The #66 New Century Mortgage and Monster Cable-backed Porsche 911 GT3 RS of The Racer's Group finished 3rd in today's Grand-Am Weekend of Champions Rolex Series race. The thrilling race around the famed road/oval circuit was tense with strategy, as several yellow flags flew, scrambling everyone's race plans.
Team owner Kevin Buckler, Overall Winner at the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, started the car from dead last, after an obscure technical infraction in qualifying relegated the car to the back row of the grid. When he gave the controls to co-driver Chris Gleason, the car had climbed into 2nd place in class. An electrical problem in the steering column rendered the drivers' radios and drink bottles useless, and the team was forced to endure the rest of the race and a critical pit stop without the ability to communicate between the pits and the drivers. At a late yellow flag, Gleason missed the signal to pit due to the radio glitch, and was forced to stay on track on deteriorating tires and an emptying fuel tank.
Gleason turned the car over to co-driver Pierre Ehret, of Santa Rosa, California, who in turn made a late pass for position to ensure the team's 3rd podium finish of the Grand-Am season. The Racer's Group finished the Grand-Am season with podium finishes in every race it started, carrying its success in the series from 2002 forward another year.
Team owner Kevin Buckler was set on a hard charging stint from the start. "Starting from the back of the grid is no fun," he said, "but the crew worked so hard to get the car set up, and they absolutely nailed it. The car was so good from the start-- I was able to pick my way through the field and get up into second before Chris got in. Both he and Pierre were fantastic today. Our pit stops were flawless, and we're happy to finish without a scratch on the car."
Chris Gleason, President and CEO of the Gleason Agency, was thrilled with the day's race. "I feel terrific! What a great way to end a season. My radio went out right when I got in the car, so our strategy was a bit limited. Kevin did a great job at the start getting us back into contention. Excellent weekend."
Pierre Ehret, owner of the Flamingo Resort and Hotel, in Santa Rosa, California, was equally happy as his co-driver. "Kevin was great getting the car up to the front in his stint. The only problem was the missed pit stop, but everything was great considering where we started. We'll take the result -- we don't want to be too greedy!"