Kris Wilson drove the #07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin to a third-place finish.
On a last lap with more twists than the race track, Kris Wilson drove the #07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin to a third-place finish in Saturday's Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at the always favorite Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Wilson, a long-time instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School who knows this historic race track the way some here know corkscrews, was running fourth and showed his experience on a thrilling final lap in which he drove side-by-side for third place in the Andretti Hairpin. He stayed close until he blasted out of the final turn to win a drag race to the finish line, barely edging out Dane Cameron for the podium.
Teammate, Max Riddle, started the race and stayed steady in fourth for most of the first half when Wilson took over for his co-driver in 20th place after the team conducted its driver change during green-flag racing. But it was the last-second heroics of Wilson that had everyone on the TRG team - including owner Kevin Buckler - literally jumping for joy in the packed pit box/area.
The two drivers have a lot more in common in Laguna Seca than a trophy. Wilson taught Riddle at the Skip Barber School, so the finish at Laguna Seca was very special for both drivers.
The team's second Aston Martin, the #09 TRG-AMR Black Horse Holding, LLC car, co-driven by James Davidson and TRG-AMR newcomer Derek DeBoer, started from the 26 position and unfortunately was served a one-minute penalty, which sent the car to the back of the field. James Davison took the 09 to all the way to ninth position before contact with another car sent them to the pits to check for damage.
Kevin Buckler, CEO, TRG-AMR North America
"The team ran great. We had two cars that were probably capable of winning. That was a great pass by Chris at the end for the 07 car. Max great opening stint, kept the car in the top 5. Derek did great, especially in his first big professional race, but we had a little penalty that set us back. We fought back from the penalty, then there was a little contact outside of the corkscrew with James and another driver and that took that car out. But overall, we had two capable cars this weekend and the crew busted their butts since they've been here since Wednesday. So I'm real proud of everybody."
Kris Wilson, drivers, No. 07 TRG-AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT4
On the last lap battle:
"It was a good race with Dane. We had a couple of corners where we were side-by-side and he kind of got slowed on the last lap in the last corner by a slower car. Basically we had a drag race to the finish. It was pretty cool. It was fun."
On the pass on Turn 11:
"It was a drag race to the finish. We were side by side. I was shifting through the gears trying not to slide the tires and it worked out in the end."
Max Riddle, drivers, No. 07 TRG-AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT4
On watching that last lap:
"I was sitting in the pit box and it's more nerve racking watching Kris drive the car than it is when I'm in the car. I can't be happier for my teammate. He did an amazing drive at the end. When he went out of the pits he was 20th and he moved the car up to third. Amazing drive and great job by the whole team. Everybody kind of stuck into it to the end. It shows hard work pays. I'm very happy for TRG."
On a podium finish at Laguna Seca:
"We knew the car was going to be fast coming here. Kris has done more laps here at this place than anyone. I learned how to drive race cars here. So we were both super stoked to come here. We wish we won the race but we'll take third and it's the first podium for this new team and we're really happy with it."
James Davison, driver, #09 TRG-Aston Martin Vantage GT4
On racing hard through the CTSSC field:
"That was one of the most challenging races I've ever had. Unfortunately, I had the car handed to me a lap down and really had my work cut out for me. I ended up passing half the field, getting a wave-by and getting up into the top ten. Certainly, we had very good speed today. I had the quickest lap of the day for what it's worth. It's just a very tough task coming from behind like that. Everyone races you incredibly hard, they're blocking you and I had to be very forceful. I think ultimately what ruined the race for us was I was behind Billy Johnson when he got loose. I filled the gap then we made contact side-to-side, which got me loose and spun me. I gave it my best and sometimes that's the way it goes. It would have been nice to have gotten a result for the team in the 09, but we'll get one sooner than later."
TRG-AMR North America