Two TRG Porsches grab top-10 finishes in Lime Rock GT Classic 250 LAKEVILLE, Conn., TRG co-drivers Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly led their team's four-car effort with a sixth-place finish in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Lime...
Two TRG Porsches grab top-10 finishes in Lime Rock GT Classic 250
LAKEVILLE, Conn., TRG co-drivers Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly led their team's four-car effort with a sixth-place finish in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Lime Rock GT Classic 250. Ted Ballou and Bryce Miller finished 10th.
George started today's 164-lap race from the seventh row in the No. 67 Monster Cable/Gleukos/WIN Institute/944 Magazine/Karma Foundation GT3 Cup. He moved as high as seventh overall by lap 11 and managed to keep the car in contention throughout his 46-lap stint. That is when brought the No. 67 Porsche GT3 Cup in and turned it over to Pumpelly.
"The car started out pretty good," George said. "I was playing with the bars a lot. The tires started to go pretty quickly. It was amazing to watch the Pontiacs brake into [turn] three and carve these corners up. I thought I had a pretty good stint. I passed a bunch of people. I kept it out of trouble and gave it to Spencer. Unfortunately, we didn't have a yellow and had to pit under green."
Pumpelly returned to the track after the green flag pit stop in 12th. He would spend much of his 118-lap stint trying to get back on the lead lap due to the sizeable gap the front-running Pontiacs had opened up on the entire field. Meanwhile, Pumpelly recorded the duo's best lap with a 0:54.080 on lap 52. He continued to push hard throughout the race and brought the No. 67 machine home sixth.
"It was a really good car today," Pumpelly said. "We could not ask much more from the TRG Porsche. We just didn't have the pace today to match some of the other makes. The team is good when the cards are up or down. We pulled out a sixth-place finish today when we were probably a 10th-place car. It just shows how good this TRG team is. I hope we can turn this around and get back up on top in points."
Ballou started alongside George in row seven and had the No. 66 Marquis Jet/Mitchell Rubber/Resorts International/IPC/Total Lubricants Porsche GT3 Cup just outside the top-10 for the majority of his 42-lap stint. In fact, Ballou ran as high as 11th before handing it over to his co-driver Miller. "The car was oversteering quite a bit," Ballou said of his stint. "We somewhat held our position out there and waited for the onslaught of Pontiacs. Overall, it was a clean stint."
After the green flag pit stop, Miller found himself in 16th. He continued to run some pretty consistent lap times to have the No. 66 Porsche in 13th by lap 61 and then made the tandem's second pit stop on lap 94 for tires and fuel. On lap 95, Miller ran his fastest lap of the race with a 0:55.164 and used it to finish 10th today.
"We fell back early on and made some adjustments that helped balance it out," Miller said. "We were able to pick up our pace and, as the tires began to wear, we were able to go faster and the balance of the car came to us. I think we are moving in the right direction. Watkins Glen should be a good track for the Porsche. Hopefully we can get some points back."
Piloting the No. 68 CRG/Maxter/Rotex/MBA Group/F1 Air Porsche GT3 Cup, Bryan Sellers started the day as the top-qualifying TRG Porsche, which was ninth on the grid. Early on, Sellers put on an impressive driving display and had his car in fifth by lap 15 - a position he held for the next 10 laps.
On lap 45, Sellers made his first green flag pit stop and took two tires, fuel and stayed in the car for another stint. The team's strategy was to only take two tires and leave Sellers in the car to try to regain some of its track position. The strategy worked because Sellers was in sixth by lap 49.
Sellers continued to stay within striking distance. On lap 102, he was only one lap down and in eighth when co-driver Andy Lally took the reigns.
"It seemed like long stint, I know it wasn't too bad," Sellers said. "I had a race this morning and this one this afternoon. I was glad Andy was standing by ready to get in. It felt like a good stint, we had some problems with the tires going off during the first run. The track got greasy toward the end of my stint because of the heat. We had a new guy sitting up on the pit box, Ryan Eversley, calling the shots and we gave it all we had today."
Lally, who raced in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in Mansfield, Ohio, returned to the track in 11th place and quickly began to turn up the pace. In fact, his fastest race lap came on lap 118 with a 0:54.818. Throughout his stint, Lally showed why he is such a great sports car driver because he drove his No. 68 machine up to eighth-place before giving to RJ Valentine, who eventually finish 11th.
"It was good to be back," Lally said. "Of all of the tracks you don't want to be racing a Porsche against other cars, it is Lime Rock. I am looking forward to getting back to another track where the playing field is a little more level. I went out, had some fun, thrashed around a little bit and burnt up some of Kevin's tires for him. We tried to play with some strategy, but we needed a yellow that never came today. It was a tough one this weekend. TRG put a good car under us, it just wasn't our day."
"I was racing with two great guys today," Valentine said. "Andy and Bryan are at the top of their game. There was not chance at all against the Pontiacs. I had a great stint. I drove the car as hard as I could with in my parameters. I got into the 56s and that is where I wanted to be in the race."
John Potter got a good start in his No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total R Insulation Solutions Porsche GT3 Cup, picking up three positions in the first 13 laps. He was TRG's iron man today driving two stints totaling 106 laps before teammate Craig Stanton got in the car on lap 106.
"It was good to get a lot of laps," Potter said. "It was the longest I have ever been in the car. Given that there were no cautions, it was a perfect opportunity. I was alright in the car. I was glad that I did a lot of laps, it was good practice. I was really close to my qualifying time in the race, which is about all I could ask for."
Once Stanton got in the car, it only took him three laps to turn that car's fastest race lap with a 0:54.415. Stanton's consistently quick pace earned that duo a solid 13th-place finish.
"Given the circumstances, we had a great run today," Team Owner Kevin Buckler said. "We finished 1-2-3 in the Porsche class. We were out gunned by the Mazdas and the Pontiacs, it wasn't even close. Spencer and Tim did a fantastic job. Bryce and Ted worked really hard to keep their positions. RJ got in with Andy and Bryan and turned some great laps at the end. John Potter was fantastic. He had a little off and got nailed by a Corvette and then recovered. The big guy [Potter] drove a stint-and-a-half. Craig Stanton drove some killer laps at the end. Hopefully, Grand-Am is going to figure something out here. We need some parity. We have been saying that these tires were not built for our cars and that manifested itself here 100 percent today. All of the left side Porsche tires were destroyed and the Pontiac tires are perfect. We also got slaughtered on the lap times. It was embarrassing for everyone. The series is going to have to do something. They usually try do the right thing, so we will see what happens."