TRG Motorsports - NASCAR on a Dime Mooresville, North Carolina (March 14, 2009) - TRG Motorsports has made it into the top 35 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner points - on a dime. The team made up of purchased cars and a crew and...
TRG Motorsports - NASCAR on a Dime
Mooresville, North Carolina (March 14, 2009) - TRG Motorsports has made it into the top 35 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner points - on a dime. The team made up of purchased cars and a crew and driver that was unemployed has risen to the top of the "have not" "go or go home" teams in the series currently 34th in owner points.
- Stands 34th in the coveted Sprint Cup owner's points standings
- Started team 14 days before the Daytona 500
- Has qualified for each of the last three races at California, Las Vegas and Atlanta
- Has run the same car in those three races, finishing 33rd in California, 14th in Vegas and 22nd at Atlanta - most teams have at least 10 cars
- Is doing this with a motivated, small 10-member team, five of which work on the car, of hungry individuals
- Hired David Gilliland, from Riverside, CA, who did not have ride at a Dayton a
- Utilizes a rented pit crew, to perform pit stops on Sunday's
- Is bringing a new enthusiasm and approach to the Sprint Cup garage
- Is bucking the economists by starting a new business venture in the most competitive of businesses
- Kevin Buckler, team principal, is taking his success in road racing, as well as running small efficient businesses, and translating that business model to NASCAR
- Is running ahead of many established NASCAR names and teams in driver and owner points
- Is running purchased cars from RCR and ECR engines
TRG Motorsports' Kevin Buckler is the mastermind behind the assembly of this small and super-efficientteam. Together with his team of partners, Buckler has brought elements of his ultra successful sports car operation and some very strong personalities from the NASCAR world to create a team that is making races and scoring points.
"We took a real flier in January when we decided to run the 500," Buckler said. "When we didn't make it, we quickly revamped our team and went to California with a renewed spirit to succeed in this sport. We wanted it bad. Slugger came onboard and we brought in David Gilliland to drive. Both guys were on the sidelines for pretty much the first time in their careers. Slugger brought guys with him who he has worked with in the past and knew how to work with him. From the first practice in California, the communication was right on. David jumped right in and brought a can-do attitude and a willingness to stick to our different approach. When we secure the right funding and turn these guys loose on the track I think we will see something pretty special."
Slugger dime The team that was assembled 15 days prior to Daytona, and has only two cars, is making waves in the Sprint Cup garage. The crewled by veteran crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe, formerly of the well-funded Ginn Motorsports team, has brought with him a team of ex-DEI and borrowed crew from the TRG Motorsports truck team.
"We have two guys from DEI and we stole two others from the TRG Motorsports truck team," Labbe said. "A crew this small is easy to take care of. At Ginn we were fully supported, I had 18 people that worked for me on my team specifically and 25 shop support guys that worked for all three teams. Right now there are five of us. We also had 22 cars at Ginn."
"It is amazing what this team is doing. It made me smile the other night. When I left the race track last Saturday we were horrible, second to last on the time sheet. I went to the hotel and looked at the notes and called David at 11:30 p.m. I said this is what I think is wrong and this is what we need to do fix it. We changed everything on the 10 item list but one and the next thing you know David is passing, Gibbs cars, Childress cars, Hendrick cars and that was pretty rewarding for me. Like I told Kevin, it wasn't engineering that did that, it was good old hard racing."
"The communication with David and I has been good from the first lap in California. I told David that you have to understand that I am not the guy who sits there and talks to you all day long because I am working on the car. I am a hands on guy and if you can bare with me, I am not catering to your every need, I am working on the car. I need to walk it off and think about it. He gives me that room and it works out well. There are not many drivers that can race three races in a row and not even scratch the car. We've done more damage loading the car than he has running 1,500 miles."
As a new team with limited resources, Gilliland has been asked to run conservative, don't hit anything and bring the car back in one piece races. This approach is different for him as he drove for Yates Racing last year with all of the usual big Sprint Cup team resources. Gilliland has responded and is showing true grit behind the wheel.
"At Yates we had about 10 cars and a spare for each race," Gilliland said. "It is a different driving style knowing that you don't have all of the resources. I can't take any extra chances, and have to err on the conservative side in every situation. It has played out OK for us so far. I was talking to Slugger and we went to the last three races with the speedway car that the team ran at Daytona in the hauler as the backup. If we had to get that out we would have been in trouble. We just have to deal with what we have. We are really running on the cautious side."
"I have owned my own team before with just one car to race. We had to win or finish well to be able to run the next week. I have never raced and not cared about the equipment. I have always tried to be careful. It just reminds me of the days of running my own car."
"Everybody is in this together. With only 10 guys, five working on the cars, if one person bows out we are in trouble. Everyone is giving a 100% and that is the only reason we are getting the results that we have had so far. There are teams running out there now with a lot more people but I doubt they are working this hard or being this efficient or having this much fun. We are taking a long term approach and view on everything we do, much like running a 24 hour endurance race. Set a goal, meet it. Reset next week, meet it. That is the key factor for us performing so well."
"This team has jelled faster than any I have been associated with," Buckler continued. "We have the same atmosphere around our sports car team, we have fun and we win. There is a low-key fun factor that is happening here that is unique in the garage. We enjoy going into the track and being together. Our partner, Capital Window is the same way on how they run their operation. Everyone is working flat-out to make this work, but also enjoying racing again. We know we are the "David's" and the underdog every weekend, but that fuels this team even more and it has brought us together."
The series will take this weekend off and then move onto Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 to be run on March 22.