TRG Leads GT at Daytona 24 Halfway Mark
Daytona Beach, FL (January 30, 2011) - The No. 67 TRG/Sargent & Lundy/South Point Hotel & Casino/Porsche is leading the GT class at the half-way mark of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. The No. 54 TRG/Black Swan/GMG/Porsche is third; the No. 66 TRG/Cabana Rum/Porsche is in fifth; the No. 4 TRG/Children's Tumor Foundation/Porsche is 12th, and the No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American Baseball League/Porsche is in 24th.
As night fell the competition at the front of field witnessed a flood of TRG cars. With three of the team's cars in the top five the next milestone will be sunrise at approximately 7 a.m.
NASCAR's Brendan Gaughan brought the No. 67 TRG/Sargent & Lundy/South Point Hotel & Casino/Porsche into the morning hours with his mid-night to just after 1a.m. stint. He then turned the car over to Spencer Pumpelly. Half-way through Pumpelly's run he reported that the clutch was totally gone. This requires a special touch behind the wheel and a lot of help from the crew to push the car away after pit stops.
"It has been a phenomenal ride so far," Gaughan said. "We started in the back and then got down two laps due to some unlucky circumstances and we are now in the lead. This has been a ton of fun to be a part of this program. During my stint I had four or five GT cars ahead of me who were beating and banging into the corners. The DP guys really come by you fast. Kevin Buckler is really smart. He didn't tell me that I was racing the 59 for the lead, but I was catching him. I think if he did I would have probably over-drove the car and did something stupid. We are going to have Wolf, Andy and Spencer do a lot of laps at night. Those guys will probably do double stints and I will probably get back in when the sun comes up."
54 pit Bret Curtis had the wheel of the No. 54 TRG/Black Swan/GMG/Porsche in the mid-night hour and was pleased with his run and the team's prospects, so far, running in third place.
"It was a good run," Curtis said. "I was being very conservative. We are having a good run and we are in the hunt. I was focused on keeping the car clean and intact. I feel good about my time in the car. I had a small spin and flat-spotted the tires a little. I didn't have any contact with anything or anyone so it really didn't affect anything. We are running up there in the top five and things are going according to plan."
66 pit Lucas Luhr did a double stint from mid-night to 2 a.m. in the No. 66 TRG/Cabana Rum/Porsche. Luhr had a strong run with the car that has been driven up to fifth place.
"We had some problems with the rear roll bar, so it does not handle the way it should," Luhr said. "During my second stint I was able to go a lot faster. It is a little sad that when I turned the car over to Ben he had an incident with a prototype around 2:30 a.m. and went down a couple of laps. We are still in the top five. We just need to stay out of trouble for the rest of the race."
4 pit Daniel Graeff drove the No. 4 TRG/Children's Tumor Foundation/Porsche into the very early morning. Graeff experienced some contact and had to limp the Porsche around with a flat tire. The team currently runs in 12th.
"My stint was an adventure," Graeff said. "Everyone is racing really hard this early in the night. No one is behaving. Everyone is being very aggressive. I was running good times and the car is real good. I had an incident with one of the Dempsey cars in Turn Two. He came down on me and I spun him. We didn't sustain any damage, so no harm, no foul. At the tail end of my double stint I had a DP move over on me and it punctured a tire. I had to pit and we were lucky not to do any damage to the fender or suspension."
53 pit Dr. Joe Castellano took over at mid-night in the No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American Baseball League/Porsche. The No. 53 Porsche is currently running in 24th.
"My stint was really good," Castellano said. "A Ferrari in front of me spilled a lot of fluid on the track and that made the next couple of turns really interesting. I was running 54s and 55s, so I was pleased with those times. I could not hear my spotter, so it was a hell of a mess. I could not tell when cars were coming up on me. The car is running really good and everyone on the team is doing a great job."
The Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona will be televised live on the SPEED Channel in two segments. The first segment will air from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 29th, rejoining the action from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 30. MRN will broadcast four live segments, including two hours of coverage at the start and finish of the event, for SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Channel 128 plus more than 60 MRN affiliates throughout North America: 3-5 p.m. and 8-8:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 29; 7-7:30 and 2-4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Jan. 30. Six short updates are scheduled for the affiliates: 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 29; Midnight, 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and Noon (ET) on Jan. 30.