TRG Motorsports press release
Lally Continues Streak of Improvement at Michigan
Mooresville, N.C. (8/22/2011) - Andy Lally piloted his No. 71 Interstate Moving Services Ford to a 29th place finish in this weekend's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The race marks the fifth consecutive week Lally has finished in the top-30. The rookie driver has earned an average finish of 26.6 over the past five races. Perhaps the even more impressive statistic is that Lally has completed 99.7% of the laps run over that five race span.
The team improved its position in the all-important top-35 of NASCAR's Owner's Point Standings yet again this weekend. While the No. 71 team remains in the 35th position, it now holds a solid 35 point lead over 36th.
Lally commented, "We have taken a step forward in each of the last five races in one area or another. This weekend we took steps forward in a few different areas and it's very nice to leave the track with such positive feelings. This was only a 29th place finish but with very little attrition this weekend I feel like we did a good job. Our pace to the guys that we normally race against was good and we didn't have a glaring weak point or big low point in the race. I'm still learning a lot in these races and working together with Doug has been great. TRG Motorsports recently added our engineer Mark Catania to the mix and I think having a third person to work with on that aspect has also really helped. The whole team has been working really hard on this program and I can't say enough of how happy I am to be working with them."
Lally also credited his team's position in the top-35 as being a large factor in his recent success.
"Being in the top 35 has really helped us the last few weeks. It is such a huge benefit to be able to get some long runs in during practice. We have started so far behind in past races because all we have focused on is qualifying and in the first half of the season I was seeing these tracks for the first time and never had any race time. I was doing all of my learning when the green dropped and you can’t expect to hang with the best guys in the world while still learning the ropes about a particular track."
After leading only one lap in the first eighteen races of the season, Lally has now led five over the past five races.
"It was cool to lead the race under green today, obviously we did it just through pit stop cycles but it was still a small accomplishment by the team and a neat moment for me. I always say, you have to take time every once in a while to take a breath, take it all in and appreciate what you are doing. I had about 1 second to do that this weekend when they came over the radio and said, "New leader, car 71" I smiled for a minute under the helmet and then got back to work. Sometimes the little things help you to drive harder toward the bigger things."
Team owner Kevin Buckler is encouraged by his team's recent performance.
"I was watching practice in our hauler and I heard the commentators say some really nice things about Andy and how well he is doing and how much he and the team are improving. I'm glad to see others beginning to take notice. Like I have been saying, this team probably has the biggest potential "up-side" of any in the garage right now. We're taking small steps towards being more competitive each week. Andy is completing laps and gaining seat time. His confidence has improved tremendously. We have built a talented little group around him with Harry, Doug & Mark, our new engineer, and it is starting to work. I also think a large part of that has to do with him coming to the realization that he can finish races and he can compete at this level. I'm really proud of him and I'm really proud of our entire organization. Our TRG Motorsports partners have been terrific and we couldn't have done this without them. We have the opportunity to keep building upon our finishes. I think we can really surprise some folks over the final thirteen races."