Laguna Seca: TRG preview

TRG Looks to Defend 1-2 Finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca And Home Turf with Five-Car Entry in 250 PETALUMA, Calif. (May 9, 2008) - In the GT class, there is no Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16...

TRG Looks to Defend 1-2 Finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca And Home Turf with Five-Car Entry in 250

PETALUMA, Calif. (May 9, 2008) - In the GT class, there is no Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 race closer to home for TRG than next weekend's 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

There is also no facility on the 2008 schedule for which TRG owner Kevin Buckler - and many others in the Grand-Am paddock - has as much passion as the picturesque, 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course in Monterey, Calif.

"I'm going back to my roots," said Buckler. "We lived across the street from the track when (wife) Debra and I first moved back to California. It is one of my favorite all-time circuits anywhere in the world. Everybody loves going to Monterey. Everyone has a great time. It's a fantastic place. One of my first-ever races-and I think my first driving school-I did there. I'm really looking forward to returning to the circuit and we've done very well there."

Indeed, the team has done extremely well at Laguna Seca. Last year, the team swept the top-two positions in a standalone GT race, with co-drivers RJ Valentine and Andy Lally taking the victory in the No. 66 Porsche, followed by Ross Smith and Daniel DiLeo in the team's No. 65 machine. The team also finished second with co-drivers Lally and Marc Bunting in the 2006 Rolex Series event.

"We finished first and second there last year and had a great run," Buckler said. "It's just a track that puts a smile on everybody's face, racing there, staying there on the Monterey Peninsula. You see more wives, family and friends being brought to this event than many others because they just like going.  We enjoy Laguna Seca like everybody else. I do get to drive down since it's only three hours from home. I really feel like we're going home, because Debra and I started The Racer's Group and TRG there at Laguna Seca Raceway."

TRG has grown immensely since those early days of the team in Monterey, as evidenced by the fact that the team will bring no fewer than five Porsche GT3s to the 250. The team's two full-time entries for the 2008 season are once again entered at Laguna Seca, with co-drivers Bryce Miller and Ted Ballou in the No. 66 Marquis Jet/Mitchell Rubber/Resorts International/IPC/Total Lubricants machine, and Spencer Pumpelly and Tim George Jr. in the No. 67 Monster Cable/944 Magazine/WIN Institute/Gleukos Porsche.

The No. 67 team is currently second in the Rolex Series GT point standings heading into Round 5 of the 13-race championship, just six points behind the class leaders. Pumpelly and George have achieved that status on the strength of podium finishes in three of the first four races this season, including second-place performances in Round 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and at VIR last month.

The No. 66 team is also a fixture in the top 10 and is currently ranked seventh. Miller and Ballou had their best result of second in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona alongside co-drivers Lally and Richard Westbrook.

Returning to the site of his sweet victory last year, Valentine will pilot the No. 68 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air Porsche along with co-driver Bryan Sellers. It will be the fourth start of the season for both drivers, and both have already finished inside the top five.

Returning for their second consecutive Rolex Series race and third of the year are Jim Lowe and Jim Pace in the No. 64 SRS/Globus/Adopt A Pig Porsche for TRG/J Lowe Racing. Lowe and Pace own a best 2008 result of fourth from the Rolex 24, when they shared their No. 64 machine with Valentine, Johannes van Overbeek and Tim Sugden.

For the first time since the Rolex 24, TRG will also field the No. 65 machine, which carries sponsorship from Riegel Tuning, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing and Total R as well as co-drivers Hima Maher-who drove TRG's No. 63 entry in the Rolex 24-and team newcomer Craig Stanton, who won the 2005 GT driver's championship.

"We'll have five cars and it's a big event for us," Buckler said. "We're debuting our new car with Riegel Tuning and Craig Stanton and Hima Maher. We're working on it right now and we're very excited. We're ready to go."

-credit: trg

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Johannes van Overbeek , Jim Pace , Craig Stanton , Marc Bunting , Tim Sugden , Bryan Sellers , Ross Smith , Hima Maher , Jim Lowe , Ted Ballou , Tim George Jr. , Daniel DiLeo , Bryce Miller