TRG Finishes Second at New Jersey Motorsports Park; Ballou and Pumpelly lead GT points Millville, New Jersey, (May 3, 2009) - TRG's Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly finished second in today's running of the Grand-Am Rolex Series Verizon Wireless...
TRG Finishes Second at New Jersey Motorsports Park; Ballou and Pumpelly lead GT points
Millville, New Jersey, (May 3, 2009) - TRG's Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly finished second in today's running of the Grand-Am Rolex Series Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. With the finish, Ballou and Pumpelly assume the GT championship points lead. The whole team had a great day with the other three entries finishing in the top ten as well.
jer fin 2 The race started under a torrential down pour with the first caution flying before the first lap was completed. Justin Marks in the No. 67 Construct Corp/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3 put in a brilliant drive and took over the lead on lap 15, sixth overall. Marks led up to lap 21 when he handed the green and black Porsche to co-driver Andy Lally. As the pit stops shuffled through, Lally was able to return to the track in the lead and drove a strong second stint. On lap 47, when he was passed by teammate Spencer Pumpelly who then proceeded to lead 17 laps until his rear tires started to go off and had to settle for second place.
Ted Ballou started the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 from his seventh row qualifying position. Ballou drove extremely well handing the car over to Pumpelly who proceeded to drive to the lead. Pumpelly, coming off a win for TRG in the KONI Sports Car Challenge Series race yesterday, had another strong drive capping his one - two weekend.
jers fin "Yesterday, believe it or not, I learned a little bit from the KONI car," Pumpelly said. "We learned about how the car behaves over a stint, usually the cars are not very similar. We took a little bit of a gamble on the setup and it turned out right. Our biggest issue was with our rear tires. That issue is with the life that we get out of them. If I had to do it again, I would have put on fresh rears when we stopped the last time. I think when I took the lead I might have been a little too aggressive with the car and the tires. I was struggling there at the end. It was a great day for TRG. I think we have the points lead back."
Justin Marks started the No. 67 Porsche GT3 and had his best drive of the young season as he took the lead on lap 15. Visual problems out of the windshield did not stop the Californian as he handed co-driver Lally the lead GT car. Lally took to the track and surrendered the lead to Pumpelly, who had clear vision, and was able to hold on to a strong fourth place finish.
"I had some good racing out there today," Lally said. "We didn't have quite everything we needed with the car. I couldn't tell the guys enough to get the perfect setup today. The guys in front of me drove really well. I had a good race with Sellers there at the end. He raced me clean and I gave him everything I had. Justin did an awesome opening stint to lead the race. He is showing his talent. In such a short amount of time he came out here in a down pour and really ran well. The pit stops with the crew were all real good today. Jeff (Braun, crew chief) did a great job on strategy as well."
John Potter started the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3 from the 13th row. With a strong first stint Potter had the car on the door step of the top ten. 2005 Grand-Am GT champion Craig Stanton took over and soldiered through a foggy windshield, wiping it with one hand and driving with the other to finish eighth.
"The racing Gods made it a dirty trip today," Stanton said. "John Potter did a great opening stint. TRG and the guys did a really great job today. The guys who could see the best had the best race. We couldn't see very well, but we had a fast car. We could have won the race I believe, but the vision was sketchy. So the guys gave me a squeegee and I would have to go into the turn, give it three swipes and then downshift and turn in. We had a great setup. I think we could have driven straight to the front."
RJ Valentine, one of the New Jersey track principals, started the No. 68 Ruby Tuesday/Cabana Cachaca/F1 New Jersey/CRG/Maxter/TRG Porsche GT3 using his years of wet weather racing experience and home track knowledge to drive the car through the field from 17th at the start to run in fifth. Valentine turned the car over to ARCA RE/MAX regular Tim George Jr. who was able to run solid consistent lap times and soldier through extremely tough conditions to finish in the top ten.
"The last four or five laps the line was drying," George Jr. said. "RJ did a great job to start the race. We were a little skeptical about the setup, but it ended up working out really well and it stayed under us the whole time. I came here to get ARCA experience, but I ended up getting rain experience. This race didn't help too much with that, but I was able to get a lot of dry running in the KONI race yesterday. I am proud to pull off a top ten for TRG."
TRG team owner Kevin Buckler is happy to be leaving a soaked New Jersey with the points lead.
"What a drive by all eight of our guys," Buckler said. "Spencer and Ted did a great job. They led a bunch of laps and were there at the end to take second. Justin put in a fantastic drive first stint to lead as well in the 67 and Andy, as usual, was awesome. John Potter and Craig had a very strong run. RJ had the iron man run of the day beating some of the top drivers in the series with great lap times in the rain. We leave here with the points lead and go to Laguna Seca, which is a track we know very well."
Round four of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 17.