Fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway looms next for TRG
PETALUMA, CA (July 25) - TRG heads to Round Nine of the Rolex Grand-Am Series and this one is a biggie. Not only is it part of the Grand-Am's new three-race Endurance Championship, but it's Indy ... that's right - "THE" Indianapolis Motor Speedway where legends race and legends are made.
TRG's Eliseo Salazar has been there. In 2001, he sat on the front row and finished third in the fabled Indianapolis 500. This time, Salazar's assault comes in sports car racing with his Daytona and Watkins Glen co-pilot Eduardo Costabal.
TRG's second entry will be equally as formidable. Ben Keating, who leads the points race in the Dodge Viper Cup series with four wins in six attempts this season, teams with Porsche factory all-star Jorg Bergmeister, one of the decade's most decorated sports car racers.
Add in the fact that TRG's 150-plus podiums in sports car racing over the last 20 years makes it the most prolific Porsche sports car team during that span, and you have a team clearly focused on what matters - winning.
"This is an important race" says team owner Kevin Buckler. "It's Indy. It's part of the three-race Enduro. And teams get really psyched and prepared for something like this. We're going to have to bring our 'A' game, and that's what we are doing."
Salazar and Costabal drove together at the Daytona 24 earlier this year, constantly moving up through the field with virtually no issues during the entire 24 hours. At the Six Hours at the Glen a few weeks ago, the duo racing with Santiago Orjuela, had the highest finish of the three TRG entries.
"These guys do an amazing job of not only keep the car together, but driving with their heads," said Buckler. "And that usually results in them being there at the end and moving into contention. Eliseo has some great history and memories here. We'd like him to leave with yet another."
Keating is a frequent pilot in the TRG paddock. Earlier this year, he and his teammates nailed a Top Seven at Daytona and were in the hunt in Watkins Glen until a mess at the restart sent the car to the garage. In Bergmeister, Keating gets a seatmate who has won multiple series championships and virtually every major sports car race, and has a long history with TRG including 3 victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
"We are going after this one," says Keating. "We've had good cars at both Daytona and Watkins Glen. Racing at Indy is special and I believe we can turn in a special type of performance. Jorg is one of the best sports car drivers on the planet. He's smart, self-assured and fast. I'm looking forward to driving with him and hopefully collecting a little hardware."
For Salazar, the return to Indy for the former Indy car and Formula One driver is one filled with great memories and expectations. Salazar is the only driver in the world who has ever raced in the five race classics of the Indianapolis 500, Monte Carlo (F1), 24 Hours of Le Mans, Daytona 24 and the Dakar Rally.
"I've been fortunate to have raced at many revered circuits all over the world," said Salazar with a gleam in his eye. "But I can tell you that Indy is my favorite track. I look forward taking it on in a TRG Porsche."
Source: The Racers Group (TRG)