Daytona24: GT winning team press conference

GRAND-AM Road Racing 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona
January 30, 2011

WINNING TEAM
TRG

An interview with:
KEVIN BUCKLER
STEVEN BERTHEAU
BRENDAN GAUGHAN
WOLF HENZLER
ANDY LALLY
SPENCER PUMPELLY

THE MODERATOR: No. 67 Sergeant Lundy South Point Hotel and Casino Porsche GT3 Cup. Team is owned by Kevin Buckler and we have the drivers, Steven Bertheau, Brendan Gaughan, Wolf Henzler, Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly we are going to go right to questions.

Q: Is there some vindication, and is today with what happened qualifying on Thursday, hey, we have got this --

KEVIN BUCKLER: Do I look like a vengeful type of person? Hell, yeah, there's a little bit of vindication. But you know what, we were out of compliance and even though it's by a millimeter, and probably we wished it could have slid, the rules are tightening up a little bit. But the bottom line is, absolutely and the guys qualified great.

I think we missed our photo op of last time having the front row at the start of the 24. But I think I'll take the win instead, so that's okay. But thank you.

Q: Brendan, what's it like having all of these guys, you helping all of these guys to victory?

BRENDAN GAUGHAN: I don't know about helping. I did my one stint. I think I ran two 1:52 laps, and Kevin Buckler screamed at me on the radio to slow down. And he wouldn't tell me that Bruno's car was the leader and that I was actually in front of him and catching him. So he passed me, and I let him go and I got out and I was like, wait a second, 59 was the leader and I was the second? And he never told me.

For me it was just do the one job I could, once the clutch went. First thing I did was look at Mr. Buckler and I said: I had zero ego, I am now officially an entrant in this thing. And if you don't trust me with that clutch, then I am absolutely fine sitting here being a cheerleader. And if anybody has a problem, I'll get back in, but I really wouldn't mind having Wolf Henzler and Andy finish this thing.

It was just phenomenal to be a part of TRG and I'm in victory lane at Daytona, that's a dream come true and thanks to Kevin, and the biggest thanks go to Steve Bertheau because this is Sergeant Lundy right here. This is the guy that made it all happen for this group. Steve Bertheau is the man that made it all happen, and I got to ride the coattails.

Q: Andy, when did the clutch go out, and how was it doing in those final few stints pulling out of the pits, obviously the trouble there?

ANDY LALLY: It wasn't just the final few stints. I think it was the final 17 hours of driving was with no clutch and that's very difficult, obviously. There's things that you really have to pay attention to. At the point that the clutch goes out and you decide to do the rest of the race without it, that means no mistakes, no stopping of that car anywhere on the track; other than your pit box because if you pin and stop, you're done. You're going to get toed back to the pits, and you lose three or four laps getting toed back to the pits; in the Rolex Series, you may as well just pack it up and go home because you're not going to end up on top of that podium here.

This car was awesome and the gear box that these guys built was a testament to how us -- beating it up for 17 hours and not using a clutch, it was pretty wild.

And it's also a testament to my teammates who are able to do that and drive for that long. And really, there's little things you've got to do and tricks you've got to play to be able to make one of these last for 17 hours while beating it up and not using the clutch. These guys all did it and our crew just put an awesome car together.

Q: Brendan, how does it feel to be the NASCAR driver who has beat Jimmie Johnson?

BRENDAN GAUGHAN: Well, I beat him when we were 15, 16 years old, too. It's just took me a long time for me to get back to it.

Q: Spencer, did having the clutch go out help you not really worry about all of the other stuff that could go wrong because you were focusing on that so much?

SPENCER PUMPELLY: Actually, yeah, we had a lot go wrong. This was by no means a clean run, and we had a good group of guys that were able to deal with all of the problems which came our way which really helped us get to where we were right now.

Once the clutch, went it kind of changed our mentality. It was more of a -- we survived probably the worst thing that we could imagine getting thrown at us early in the race, and that's a clutch out and we were just going to push on and see what happens.

And that did change a lot. It was more of a grind and more of a wrestle match and not so much of a delicate operation.

KEVIN BUCKLER: I want to comment on the clutch because these guys were downplaying it a little bit. It was amazing, we did go out early, we were only six or seven hours into the race when this happened and our decision, we were talking to the crew chief and talking about taking it to the garage and taking it apart and fixing it, and that would have been 20 laps. And if we did it, we were done.

So we were talking, and I said, you know, if the clutch goes out or we go back and fix it, it's 20 laps. Or if we drive it till it breaks, it's going to be 30 laps, so let's just drive it until it breaks or we win, one or the other. But I was saying that tongue-in-cheek.

But these guys did an absolutely phenomenal job. You have to match the blips perfectly just to slip it in. This is not a clutchless transmission. It just can't be done. I've never seen it before. And the worst part is, and Steve made a comment, I always bitch at these guys about using the clutch, and I can't do that any more, which really stinks.

Q: How do you drive a car without a clutch?

ANDY LALLY: These boxes are pretty strong. And essentially with a sequential box you've got a string gauge that does an ignition cut for the upshifts and not for the downshifts and you need to knock it out of gear. And your goal is to match the RPM of the gear that you're going into with the speed of the rear tires that are -- with the speed that the rear tires are traveling.

So if you're in fourth gear and you're going to go down to third year, A, you want to slow the car down, so you can get into the range where you're able to use third gear just like you would with anything else. And you just have to -- it's a little bit of a learning process, but the first few times we all did it was trying to find out how much of a blip, how much of the gas that you hit as you are going from fourth gear into neutral into third gear, and you just want to rev it up so you get it just flush.

It's a little tricky. But everybody seemed to get ahold of it pretty good. One of the trickiest, most stressful part were we had to bump start this thing and find neutral rolling in which is tricky on the sequential box, because there's a block against it and we throw it into neutral, and the guys would push it up to five or six miles an hour, blip it, pull it back into first and it would just trip the tires a little bit. And we didn't want to tear the clutch out of thing or tear the rear end out of it. It was pretty wild.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on this great afternoon.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , Brendan Gaughan , Spencer Pumpelly , Wolf Henzler