TRG Porsches set for Season Finale at Miller Pumpelly qualifies third No. 66 Porsche TOOELE, Utah - TRG drivers Spencer Pumpelly, Tim George Jr. and Josemanuel Gutierrez qualified third, ninth and 21st,...
TRG Porsches set for Season Finale at Miller
Pumpelly qualifies third
No. 66 Porsche TOOELE, Utah - TRG drivers Spencer Pumpelly, Tim George Jr. and Josemanuel Gutierrez qualified third, ninth and 21st, respectively, for today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series SunRichGourmet.com 1000k season finale at Miller Motorsports Park.
The weather conditions during Friday's 15-minute GT qualifying were less than ideal for laying down a quick lap. In fact, the combination of a light steady rain and nearly 10 mph winds played a significant role in how the drivers had to negotiate certain turns on the 4.486-mile, 24-turn road course. While some parts of the track were dry, others were quite slick, making things difficult.
However, despite the changing weather conditions, Pumpelly turned his fastest lap, with a 2:55.203 (92.177 mph), on his very last circuit around North America's longest track. Thanks to his efforts, he will start on the inside of Row 2 in the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber/AXA Insurance Porsche GT3. Pumpelly will co-drive with Ted Ballou and Bryan Sellers. Ballou is currently second in the Bob Akin Award standings and third in the Rookie of the Year points.
"I was real fortunate there, the conditions were terrible," Pumpelly said. "The first couple guys who went out were able to get a couple of corners clean and they were able to take advantage and the times showed it. But, as it started to dry, I was one of the last cars to go through on the last lap. I caught some traffic in the last two corners. A top three is good for the TRG guys. The guys have been working really hard this weekend. We have Bryan Sellers and Ted Ballou, so we have three good guys on this team and good crew, so what can wrong?"
George, the MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year point leader, will start ninth in the No. 67 Cabana Cachaca/Tantra South Beach/johnnie-o clothing TRG Porsche GT3 after turning a lap of 2:58.795 (90.325 mph). George is paired with three-time Rolex Series champion Andy Lally and Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. George and Lally, who are coming off a win at New Jersey Motorsports Park three weeks ago, look to replicate that effort this weekend with Long's help.
"It was interesting during qualifying," George said. "The first half of the first lap was dry and then it went to wet. We chose to go on stickers. I was originally thinking scuffs, I am kind of glad we went with the stickers. I got a safety lap in at the beginning and my last lap was my fastest. I am happy with my time and that I'm starting in the top 10 - in ninth. We have the dream team here with Andy Lally and Pat Long and I am looking forward to bringing home the MESCO Building for the Future rookie award."
After turning a qualifying time of 3:18.058 (81.540 mph), Gutierrez will roll off the starting grid from the 11th row tomorrow in the No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total-R Insulation Solutions Porsche GT3 for TRG/Riegel Autosport. Gutierrez will share the No. 65 machine with John Potter, who is from nearby Salt Lake City, and 2005 Rolex Series GT champion Craig Stanton.
"It was crazy," Gutierrez said. "I had some bad luck in qualifying. When I went out, I got my tries warmed up and then the rain began and it was very slippery. I was the first one to get the checkered flag and then the track developed a dry line. I was not able to do anything, so we are starting way back. But, we have seven hours to make it back to the front. So, we'll see what we can do."
"Qualifying was a little goofy today," team owner Kevin Buckler said. "It really was a matter of where you were on the track at what time. It was raining, it wasn't raining, it's raining on different parts of the track and some people were able to benefit from it and some people were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It really was not indicative of anyone's speed or performance. We are happy with the cars and everyone feels good for the race tomorrow."
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series SunRichGourmet.com 1000k will start at 11:08 a.m. MT. SPEED will air the race live, in its entirety, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch live timing and scoring at www.grand-am.com.