TRG Right on Strategy Six Hours into Daytona 24
Daytona Beach, FL (January 29, 2011) - The five car TRG Porsche armada is six-hours into the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. The No. 67 TRG/Sargent & Lundy/South Point Hotel & Casino/Porsche leads the TRG contingent in fourth; the No. 54 TRG/Black Swan/GMG/Porsche is fifth; the No. 66 TRG/Cabana Rum/Porsche is in 12th; the No. 4 TRG/Children's Tumor Foundation/Porsche is 18th, and the No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American Baseball League/Porsche is in 29th.
The green flag dropped on the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. The TRG Porsche teams began applying their proven race winning strategy immediately.
After being sent to the back of the grid following qualifying, Andy Lally started the No. 67 TRG/Sargent & Lundy/South Point Hotel & Casino/Porsche. At the first yellow, just four laps into the race, Lally turned the 67 car over to Steve Bertheau. The 67 is currently running in fourth.
"It was wild!" Bertheau said. "Andy took the first few green laps and then I jumped in the car. There is a lot of traffic out there. The track has a lot of grip and the car is really strong. The car was sticking everywhere. The whole team did an awesome job of setting the car up. It was really easy to drive. We are looking forward to having a good race."
James Sofronas took the first full night stint in the No. 54 TRG/Black Swan/GMG/Porsche and the car is currently running in fifth place.
"It is really hectic out there," Sofronas said. "The way these guys are driving you would think it is a regular two-hour-and-forty-five minute race. Guys are banging into each other, dropping wheels and sliding off of the track. I just let them all go, that is not our strategy. It paid off. Once I got clear of traffic I was running 51s and 52s. We are in the top five and doing well. We have been double stinting tires and I was able to run the same times at the end of stint. The car is really good. It is balanced and predictable."
Ben Keating had the wheel of the No. 66 TRG/Cabana Rum/Porsche heading into the darkness. Keating's stint was full of drama resulting in a flat-tire. Despite the early drama the 66 guys are running in 12th place.
"There was a lot of drama during my stint," Keating said. "I got on the radio and said to the crew you didn't tell me this was going to be so much work. There was a lot more traffic than I anticipated. I went into Turn One about half-way through and I think there were about eight cars going in there. I hugged the inside and had two tires off the track. Two DPs were trying to get past and they pinched me off, ran into me. It hurt one of my tires causing a slow leak. When I got to Turn One on the next leap I hit the brake and the car rotated around on me. I got to Turn Six and I realized I had a full on flat. I had to nurse it back to pit lane with a little ride through the paddock. It was pretty crazy!"
Kenny Wallace took the second stint behind the wheel of the No. 4 TRG/Children's Tumor Foundation/Porsche. The NASCAR Nationwide Series driver likes the challenge of the Rolex 24 Hour. The No. 4 team is in 16th at the six-hour mark.
"I am humbled and happy to be racing here," Wallace said. "I was told by Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. that they all wrecked doing this race. I am trying to represent NASCAR and run a good conservative pace and finish the race. I also want to ride back home with Jimmie on his airplane, so I want to be here to the end. My brother came down here thinking he was the badest man around and they just whipped his butt bad. I hope running here will in some small way helps me to be a little better in my Nationwide car at the end of the month. This Porsche is a different animal. You have to heel-and-toe the car under braking. In NASCAR we just jam through the gears. Kevin Buckler, the team owner just told me not to wreck. You have the DPs out there just blowing by you. There is also a lot of debris out there to avoid, another aspect I am not used to on the track. I have been coming here as a driver since 1989 and the new surface is great. I think we can be three and four wide all the way around.
Coulter Mulligan turned his first laps in a Rolex Series professional race at the controls of the No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American Baseball League/Porsche. The No. 53 Porsche is currently running in 29th.
"I couldn't have picked a better place to make my first Rolex Series start," Mulligan said. "I had the sun set stint. I was coming around NASCAR Turn Four and I was envisioning Coal Trickle in the movie Days of Thunder as the sun was coming into his face. The DP cars really sneak up on you. They are so low to the ground and fast that you really have to be paying attention. With the sun set that made it more interesting with the diminishing light. After I got the first lap under my belt I was able to settle and in and it was smooth sailing. This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I am so happy to be with TRG they are one of the top GT teams out here. Kevin has a first class operation and the entire team is really helpful."