TRG Looks to Defend Mid-Ohio Victory with Potent Four-Car Lineup PETALUMA, Calif. - TRG returns to the venerable Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 EMCO Gears Classic...
TRG Looks to Defend Mid-Ohio Victory with Potent Four-Car Lineup
PETALUMA, Calif. - TRG returns to the venerable Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 EMCO Gears Classic with a four-car lineup and as the race's defending champions.
Last year, Andy Lally and RJ Valentine co-drove the No. 66 Porsche to the victory at Mid-Ohio, one of a series-leading five GT-class victories in 2008. Entering Saturday's eighth round of the 13-race 2008 Rolex Series championship, however, TRG is still looking for its first victory. Mid-Ohio could be just the place to change that, as TRG has placed at least one car on the podium there for every race since 2004.
"We've had some great races there, and I've raced there personally a bunch," said team owner Kevin Buckler. "The team has been racing there since the late 1990s. I'd bet TRG has competed in both pro and amateur races at least 15 times. It's a neat track, because it reminds me of how much we enjoy going to a dedicated racing facility. It's dedicated, because there are not a lot of distractions and social stuff going on. We focus on the race and we all work real hard."
With a series-leading four entries, the team will have plenty to work hard on in preparation for Saturday's race. The team is looking to rebound from a tough six-hour race at Watkins Glen two weeks ago and continue to battle for the championship with its full-time entries.
Returning to the team and co-driving one of the team's full-time machines will be Lally. He and Ted Ballou will compete in the No. 66 TRG/Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3. Lally, who is still scheduled to compete in several NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events for TRG Motorsports, will contest all non-conflicting Rolex Series events for the remainder of the 2008 season with Ballou. The multiple-time Rolex Series class champion takes over the spot left vacant by Bryce Miller, who will be returning to the Farnbacher Loles team.
"We're excited to welcome Andy back to TRG's Grand-Am team and look forward to him joining forces with Ted to defend his Mid-Ohio title," Buckler said. "Bryce's natural talent has been very apparent from the first time he got in one of our cars last fall. Having driven with Farnbacher Loles throughout the beginning stages of his career, we fully support his decision and the opportunity given to him. Between the location of the team, as well as opportunities in other series, it's a win-win for Bryce, and we look forward to seeing how he progresses."
Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly will again co-drive the No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 and will be looking to put a disappointing outing at Watkins Glen behind them. After five top-10 results from the first six races - including four podiums - George and Pumpelly were forced to settle for 24th at Watkins Glen owing to a brake failure and subsequent crash on the opening lap. They dropped from second to third in the championship standings as a result, and expect to move back in the other direction this weekend.
Ohio native Bryan Sellers and Valentine will again be paired in the No. 68 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air Porsche GT3. Sellers who hails originally from Centerville, Ohio, but now makes his home in Auburn, Ga., is hoping to ensure that Valentine celebrates in Mid-Ohio's Victory Lane for the second consecutive year.
Reuniting for a second consecutive race in the No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total R Insulation Solutions Porsche GT3 for TRG/Riegel Autosport will be Mexican racer Josemanuel Gutierrez and 2005 Rolex Series GT champion Craig Stanton. In Gutierrez's Rolex Series debut at the Six Hours of The Glen two weeks ago, the No. 65 team led the way for TRG with a ninth-place performance. The No. 65 team has finished inside the top 10 in two of its last three Rolex Series starts.
After a promoter test day on Thursday, June 19, official on-track activities get underway with practice and qualifying at Mid-Ohio on Friday. Saturday's race day schedule will see the TRG drivers participate in an autograph session from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. ET, with the green flag scheduled to drop on the EMCO Gears Classic at 5:00 p.m. ET. The race's scheduled distance is 250 miles or 111 laps around the 2.258-mile circuit, and the race is subject to a two-hour and 45-minute time limit.