TRG KONI Challenge Porsches Finish Strong 2008 Lally leads laps, Ende & Schroeder drive incredible stints, crew makes the difference, top finishing Porsches VIR 41 fin PETALUMA, Calif. - TRG's two car Grand-Am KONI Challenge team finished the...
TRG KONI Challenge Porsches Finish Strong 2008
Lally leads laps, Ende & Schroeder drive incredible stints, crew makes the difference, top finishing Porsches
VIR 41 fin PETALUMA, Calif. - TRG's two car Grand-Am KONI Challenge team finished the 2008 season in strong fashion at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday. The trio of Peter Ludwig, Scott Schroeder and Andy Lally finished third in the No. 41 TRG/Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial Porsche 997. In the No. 39 TRG/Carlsen Porsche/TheDigiTrust Group entry Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly finished a close fourth putting both TRG Porsches in the top five to close out the season.
The two silver Porsches ran toward the front in each practice session over the weekend. In qualifying Scott Schroeder put the No. 41 on the sixth row, in 11th place. Spencer Pumpelly drove the 39 to a front row starting position to come to the green flag in second.
As the six hour race played out Lally in the Carlsen/Cohen Financial Porsche 997 were able to lead a handful of laps. The car ran flawlessly for the entire race proving, once again, that the TRG Porsches are front runners with the trio of Lally, Schroeder and Ludwig coming home in third.
"In the corners and under braking I had something for them at the end, but they've got way too much juice," Lally said. "Even if they make a mistake, they can get on the gas and drive away from us. They're both very good drivers, but I think with a little more horsepower on our side, we could have done it. It's a testament to the car and how good the TRG guys have been thrashing on it. We had the first and second place Porsches today, and I'm proud of that. This is a horsepower track, and we just got beat. I overdrove the heck out of it, I threw it off probably three or four times hustling it, but third was the best we could do today."
"This Porsche ran real strong all weekend," Schroeder said. "Peter did a great job. Andy did a great job. We just had to be there at the end. We didn't have anything for those Mustangs, they just have too much straight-line speed. I'm looking forward to next year. I think this is a good way to end the year. I can't say enough about the team."
TRG team owner Kevin Buckler had some kind words to say about Schroeder's driving: "Scott has continued to grow and progress as a driver. Today's stint proved that, hands down. It is great having Scott and his father, Paul, onboard. They have really helped the GS team in many ways and we look forward to much more success with them in the future.
"I ran the middle shift, and it was good experience," Ludwig said. "It's nice to finish strong in the last race of the year. I've had a lot of bad luck this year. In my stint, we had a shock go out. That was a little scary, I had a lot of rear end motion. But Andy was able to deal with it perfectly in his stint and brought the car home, so we're real happy."
"Peter has come a long ways in a short time," Buckler commented. "He runs strong, clean and hands the car over in good position, every time. I enjoy having Peter drive on the team and can't wait to have him drive for us again."
The No. 39 TRG/Carlsen Porsche/TheDigiTrust Group entry had to lean on the crew for some mid race repairs. The car was forced onto the curb and half of the exhaust system had to be replaced. The TRG pit crew went to work and made the repairs without losing a lap. As the race wore on front row starter Pumpelly was able to put together a final 10 lap run to the front finishing in fourth. Duncan Ende drove possibly the most impressive stint of his career and was a big part in giving TRG the top two finishing Porsches of the race.
"Spencer did a great job to get us on the front row," Ende said. "VIR is long, but can be a tough place to pass, so the front row start definitely made a big difference. The crew guys really stepped up and made a huge repair on the car to keep us in contention. It was a good all around team performance today."
"The guys did the job in the pits," Pumpelly said. "When you are sitting there watching how hard these guys worked to replace the exhaust system it just gave me the motivation to get in the car and make up the ground for a top finish. The performance was in the pits for us this weekend."
"We had an excellent outing at VIR with both cars," Buckler said. "I have never been more impressed with Duncan's driving and the way he handled himself out there today. That was a tough and solid double stint he did. The series is very tough and we need some help from Grand-Am next year to give the Porsche a little bit of a horsepower boost. At VIR we had the handling down, but just couldn't get alongside the Mustangs on the straights. Andy, Peter and Scott did a great job all day and kept the car safe and toward the front for an excellent podium finish. For Spencer and Duncan their fourth place required a little more work and the crew responded. The qualifying session was great, the performance of the crew was perfect and to finish fourth was a great way to close the season."
The team is currently preparing for the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series which will kick-off in exactly 100 days on January 23rd at Daytona International Speedway. The team has seats available for what will be a very competitive year.