Lime Rock: TRG race report

TRG Finishes 1-2 at Lime Rock GT Series Challenge Petaluma, Ca. (May 29, 2006) -For the third time in seven races, the TRG Pontiac GTO.R teams stood hand in hand on the podium with first and second place finishes in the Rolex...

TRG Finishes 1-2 at Lime Rock GT Series Challenge

Petaluma, Ca. (May 29, 2006) -For the third time in seven races, the TRG Pontiac GTO.R teams stood hand in hand on the podium with first and second place finishes in the Rolex Sports Car Series. Monday's GT Series Challenge at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut featured relentless competition on a short, tight track. Ultimately, the TRG vehicles led from green to checker in an impressive display of Pontiac GTO.R strength.

Andy Lally, driving the #65 TRG/F1 Air GTO.R, took the lead from fellow TRG driver Kelly Collins in the #64 TRG/iRise GTO.R on lap 83 and never looked back. TRG's strategy to pit under the first caution, which occurred early in the race proved to be a successful tactic. With team driver R.J. Valentine scheduled to drive along with Lally and partner Marc Bunting this weekend, Bunting's short stint to start the race worked into the plan well. Valentine and teamowner Kevin Buckler later decided to allow Lally to finish the race, based on the fierce competition throughout the day.

"Our original plan was to do a three driver rotation depending on the yellows, but they just never came", commented Buckler. "R.J. is a total professional and recognized the situation. We huddled up to discuss strategy and he elected to leave Andy in the car. We won because of that call."

As the end of the race neared, Lally was able to make a short pit stop for fuel, and had so distanced himself from the field, that he emerged from the pit still in first place, and went on to take the checkered flag. Changing drivers during that pit would've cost the team more time, possibly putting them out of the lead or even the podium.

Lally was "thrilled with the performance of the team today. I had a very limited amount of practice this weekend, I think only about 5 timed laps, and I have to thank R.J. and Marc for working well with Lars to set the cars up. Kevin picked out a good set of gears to get us around here and the crew nailed the pit stops when they counted. On top of all of that, I get to drive the best car in the series. The Pontiacs could not be better suited to this track. We extended our lead in the Drivers, Team, and Manufacturers Championship today and put TRG on the podium 1-2 for the third time this year. It says so much about the hard work and dedication of every member of this team."

Not to be understated is the fantastic performance of the #64 TRG/iRise car, driven by Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards. Due to a height violation on the top quailfying NEC Porsche, Collins began today's race on the pole and dominated the field until he was passed by Lally just over halfway through the competition. Edwards kept pace with Lally for a strong second place finish, and the second TRG 1-2 finish in a row.

"TRG rocked Lime Rock this weekend," continued Buckler. "We had come here expecting to do well, but were really thrown a curve ball when Grand Am decided to knock 75 lbs. off all the other competitors just before the race. We took it in stride and spent our limited amount of test time setting up for the long haul just like we always do. We are good on short tracks and over the bumps so this circuit was definitely in our favor. I can't believe that we nailed another 1-2. This team is on a total roll. How else can you describe it? There were virtually no mistakes today- by anyone on either car. Fortunately, that was not the same story for the competition. The front running cars were all actually close but the teamwork and execution were not."

Buckler chuckled, asking "Anyone remember the story of the 3 little pigs? The upcoming Six Hours of The Glen could have the tables turned on us fast. It will be a Porsche track but we will fight hard. They better not make any mistakes."

TRG continues its run at the podium next Saturday, June 3 in Watkins Glen, NY. Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen will be televised on SPEED TV at 2:30pm EST (11:30AM PST).


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Kelly Collins , Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , R.J. Valentine , Marc Bunting