TRG Wins GT at VIR - Strategy Trumps Speed Alton, VA, (April 24, 2010) - TRG's Ted Ballou and Andy Lally drove the No. 66 AXA/TRG/Porsche to victory in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask no. 16 race at ...
TRG Wins GT at VIR - Strategy Trumps Speed
Alton, VA, (April 24, 2010) - TRG's Ted Ballou and Andy Lally drove the No. 66 AXA/TRG/Porsche to victory in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask no. 16 race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) today.
TRG VIR Podium Under threatening skies the two-hour-and-forty-five minute race went the distance without the promised rain. TRG was able to take a car that qualified 11th, ran seventh and put it on the top step of the GT podium. The key to the race was a strategy call by team owner Kevin Buckler during the first caution period, which flew on lap 51. As the cars circulated and the pits opened up for GT pits stops, Buckler kept Lally on the track until the last possible moment. The result was Lally taking a second wave-by and pitting on the next lap with barely enough time to make the stop. The team performed a flawless pit stop and got Lally out ahead of the field and into the GT lead. What followed was a battle between seasoned sportscar veterans Lally and Bill Auberlen in his BMW. Auberlen went for the pass into the last turn with two laps remaining, Lally held his line and Auberlen went off track, securing the win for TRG.
Ballou started the car and was able to make up some ground during the first stint of the race.
"Andy and the team did a great job," Ballou said. "Early going during my stint was very straight forward racing without any yellows. The team pulled really hard and had a great strategy, absolutely incredible day. Kevin had the call of the race on that first yellow. Andy was fast and ran a smart race. The team did a fantastic job."
AXA 66 Takes Win Lally had a great drive and celebrated his 100th Grand-Am Rolex start with a great team win.
"Kevin made a great call," Lally said. "He was eyes up and made a great last minute decision. That is the way TRG runs these races. It looked like the wave-by was going to one of the DPs and Kevin was in the game and made a great call. We got the wave around, I drove hard to come back to the pits and the team did a lightning fast stop to get us out in the lead. We then had to stay in front of the BMW as long as we could. That thing was coming. Auberlen (Bill, BMW driver) was gaining a second a lap. When we got the yellow at the end I knew we had a shot at it. I have all of the respect in the world for Bill. We have raced like that in the past and I have come out on the wrong side of it. We by no means won the race on speed. We were down a second a lap all day, it was all strategy. If we didn't play this out perfectly we could never have won on speed. We could have never done that lap the Mazda did in qualifying. What got us the win was 100% teamwork, a TRG trademark. It is great to be on the top podium. It was my 100th start and a great to celebrate with a win."
KB dime 2 Buckler was the difference maker and never turned a lap behind the wheel.
"I was glad Andy was able to win his 100th start with us," Buckler said. "We had to win on strategy, we could have never won this race on speed. Grand-Am has a sometimes complex system. Sometimes you have multiple wave-bys, the first one is easy - you follow monkey-see-monkey-do. The second one is harder to call. We took the gamble and it worked. It helped secure the win, but it definitely wasn't the only reason. When I made the call, if we didn't have a flawless pit stop we were cooked and the crew really delivered. Ted and Andy had to be perfect all day and they were. It was a full team win, but unfortunately NOT one we would have secured in a straight up fight. We need some more help by Lime Rock. Grand-Am promises good, close racing and parity and that is why TRG came here. The system needs fixing right now. I love the series, but there is a huge delta in speed. Most importantly I am glad to deliver the win for AXA. We just announced our new partnership and this is a great way to start it off."
The Grand-Am Series will travel to Lime Rock Park for a one day event on Monday, May 31.