Iowa: TRG race report

TRG POSTS FOURTH WIN OF GRAND-AM SEASON AT IOWA SPEEDWAY NEWTON, Iowa (July 14, 2007) -- TRG proved the Porsches could indeed run strong at the new Iowa Speedway as team cars claimed Victory and two additional Top-10 finishes during Round 10 of...


NEWTON, Iowa (July 14, 2007) -- TRG proved the Porsches could indeed run strong at the new Iowa Speedway as team cars claimed Victory and two additional Top-10 finishes during Round 10 of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve on Saturday.

It was expected that the Mazda and Pontiac competition would dominate the Grand-Am GT-class event on the tricky 1.3-mile 'roval,' a combination of the road course and oval circuits on the grounds of the brand new Midwest venue.

TRG proved that theory wrong as co-drivers RJ Valentine and Andy Lally guided their No. 66 CRG/AVIVA/Maxter Porsche GT3 past the field and ultimately into victory lane.

Taking the green flag from the 13th-spot on the starting grid, Valentine drove a great first stint, staying on the lead lap and turning over a perfect car to his co-driver. Lally took over and made the decisive move of the race on lap 166 when he executed a pass around the No. 87 of then-leader Dirk Werner heading into Turn One. Lally held off all challengers during the remaining 19 laps until taking the checkered flag by a .618-second margin.

"The No. 66 car was amazing," said TRG team owner Kevin Buckler.J"RJ and Andy drove a great race. 'Ironman' Andy really earned his pay this weekend by taking it to all the other cars and giving it everything he had. What a great win for TRG and our partner AVIVA."

TRG flexed its muscles even further as the remaining two team-cars also ran well to finish in fourth and eighth places.

Partnered with Iowa-based AVIVA USA, the No. 67 TRG AVIVA/Maxwell Paper Porsche GT3 with drivers Bryan Sellers and Spencer Pumpelly ran a brilliant race, having rebounded from a race morning engine change and last place spot on the starting grid. Sellers drove a tactically perfect early stint, keeping the car clean and climbing the scoring pylon all the way to sixth. Pumpelly took over mid-way into the two-and-a-half hour race and ran an equally competitive last half to post the car's Fourth-Place finish.

"We've had high hopes all week for the new partnership with our friends from AVIVA," said Buckler. "Having an engine failure during the morning warm-up with literally no time to do an engine change really set us back. There was no spare engine anywhere in the paddock except the old spare we carry in our trailer."

"Within minutes we had removed the damaged engine and were changing components as the two engines were completely different. It's a six-hour job that our crew accomplished in three-hours, firing the engine and lining up dead last on the starting grid just prior to the drop of the green flag. Bryan and Spencer ran a great race to finish fourth and making the team very proud."

"A special thank you goes to my friends Rod Smith and Maxwell Paper Products who loaned us their car and driver Bryan Sellers to compete in this weekend's event. We couldn't have done it without them.JThanks for the help, Maxwell Paper and Rod."

Rounding out the team's three-car lineup was the No. 65 TRG 500FastCash Porsche GT3 of driver teammates Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski. The duo ran a smart and consistent race with Tucker starting from 14th and climbing into the Top-10 around the 100-lap mark.JFollowing the driver change, Zabinski ran a precise race to gain two more spots and secure an impressive 8th-place finish.

"My friends Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski had one of their best races ever," said Buckler. "They started well back but drove a flawless race to move up the leader board to post a strong 8th-place finish. Good teamwork, strong driving and not a wheel off the entire time really helped these guys gain some valuable experience together in this GT-class racing. Big kudos to Scott and Ed."

Today's victory marks the fourth Grand-Am GT-class win of the season for TRG and the Lally/Valentine pairing, adding to those at Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. It also boosts Lally and Valentine to second-place in the driver points' championship, only 10 points out of first. Their climb from 13th-place to 1st earned the pair the SunTrust Improve Your Position Award -- the sixth time this season they have done so. The victory also strengthens TRG's claim as the winningest team in Grand-Am history, now with 24.


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , Spencer Pumpelly , Bryan Sellers , Dirk Werner , Scott Tucker , Ed Zabinski