Following an encouraging debut season in the Camping World Truck Series, TRG Motorsports will take a leap up the NASCAR ladder to the Sprint Cup Series in 2009, fielding a car for veteran racer Mike Wallace in the Daytona 500. The Kevin ...
Following an encouraging debut season in the Camping World Truck Series, TRG Motorsports will take a leap up the NASCAR ladder to the Sprint Cup Series in 2009, fielding a car for veteran racer Mike Wallace in the Daytona 500.
The Kevin Buckler-led team has formed a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, which will include the use of an ex-RCR Chevrolet Impala SS for the Feb. 15 event. However, Wallace will have to race his way into the season-oprning first, as more than 55 entries are expected to compete for the 43 starting positions in "The Great American Race."
"We know we have a lot in front of us because we'll have to race our way in," Buckler said. "There's probably only going to be seven spots. We can fall flat on our face, but we're going to give it our best shot. We put all the best components in place to make this race and to try and race here."
Wallace is considered to be a master of superspeedway racing, having posted impressive runs at the restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega in the past. He also boasts three wins at "The World Center of Racing," including the inaugural Truck Series event in 2000. Wallace's know how, coupled with veteran crew chief Butch Hylton, could prove to be a formidable combination.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with TRG Motorsports in regard to their new Sprint Cup effort," Wallace said. "With all of the success that they've had in road racing and the championship caliber organization that they've put together on the NASCAR side, I'm really excited about he opportunity to race for them at Daytona. They are true racers and that's the type of group that I want to be associate with."
TRG made its first foray into NASCAR in late 2007 with a limited Truck Series program followed by a two-truck full-season assault last season, in which Donny Lia scored a breakthrough win. The team plans to return with two Trucks in 2009, along with a full-season program in ARCA, both aligned with Kevin Harvick Racing.
But the TRG has been known for its success in sportscar racing, having won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with championships in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Bucker's team is seeking its third Rolex 24 crown this weekend as it fields five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in the twice-around-the-clock marathon.
"The two programs to me are very adjoined," Buckler said of the connection between his Grand-Am and NASCAR programs. "We couldn't do what we're doing without our 15 years of hard racing in sportscars and Grand-Am. And now that the NASCAR family is overseeing both of them, I'm real proud to make this move into the Sprint Cup."
Buckler said he hopes to field his Cup car in additional races this season, possibly with team regular Andy Lally in the two road course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen in the summer.