TRG Motorsports Ready for Daytona Redemption Mooresville, N.C., (June 30, 2009) - TRG Motorsports is ready for some Daytona redemption in the July 4th running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International...
TRG Motorsports Ready for Daytona Redemption
Mooresville, N.C., (June 30, 2009) - TRG Motorsports is ready for some Daytona redemption in the July 4th running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
The team attempted to qualify for the Daytona 500 in February, but came up one position shy of making the field. Team principal, Kevin Buckler, who vowed to take the green flag in the series' second race at California Speedway, fundamentally rebuilt the team in those two days leading up to the 500 with quality guys that were on the sidelines at Daytona.
"We went to the 500 with an amalgam of TRG Motorsports people from our truck team and some help from Richard Childress Racing," Buckler said. "After we didn't make the show, we really needed to rethink how we were going to continue. We needed to get "TRG" people who shared the passion, 24/7. Richard was a big help in getting us to first base in the NASCAR Series and continues to be a confidant of mine on all things related to the sport, but we had to immerse people in the TRG secret sauce. We hired David Gilliland and we were able to get Slugger (Richard "Slugger" Labbe) as our crew chief. With those important hires everything else followed. Slugger brought in a crew he could work with and we reintroduced the team at California. Since then we have qualified for 15 races and have become a new team success story in the series."
Slugger Labbe was the crew chief for Mike Skinner, who also missed the 500. Driver David Gilliland did not have a ride for the February classic. The team is headed back on a mission with a strong super speedway car.
"We are going back to where it all started for TRG Motorsports," Gilliland said. "I think the whole team has something to prove going back. I remember watching the race from the pits. Everyone on the team is ready. I feel really good about the car we have, the motor package and the whole program for this weekend. The car turned out really well from the repairs following Talladega. It was a great car at Talladega and it should be this weekend as well."
The team will use the car that ran eighth at Talladega before being wrecked.
"The car had great speed at Talladega. It is an ex-DEI car that we got a couple of weeks before that race and we didn't have time to do much with it. Slugger has a great track record on the super speedways. He has been able to massage on the car a little bit more for Daytona. I feel real confident in the car and the program going into the 400."
Gilliland, having qualified on the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2007, now has to make it into the Coke Zero 400 on speed as TRG Motorsports is a go-or-go-home effort. The cars will also be impounded after qualifying, so no adjustments can be made prior to the drop of the green flag at 8:00 p.m. Saturday evening. Slugger Labbe is a past Daytona winner as crew chief on Michael Waltrip's 2003 winning effort at DEI.
"Being an impound race it can definitely affect us. First and foremost we need get into the race. I was talking to Slugger about where we should run the front splitter, in the race we want one adjustment and for qualifying another. If we were locked in we really wouldn't worry about qualifying, because it doesn't really matter. But we have to get in on speed, so we need to see where we are at with the speed when we unload. If we are fast off of the trailer that will help. If we are not, we will have to adjust on it to make sure we make it into the race."
Kevin Buckler is ready to right the early season wrong.
"Our Daytona 500 effort was a bit humbling," Buckler said. "It made us sit back and really evaluate what we were getting into and how. This team has done some absolutely amazing things this season, qualifying for every race since California on what is a pittance of a budget compared to most teams on the grid. We have asked David to race conservatively because we don't have the inventory of cars like the other teams and he has done everything we have suggested. Slugger and the crew is putting a quality car on the track every weekend with the same five guys that are working on the cars at the shop as well as crewing the cars on weekends - dedication. Our only major hurdle, since Daytona, has been trying to find that magic partner and sponsor for this great little team. We have our resources aligned to do that, but we need that special sponsor that is ready to reap the rewards of being involved with a great little effort and all that NASCAR has to offer."
Buckler will pull double duty this weekend and drive with Spencer Pumpelly in the Grand-Am Rolex Series Brumos 250 in one of TRG's four Porsches entered in the race. Buckler has a strong history as a driver at Daytona having won the 24 Hour GT race in 2002, overall in 2003, and as a car owner this past January. The Rolex race will run at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday on the Daytona's modified road course.