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TRG Puts Positive Spin on Road America as Team Descends Next on Baltimore

Elkhart Lake, WI (August 20) - The key to any successful team or business is being able to see the positives whenever things don’t quite go the way they were drawn up.  That was the case Saturday with TRG and team owner Kevin Buckler at the American Le Mans Series' Road Race Showcase at Road America.

The weekend began with the team of Spencer Pumpelly and Emilio DiGuida posting the fastest time in class in the first practice session in their No. 66 Venezuela/Avior/Solar Cargo Porsche 911 GT3 cup race car.  The race started a bit differently.

"We had quite and up and down weekend," said Buckler. "We had a great start with a P1 in the first practice, and then we went in the wrong direction with a few of the changes we made for the second practice and qualifying.  But by the time we got to the green flag, we had a great car.  We were ready to rock it."

And then things came to a screeching halt. Literally.   As opening stint driver Pumpelly was getting on the gas as the green flag waived, the No. 31 car in front of him checked up.  Pumpelly could not avoid contact and was forced into the pits for repairs.

"I guess he just failed to recognize the green," said Pumpelly. 

The team lost nearly 45 minutes in the garage and almost 20 laps before it re-entered the contest.  Pumpelly continued and then handed off to DiGuida who did a double stint, turning his fastest time of the race in his second stint.

"Everyone did great to get us back and going," said Buckler.  "Emilio played the iron man role with a strong double stint, and the crew worked really really hard to put us in a situation where we could get points.  I was very proud of everyone.  We just had a few unfortunate things happen, but some days are like that.  I watched the in-car and all the cars went hard at the start, except 1---the one in front of us.   In the end, we move on with chins high and take two cars to Baltimore with one thing in mind - winning and a pair of podiums."

The Baltimore Grand Prix will again feature a classic street course race downtown around the Inner Harbor.  Qualifying will be at 5:10 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 31 with the race slated for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, September 1.

 

TRG to Tackle Legendary Road America Road Race Showcase

PETALUMA, CA (August 16) - Road America is one of North America's most legendary road courses. This Saturday at the 4.048-mile road circuit, TRG goes after a bit of legend making, seeking to place itself squarely in the middle of the American Le Mans Series GTC class championship.

Venezuelan driving ace Emilio DiGuida teams with veteran Spencer Pumpelly driving the Venezuela/Avior/Solar Cargo No. 66 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car as TRG  attempts to close the gap in a championship points race that is beginning to resemble the team's run from a year ago when its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car reeled off four wins and a second place finish during a six-race mid-season run that put the team in the hunt for a championship. 

"We seem to be hitting our mid-season stride again," said team owner Kevin Buckler. "Emilio and Spencer have experience driving together by now, and both have run well here at Road America in the past.  This one is a four-hour race, so patience will be important as will strategy.  The entire crew has really come together the last couple of races.  I feel like the team has gelled and we're making our move at one of my favorite tracks on the circuit."

TRG won outright at Laguna Seca and Mosport this year, also earning first place points at the most recent race at Mid-Ohio. With four races remaining, TRG sits in second place in GTC class by a mere 11 points and with three of the four final races being a longer length, it will create opportunities for higher point totals.

"I'm looking forward to being back in the car with Emilio," said Pumpelly.  "We had an awesome run at Mosport.  This is one of my favorite road courses, and I'm eager to stretch it out for four hours. Anything can happen, but this is a great course for road racers, and we're ready."

"I have gotten more and more confident with each race," said DiGuida.  "And since I've driven Road America before, I know what I am facing.  I have a great co-driver and a great team, so I'm thinking very much that we can win here."

TRG qualifies Friday at 4:35p.m. ET, carried live on ESPN3.  Green flag for the Road America Road Race Showcase is Saturday 3:00p.m. ET, carried live on ESPN3.com . ESPN2 will rebroadcast on Sunday 2:00 p.m. ET.
 

TRG Grabs First Place Points at Mid-Ohio ...Amid Confusion

67_ARW_ALMSPETALUMA, CA (August 6) - TRG came away with everything it wanted in its quest to close the points race for the GTC championship in the American Le Mans Series Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course ... well ... almost.  While the Northern California team came away with first place points to close unofficially to within 11 points of the class lead, the No. 66 B+ Adobe Road Winery Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Spencer Pumpelly and Al Carter finished second behind the No. 11 JDX car.

Confused?  You weren't the only one. As Pumpelly battled Jeroen Bleekemolen for the outright lead and win, IMSA, the sanctioning body for the ALMS, reported that the minimum drive time was not met by the opening driver of the #11 car.   Initially, it disqualified the JDX entry, then after review of rules language, reinstituted it as the winner of the race but declared that first place points would go to TRG. 

