Laguna Seca: TRG race report

TRG's Ballou and Pumpelly Fourth at Laguna Seca Monterey, Calif., (May 17, 2009) - TRG's Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly kept their consistent streak going by finishing fourth today at the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda ...

TRG's Ballou and Pumpelly Fourth at Laguna Seca

Monterey, Calif., (May 17, 2009) - TRG's Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly kept their consistent streak going by finishing fourth today at the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The duo maintains their Grand-Am Rolex Series GT points lead heading to the six hour race at Watkins Glen.

Ted Ballou started the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 from his tenth place qualifying position. Wasting no time, Ballou had the Porsche in fourth place by lap 15. Pumpelly took over the drive and was able to keep the rear tires under the car for the remainder of the race and finish in a good points position of fourth.

"We had a really clean run," Pumpelly said. "We are looking for consistency, while maintaining our points lead. It is not as big as when we came here, but we are still leading. We are going to keep being consistent and keep finishing in the top five and take the wins when we can. Ted is doing a great job in qualifying and is very clean during his stints and that is what is making us successful at the end of the day."

John Potter had the wheel of the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3 at the start. Potter had the car up to seventh when he handed over to Stanton. Veteran sports car driver Stanton was able to maintain the position for the duos best finish of the year in seventh.

"The 65 team has been working on the car and our overall approach on the weekend," Stanton said. "John Bedell (crew chief) and the guys took a look at why we were eighth and ninth. We were seventh today, so we are chipping away at it. Debriefing with John Potter we are getting to know why the car was better today. I think we had good handling, we had good aero on the car and the brake package was right on today. We had some good power as well. We are getting a good feeling for the Pirelli tires and what makes them work best on these cars. The set-up allowed us to run harder longer. We had three great pit stops by the guys and had a strong day."

Rene Villeneuve started the No. 63 Team Polizei 144/TRG Porsche GT3 and soon had the car in the top ten. Villeneuve put in a double stint behind the wheel, and he soon had the series new comers in the top ten. Villeneuve handed over to Henri Richard who drove some of the best laps of the weekend and was able to bring the car home unscathed in 12th position for the group's first outing.

"TRG gave us great support this weekend, we had a fantastic crew," Richard said. "I have to thank Rene. He did a fabulous first stint and ran an hour-and-thirty-five minutes, which is no small task. He gave me a good car and I played it safe. Our objective was absolutely first and foremost to take the checker. I judged that some of the guys behind me were faster and I let them go. I listened to my spotter on the DP traffic and kept it together to the end. It was a good first outing for our group."

Josemanuel Gutierrez started the No. 68 Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche. Gutierrez was able to knock on the door of the top ten during his strong stint. Handing over to 20-year old Scott Schroeder, the youngster proceeded to engage in an on track battle with the No. 20 car until contact relegated him to a 11th place finishing position.

"Our strategy had to change from what we planned in the truck before the race," Schroeder said. "We had to adjust it as the race progressed. We were a lap down so we had to adapt to that fact. We could have finished eighth or ninth, but we were in that battle at the end. I had contact with the 20 car with about five laps to go which bent our suspension and knocked the toe out. I am looking forward to running Watkins Glen with Josemanuel in a few weeks."

"We had a slightly touch race, because we had two mishaps and we lost our left side mirror," Gutierrez said. "But Scott was our hero for this weekend. He had to drive a badly damaged car, but he drove so well, that his times were as good as if the was in perfect condition. I'm looking forward to driving with him again at Watkins Glen and having Duncan Ende in the car with us as well."

Justin Marks had a tough start to the race. Taking the green in the No. 67 Construct Corps/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3, Justin kept the car up front and stayed solidly on the tails of the class leaders, but had an issue with a radiator on lap eight. The team took to repairing the Porsche on pit lane returning Justin to the track to complete the minimum distance for points and getting Andy Lally into the fray as well. The work of the crew not only got Lally his minimum seat time, but helped to make up four positions on the finishing order as well.

"We had another tough outing," Lally said. "This crew came through and did a pretty tough fix on the car in very hot conditions. I think we are going to look back on these finishes where the crew performed so well at the end of the season as extremely valuable. We were able to get back out and get four more places on the finish sheet. I am not sure what happened, the right front radiator just lost its water all at once."

Team owner Kevin Buckler's team is leading the points and having solid drives every weekend.

"Ted and Spencer had another strong day," Buckler said. "They are driving smart and the guys are putting a great car under them. John Potter and Craig Stanton had their best finish with us so far, another testament to their ever increasing driving abilities and overall approach on the track. Josemanel did his usual Iron Man stint and Scott ran smart all day. Scott had a nice battle at the end and made a pro move to back off with an ill handling car and take the position. Our new guys Rene and Henri had a great first outing with us. They both did just a stellar job in the cockpit. We introduced the Team Polizei 144 brand to the Grand-Am audience. Justin and Andy had their trouble early, which was tough because it was one of Justin's best drives. He was flying in his opening stint. I am glad they got back out."

Round five of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be the Sahlen's Six Hour of Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway on June 6.

-credit: trg

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , Justin Marks , Craig Stanton , Duncan Ende , Ted Ballou , Scott Schroeder , John Potter , Henri Richard , Rene Villeneuve
Teams Magnus Racing