Millville, NJ — TRG's Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly won Saturdays running of the Garden State 250 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Series GS race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
In the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes/Racer's Roast Coffee/TRG Porsche 997 Duncan Ende started the weekend off right by putting the 997 on the front row in qualifying. In the race Ende turned fast and consistent laps to keep the Porsche upfront, handing the car over to Pumpelly in prime position. The keys to the race win was Ende's qualifying position and early race pace, the strategy call by team owner Kevin Buckler to refuel early and take left side only tires. Pumpelly sealed the deal by driving flawlessly and passing the No. 91 for the lead and taking the victory.
"I had a really good stint," Ende said. "I was able to get a good start, even though I was on lined up on the outside. I was able to avoid any type of carnage in the first couple of corners. I was running second pretty comfortably the first ten minutes or so. Then I got boxed by some ST traffic coming on the straight-away and then I lost a few spots. I settled in after that and ran consistent laps. I was able to maintain a gap and gave it to Spencer who ran a great race to bring it home in first place."
"We originally thought that the 91 was going to have to pit for gas," Pumpelly said. "Then Kevin came on the radio and said maybe they won't. I then had to get a little more aggressive, I was able to get a run on him and get by. TRG did an awesome job the last pit stop. It was super fast, we got on and off pit road the best we have all season. I think that was more than the four second gap than we won with, I really have to hand it to them. Duncan did a great first stint and they helped with those four seconds as well."
The race was the opposite for John Potter and Andy Lally in the No. 41 Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche 997. Potter started the race and handed over to Lally on lap 24. Lally proceeded to run in tandem with Pumpelly until lap 45 when the Porsche lost power, ending the day for the duo.
"We took a big points hit today," Lally said. "I was just cruising along following Spencer to the front when it just let go. No real warning, it just quit. That is a tough way to go when we have had two good races and almost won at Homestead in the last race. We will pick ourselves up and be ready to race tomorrow in the GT event."
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, had a near perfect race with the No. 39.
"That was a great race," Buckler said. "Duncan did an excellent job to set the tone for the team in qualifying yesterday by having us start on the front row. He did a great job at the beginning and then Spencer brought it home. We made the right calls in the pits, our pit stops were really good and the win is a great reward for this team. This was a long time coming and well deserved. John Potter was also a superstar today with his stellar first stint. I am sorry for John and Andy, but those guys will come back stronger than ever."
The KONI Challenge Sports Car Challenge Series race from New Jersey Motorsports Park will be televised on the SPEED Channel, tape delayed, on May 9 at 12:00 p.m.
After a great win on Saturday, TRG took second in class, and ninth overall.
TRG's Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly finished second in Sundays running of the Grand-Am Rolex Series Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. With the finish, Ballou and Pumpelly assume the GT championship points lead. The whole team had a great day with the other three entries finishing in the top ten as well.
The race started under a torrential down pour with the first caution flying before the first lap was completed. Justin Marks in the No. 67 Construct Corp/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3 put in a brilliant drive and took over the lead on lap 15, sixth overall. Marks led up to lap 21 when he handed the green and black Porsche to co-driver Andy Lally. As the pit stops shuffled through, Lally was able to return to the track in the lead and drove a strong second stint. On lap 47, when he was passed by teammate Spencer Pumpelly who then proceeded to lead 17 laps until his rear tires started to go off and had to settle for second place.
Ted Ballou started the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 from his seventh row qualifying position. Ballou drove extremely well handing the car over to Pumpelly who proceeded to drive to the lead. Pumpelly, coming off a win for TRG in the KONI Sports Car Challenge Series race yesterday, had another strong drive capping his one - two weekend.
"Yesterday, believe it or not, I learned a little bit from the KONI car," Pumpelly said. "We learned about how the car behaves over a stint, usually the cars are not very similar. We took a little bit of a gamble on the setup and it turned out right. Our biggest issue was with our rear tires. That issue is with the life that we get out of them. If I had to do it again, I would have put on fresh rears when we stopped the last time. I think when I took the lead I might have been a little too aggressive with the car and the tires. I was struggling there at the end. It was a great day for TRG. I think we have the points lead back."
Justin Marks started the No. 67 Porsche GT3 and had his best drive of the young season as he took the lead on lap 15. Visual problems out of the windshield did not stop the Californian as he handed co-driver Lally the lead GT car. Lally took to the track and surrendered the lead to Pumpelly, who had clear vision, and was able to hold on to a strong fourth place finish.
"I had some good racing out there today," Lally said. "We didn't have quite everything we needed with the car. I couldn't tell the guys enough to get the perfect setup today. The guys in front of me drove really well. I had a good race with Sellers there at the end. He raced me clean and I gave him everything I had. Justin did an awesome opening stint to lead the race. He is showing his talent. In such a short amount of time he came out here in a down pour and really ran well. The pit stops with the crew were all real good today. Jeff (Braun, crew chief) did a great job on strategy as well."
John Potter started the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3 from the 13th row. With a strong first stint Potter had the car on the door step of the top ten. 2005 Grand-Am GT champion Craig Stanton took over and soldiered through a foggy windshield, wiping it with one hand and driving with the other to finish eighth.
"The racing Gods made it a dirty trip today," Stanton said. "John Potter did a great opening stint. TRG and the guys did a really great job today. The guys who could see the best had the best race. We couldn't see very well, but we had a fast car. We could have won the race I believe, but the vision was sketchy. So the guys gave me a squeegee and I would have to go into the turn, give it three swipes and then downshift and turn in. We had a great setup. I think we could have driven straight to the front."
RJ Valentine, one of the New Jersey track principals, started the No. 68 Ruby Tuesday/Cabana Cachaca/F1 New Jersey/CRG/Maxter/TRG Porsche GT3 using his years of wet weather racing experience and home track knowledge to drive the car through the field from 17th at the start to run in fifth. Valentine turned the car over to ARCA RE/MAX regular Tim George Jr. who was able to run solid consistent lap times and soldier through extremely tough conditions to finish in the top ten.
"The last four or five laps the line was drying," George Jr. said. "RJ did a great job to start the race. We were a little skeptical about the setup, but it ended up working out really well and it stayed under us the whole time. I came here to get ARCA experience, but I ended up getting rain experience. This race didn't help too much with that, but I was able to get a lot of dry running in the KONI race yesterday. I am proud to pull off a top ten for TRG."
TRG team owner Kevin Buckler is happy to be leaving a soaked New Jersey with the points lead.
"What a drive by all eight of our guys," Buckler said. "Spencer and Ted did a great job. They led a bunch of laps and were there at the end to take second. Justin put in a fantastic drive first stint to lead as well in the 67 and Andy, as usual, was awesome. John Potter and Craig had a very strong run. RJ had the iron man run of the day beating some of the top drivers in the series with great lap times in the rain. We leave here with the points lead and go to Laguna Seca, which is a track we know very well."
Round four of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 17.
TRG was founded in 1993 and has been competing at the top level of motor racing ever since. The team has the most wins of any team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with 27, including the 2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT championship trophy to go along with wins at the Rolex 24 (three) at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. TRG's young KONI Challenge team has logged two wins and recorded seven podium finishes in their first two seasons of competition.
TRG is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance racing parts. The group specializes in engine and chassis tuning as well as full service professional race car preparation. The company also provides electrical and mechanical engineering services, driver development and arrive-and-drive opportunities. TRG is based in Petaluma, Calif., near its home track of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The company's NASCAR operation is based in Mooresville, North Carolina with a new state-of-the-art facility coming on-line at New Jersey Motorsports Park in late 2009.
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