Andy Lally and TRG Have Inspiring NASCAR Busch SeriesDebut Lally and No. 47 Clorox/TRG/Ford 29th at Montreal Montreal, Quebec -- Andy Lally drove a truly inspiring first race behind the wheel of the No. 47 Clorox/TRG/Wood Brothers/JTG Racing...
Andy Lally and TRG Have Inspiring NASCAR Busch SeriesDebut
Lally and No. 47 Clorox/TRG/Ford 29th at Montreal
Montreal, Quebec -- Andy Lally drove a truly inspiring first race behind the wheel of the No. 47 Clorox/TRG/Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford Fusion yesterday in the NASCAR Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Lally ran as high as sixth with an opportunity to win, unfortunately his race ended early due to transmission failure classifying the team in 29th place.
Strong practice times throughout the running on Thursday and Friday had Lally as high second, he had the team's hopes heading into Saturday's qualifying. Based on his practice speed Lally was in group eight of nine. The groups are determined by yesterday's practice times and the categories hit the track from slowest down to fastest. Lally put in a time of 1:43.361, good for thirteenth place and a seventh row start in the 43 car field.
"The qualifying run was very similar to the simulated qualifying attempt in yesterday's practice," Lally said. "The car was a little loose in the rear and then it started to come in. When it did come in I was on a fast lap and came upon a car doing his in lap, so that cost me a couple of tenths. A thirteenth place is in the top third of the field so I am o.k. with that effort. We would have liked to have been in the top ten."
Lally went away from the grid from the seventh row and tried to get his race rhythm when on lap three bad luck interrupted his song. Ron Hornaday spun in the hairpin turn and then tried to recover by doing a smoky doughnut and hit the right front of the No. 47 Clorox/TRG Ford. That resulted in a flat tire, forcing Lally to pit lane.
"Hornaday spun and then tried to recover with a doughnut and hit me," Lally said. "I saw him spinning and tried to go to the outside to avoid him and that is where he ended up. I had to stop and bang he hit me. The guys did a good job to get a new tire on and get me back in the race on the lead lap."
When Lally pitted the crew was slapped with a pit lane infraction and had do a stop-and-go. The team took advantage of the respite to fill the 47 with gas. This resulted in the car going down a lap. Good strategy, strong pit work and heads-up driving by Lally got the team back into contention.
What looked like bad luck earlier, was turned into opportunity by crew chief Scott Zippadelli. Lally only had to pit one more time for tires and fuel to make it to the end. The team took that opportunity on lap 39. Lally returned to the fray in 19th place. As the rest of the field began to cycle through their stops, Lally and the 47 headed to the front. By lap 52, with 23 laps remaining, the Wood Brothers team had Lally in a great position for the finish with the car in sixth place and the team talking win. On the restart of the third caution of the race, Lally got a good jump and then in turn three the car jumped out of second gear and began to lose third as well. On lap 66 Lally pitted the car with transmission fluid leaking from the rear ending the team's run.
"The whole team did a great job today," Lally continued. "We had some bad luck early, went down a lap and then came back. Scott and the guys had the strategy down and we were in an excellent position after that third caution. We were in a position to be in the thick of the fight for the win in sixth place. I went into turn one and everything was fine. At the exit of turn two it jumped out of gear and then I tried second into three and it wasn't there any more. I then soon lost third and then smelled smoke and that was it. "
"For our first race together and my first in NASCAR it was a great experience. Clorox, TRG and Adobe Road gave me a great opportunity to be successful. I can't be disappointed with the day we had. The finish of the race was great. I wish I was out there in the thick of it. The good thing is we get a chance to redeem ourselves in exactly seven days."
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, was proud of his driver and the TRG/Wood Brothers/JTG team today.
"Great first event," Buckler said. "We came with a measured approach to the weekend. Andy made steady progress with the car all three days. He was never worse than eighth in practice. The Wood Brothers/JTG crew prepared an excellent car. The race was really coming back to us after the early trouble on lap three. Andy kept his cool and never gave up. He was patient and the team went to work to make up track position. At the end we had him in position for an excellent finish and the transmission let us down. We will take this positive experience to Watkins Glen next weekend, where Andy has won the last four races he has run there and hopefully add a fifth."
"All together as a total team effort with TRG, our marketing partners and the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing family we had a great experience at Montreal," Buckler added. "This is really only the start for our group. The performance that Andy put forth behind the wheel, was not really a surprise to us, we know he is a fast, smart driver. This only makes us thirsty for more success on the NASCAR level as a total team unit. TRG and its partners used this first Busch event to show what can be done and what we can do on this level. We came away from Montreal with a list of things to work on with the team as well as with our presence in NASCAR and we will improve on both fronts. This is just the beginning!"