Change Up in TRG Driver Lineup Could Produce Exciting Results for the Future PETALUMA, Calif. - TRG will head to Barber Motorsports Park for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 sporting a ...
Change Up in TRG Driver Lineup Could Produce Exciting Results for the Future
PETALUMA, Calif. - TRG will head to Barber Motorsports Park for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 sporting a different-looking driver lineup but with the same overall goal, which is to add to the team's strong history at the state-of-the-art circuit near Birmingham, Ala.
Beginning with this weekend's Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant and continuing for the remainder of the 2008 Rolex Series season, three-time Rolex Series champion Andy Lally will share the No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 with Tim George Jr., while Spencer Pumpelly-who drove alongside George in the No. 67 TRG Porsche for the first nine races of the season-will now co-drive the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3 with Ted Ballou.
"We have plenty of good reasons for making the switch and I think it makes a lot of sense," said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. "Tim will be moving to our stock car team next year with Andy, and both of them will be working together on that program and joint sponsorship, so it just made sense for them to also work and develop together in the Rolex Series this year. Likewise, Spencer and Ted are already working on plans to race together next year, so I think it's a win-win for everybody involved to make the change. It will be fun to see how it shakes out."
The No. 66 and No. 67 teams will join two additional TRG Porsche entries this weekend. Once again sharing the No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total-R Insulation Solutions Porsche GT3 for TRG/Riegel Autosport will be Canadian racer Hima Maher and 2005 Rolex Series GT champion Craig Stanton, while Josemanuel Gutierrez and John Potter will complete the lineup in the No. 68 TRG Porsche GT3.
Since 2005, TRG has placed at least one of its cars within the top-five positions in Rolex Series action at Barber Motorsports Park, while the team's KONI Challenge Series program picked up its first victory at Barber last year. Included in the team's Rolex Series run of success was a victory by then-co-drivers Lally and Marc Bunting in 2006, a race that also saw TRG drivers Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards finish third. Last year, Lally finished second in the Rolex Series race alongside co-driver RJ Valentine and claimed the KONI Challenge victory alongside Ballou.
In fact, Lally has been in TRG's top-finishing car at Barber in each of the last three Rolex Series races there, with a fourth-place outing alongside Bunting in the team's No. 65 entry in 2005, one spot ahead of Collins and Edwards in the No. 64 TRG machine. This year, Lally has finished inside the top five in three of his four Rolex Series appearances, including top-five runs in each of his last two races and a best result of second in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
George, meanwhile, heads into the Porsche 250 leading the MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year standings by seven points over Ballou, 210-203. Ballou is tied for second in the rookie standings with Lawson Aschenbach, and both Ballou and George are also top contenders in the race for the Bob Akin Award for the top sportsman driver in the GT class. George is currently second in the Akin standings, trailing leader Emil Assentato by 64 points (2,410-2,346), with Ballou third, 27 markers in arrears of George.
In the overall GT driver standings, George is the top-ranked TRG driver. With 210 points, George is ranked seventh, while Ballou is ninth in with 203 markers. Pumpelly, who did not drive in the race at Mid-Ohio and therefore didn't earn points, is 12th in the GT driver standings with 199 points. TRG is fourth in the team championship with the No. 67 operation and the No. 66 team is currently sixth.
Maher and Stanton are teamed up for the fourth time this season in the No. 65 machine, which has earned four top-10 GT results in the last five Rolex Series races. Series Champion Stanton-who has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts alongside Maher-continues to enjoy his best results of the season since switching to TRG in May. Most recently at Daytona, Stanton and Maher teamed up to win the hard-charger award for the race, gaining more positions than anyone else throughout the event.
The No. 68 machine, meanwhile, will see a completely different lineup this weekend in Gutierrez and Potter. Gutierrez will make his third Rolex Series appearance of the season and in his quick acclimation to the series picked up a career-best result of fifth alongside Stanton in the No. 65 entry last month. Potter, TRG's latest driver development member, is also contesting his second race of the season with TRG and his third of the Rolex Series season overall. Potter put in an absolutely stellar drive in his first outing with TRG at Lime Rock earlier this year.
"I'm confident in all of our driver lineups heading into the weekend at Barber, and I know our team will have the best-prepared Porsches in the field," Buckler said. "This should be a track that works better for the Porsches, which means we could have a strong weekend at Barber. We'll see what happens once we get there."