Birmingham: TRG race report

TRG's George and Lally Finish Third in Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park; Ballou and Pumpelly Finish Fifth BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - TRG teammates Tim George Jr. and Andy Lally made a late race charge to secure a solid third place performance in...

TRG's George and Lally Finish Third in Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park; Ballou and Pumpelly Finish Fifth

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - TRG teammates Tim George Jr. and Andy Lally made a late race charge to secure a solid third place performance in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park. Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly just missed the podium and finished fifth.

George started eighth in the No. 67 Johnny Love Vodka/944 Magazine/Gleukos Porsche GT3 Cup and drove consistent lap times early in the race to have the car just outside of the top-five by lap 21. On lap 27, George brought the No. 67 Porsche to pit lane for tires, fuel, and to put co-driver Andy Lally in the car. Lally won the GT race in both 2004 and 2006.

"It went pretty well," George said following his stint. "The car lost a little bit of grip. We have some new tire fans we are working on and they kept the back tires pretty cool for most of the stint. I did the best I could in traffic. The DP cars were making some passes in some horrendous places. I think the meeting we had earlier today regarding class-to-class contact helped a little bit. I noticed the DP cars were being a little more respectful out there today."

Lally proved to be quite the competitor today driving solidly for almost two stints in nearly 100 degree heat. Not only did Lally persevere through the heat early on in his stint, but he tried to apply some heat of his own late in the race and passed the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac on the last lap. Almost simultaneously, however, he got passed by Dirk Werner. Lally and Werner engaged in battle for the rest of the lap right to the checkered flag.

"TRG gave us a real good car this weekend," Lally said on his way to the podium. "We knew the Pontiac and Mazdas were going to be strong. Dirk and I have had another epic battle for the finish here. Last year, I passed him on the last lap and this year he passed me on the last lap. It is fun. It was good racing. We were racing each other hard, blocking, late braking and cutting each other off. It is what it is. At the end of the day, we get out and shake hands. We will race each other almost dirty, but I love it like that. It is not fun unless it is a knock down drag out dog fight. We came home on the podium and that extends Tim's lead on the rookie points. It was a good day for TRG."

Driving the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3 Cup, co-drivers Ballou and Pumpelly put together an impressive and consistent drive today, as the tandem spent most of the day just outside of the top three, but solidly in the top five. Ballou started the car and drove a nearly perfect first stint before handing the car over to Pumpelly.

"We moved up a few positions at the start," said Ballou, who started in the No. 66 machine, "It was good to run clean. The DPs were a handful, but it was pretty harmless. Spencer ended up getting us a decent finish."

"It [the car] fell a little off at the end with the heat," Pumpelly said. "If we had a little better setup we could have fought for the podium if not the lead. But, overall, it was a good day. It was my first time with the 66 guys and we worked well together. Ted did a great job and kept us up in it."

It was a tough day for co-drivers Hima Maher and Craig Stanton in the No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total-R Insulation Solutions Porsche GT3 Cup for TRG/Riegel Autosport and for teammates Josemanuel Gutierrez and Scott Schroeder in the No. 68 CRG Porsche GT3 Cup. Both cars inadvertently made contact with one another on lap 28, which relegated the No. 68 to the gravel trap, while the No. 65 was able to continue.

"The stint was pretty good," Maher said of his stint in the car. "Our tires started to go away as we started on older scuffs. I went a little wide in the grass and I had to come in a little early. We had a driver ID problem that blew a fuse."

"We started out with a good run in the 65 car," Stanton said. "The setup was really pretty good. We had some good lap times. The tires went off in the front a little, but the back was pretty well planted. I think we can go down a little on the spring rate in the front and I think we will be right there. We had a few of the guys come over from the GS team and work with us so that was fun. It was a good day. We had an issue with the electronics in the car and the scoring got messed up. Unfortunately, we had to end our day early with third gear going. Hima did a great job to setup the car. We can't wait for Montreal."

Even though the No. 65 escaped serious damage for the moment, the car would later experience electrical problems that forced them to retire early and finished 16th.

Unfortunately for the No. 68, the trip to the gravel contributed to some overheating issues just a few laps later and the team had Schroeder take the car to the garage for repairs. The team made the repairs and got the No. 68 Porsche back on track with Gutierrez behind the wheel. The No. 68 ultimately finished 18th.

"We were doing quite well, we got up to P11," Gutierrez said. "We were running just fine and had no problems with the car. There was a lot of traffic. I had contact with Craig. I ended up in the gravel and spent a few laps there. We did the driver change and then the engine temperature went up and we had to come in. I was able to get back out and make some more laps."

"The 68 guys have been working well together," Schroeder said. "Josemanuel put in a good drive. We did some good strategy calls to make up a lost lap early in the race. I got in and I was P11. Jose got put into the gravel and lost some ground and then that caused some overheating problems and we had to go to the paddock. The TRG guys worked real hard and were able to get Jose some more laps."

"We kept our Barber podium streak going," team owner Kevin Buckler said. "Andy and Tim did a great job. Tim kept it on the lead lap. It was great to see them on the podium. I think it is still impossible to beat that Mazda, but it was good to see a Porsche up there. Ted and Spencer did a great job. They should have been up there with them too. Our other two cars had a difficult weekend. Hima and Craig had a bit of a mechanical weekend and Josemanuel and Scott were off track and in the sand for a few laps. I was really looking for a solid debut for Scott Schroeder but he didn't get to show his stuff today after really solid driving all weekend. It was a pretty successful weekend, not a lot of carnage and I am glad to see a podium for TRG."

-credit: trg

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , Spencer Pumpelly , Craig Stanton , Hima Maher , Dirk Werner , Ted Ballou , Scott Schroeder
Teams Stevenson Motorsports