Mid-Ohio: The Racer's Group race report

TRG Battle to 5th at Mosport Bowmanville, ON -- August 8, 2004 -- The ...

TRG Battle to 5th at Mosport

Bowmanville, ON -- August 8, 2004 -- The #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche of The Racer's Group battled to a solid fifth place finish after a start from the back of the grid today. Patrick Long, who had a scary crash in Saturday practice, which merited a medical review, started the race in 11th position in class and turned the car over to co-driver Cort Wagner while leading the GT field. TRG was one of only a handful of teams to employ a one-stop race strategy, which allowed Long to outlast the field on fuel and make up significant ground on the field. The race was uneventful from a racing incidents perspective, as there wasn't a single yellow flag thrown in the duration of the race -- the first time this season a race has run fully under green flag conditions. Wagner in turn lapped quickly and consistently, enjoying a thrilling battle for position with the eventual 4th-place finishing Ferrari in the last 20 minutes of the race. The sister #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche of Pierre Ehret and Jim Matthews did not start the race today, as it was withdrawn following an accident in Friday practice.

A Porsche works driver competing in his first full season of the American Le Mans Series, Long made his first visit to Mosport on Friday. He commented on his race weekend: "It was tough to start from the back of the field, and it was made more difficult when I immediately had to get around two other Porsches who were having a go at each other. Once I got clear of them, I was able to get into my own rhythm and stretch the fuel so that we only had to stop once. Cort did a fantastic job driving today, and considering where we started the race, fifth was a great finish. Today shows that no two races are the same -- with no yellow flags at all, it creates an entirely different strategy situation for us."

Long's co-driver Cort Wagner, who dashed back and forth between Mid-Ohio and Mosport all week long for dual ALMS and Grand-Am races, talked about the race. "Overall I couldn't be more happy with the team. The preparation, pit stop and strategy were perfect, and I'm happy with where we finished. Patrick did an amazing job in the car -- I'm impressed that after ringing his bell yesterday he was able to focus and drive like he did today. For the limited time that the team had to set up the car, the balance was good and that allowed Pat and I to get down to business in the car. The New Century/TRG team keeps getting better and better every week, so we're looking forward to the last three races of the season."

Team owner Kevin Buckler joined his driver in contesting both the ALMS and Grand-Am races this weekend. After several international jaunts since Wednesday, Buckler drove to a fifth place finish in Saturday's Grand-Am race, then promptly joined several other drivers for the short flight to Mosport. He said, "After all we've been through this week, the whole team put in a great effort. With the #66 car starting in back, the drivers worked their way up to a solid 5th place. While I'm bummed for Pierre and Jim in the #67 car, I'm proud that Patrick was able to climb back in the saddle after the big knock he had yesterday, and Cort, as usual, didn't make any mistakes and drove a great stint. The team did a flawless pit stop, and our strategy was exactly the right call as well, so I'm pleased about that. We know what we have to do to kick some serious butt at Road America, and we're already working on it. I like that track, and I predict we'll do very well there."

The American Le Mans Series races next at Road America on August 22. The race will be televised live on Speed Channel.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Pierre Ehret , Patrick Long , Jim Matthews , Cort Wagner