going but were caught up in a mess and Dan, in the Maxwell Paper car, had started at the back and had reeled in the field and was turning the fastest race laps of the race before an overheating problem. 'Lady Luck' was not with us today. This was a real heartbreak of a race for us. On the up-side though, all of our cars showed flashes of absolute brilliance at one point or another. So we're off to VIR and we expect all our cars to be very competitive there."