"The way the race developed with so few cautions," said Pumpelly, "we ended up having to do two full stops under green, while the No. 11 used a different 'strategy' to go for the win. Fortunately, we ended up with the all-important first place points which keeps us in the hunt for the championship."

Carter started the race from the number three GTC position and battled to keep TRG in position to go after the win. 

"The car was good," said Carter. "The crew was great. Spencer did a fantastic job, and I'm really happy that in my first ALMS race I was able to help TRG get first place points and move closer to a the class lead."

TRG's next ALMS race is August 18th at Road America in a four-hour endurance race where points become more plentiful than in the standard 2 hour 45 minute sprint race. 

"Our goal every year is to run for a championship and win races and today was a great day," said Buckler. "Al did a ROCKIN' job of leading off the race and kept pace with the leaders and put us in position.  Spencer went out and closed the deal and we are zeroing in on the championship lead.    We've had great success in the ALMS over the year and with 3 first place points over the last 4 events and our track record at Road America, we are squarely focused on that end. There are some very good teams in GTC class, so it won't be an easy task, but everyone on the team knows what our mission is and everyone is working to accomplish that."

Last Updated (Friday, 10 August 2012 15:38)

 

TRG Goes for Second in a Row at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge

PETALUMA, CA (August 3) - TRG goes for a "two-fer" two in a row this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH.  The team won here a year ago while also capturing the last American Le Mans Series race this season at Mosport two weeks ago.

"It would be great to win here two years in a row," said Kevin Buckler, "and to reel in back-to-back wins this year would really give us some great momentum going into the last portion of the ALMS schedule. With this week's race being live on ABC, it is a big stage on which to showcase TRG."

Driving the BePositive.org / Adobe Road Winery No. 66 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup  car will be veteran Spencer Pumpelly and co-pilot Al Carter.  Last year, Pumpelly pulled a trifecta with an amazing performance that not only included a class win but also the pole position and fastest lap of the race. 

"I like this track," said Pumpelly with a gleam in his eye.  "It's a racer's track with an interesting mix of turns and passing zones, but one where you need to be careful or you'll get into trouble in a hurry.  I'm really looking forward to driving with Al.  He did a great job for us earlier this year at Watkins Glen, and I know he's excited about his ALMS debut."

Carter is a two-time Skip Barber Masters Champion with nine career wins.  He has been a top competitor since 2010 in the Continental Tires Series. Earlier this season, Carter drove with TRG at Watkins Glen.

"I am really fired up about this week," said Carter.  "Mid-Ohio is a great place to race.  TRG always comes prepared and with great cars.  Spencer is a one of the best teammates anyone could want.  I'd love to help these guys knock down back-to-back wins."

With five races left, TRG has now moved into second place in the GTC class championship race.

"We were in this same position last year," said Buckler, "and we made a real run at the championship. That's always our goal - to win a championship.  We have the team, crew, and drivers to make that happen.  This race is obviously a very important next step.  Having Al teamed with Spencer gives us a great chance."

Qualifying for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge is live Friday at 12:15 p.m. EDT on ESPN3.com while ABC airs the race live on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
 

Oh No! - What a Finish at The Brickyard!

PETALUMA, CA (July 29) - Friday's inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix had enough drama for anyone.  First there was the weather.  It stormed.  Then it didn't.  Then it stormed again.  Then it didn't.  Wets?  Slicks?  Who has best perfected the art of racing in the rain?

TRG's two-car Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car effort of Ben Keating and Jörg Bergmeister (No. 66) and Eliseo Salazar and Eduardo Costabal (No. 64) made it an exciting day as both cars slip-slided away at times early on the slippery road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In the end, however, the AGUNSA/ CCNI/ La Tercera No. 64 duo of Salazar and Costabal continued to earn accolades from team owner Kevin Buckler for their grit, determination and steady performance, while the No. 66 car with Keating driving the treacherous opening stint and Bergmeister driving the closing stint, damn near pulled the rabbit out of the hat with a stunning driving performance.

With less than five minutes remaining in the caution-filled race, Bergmeister had worked the Port Lavaca/Forgeline No. 66 into fourth place.  The four leading cars were nose-to-tail with only seconds separating them and the 66 car had just turned the fastest lap of the race.  Bergmeister was on a tear and headed to the front.

Bergmeister executed a brilliant pass on the 3rd place No.59 Brumos Porsche driven by Leh Keen on the outside of Turn Six. Unfortunately, the No. 59 slid slightly up into the back end of Bergmeister and sent him spinning into the gravel, ending the teams run for the win and the exciting end of the race.

Comments from the drivers and team owner Kevin Buckler about the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix.

Bergmeister: "I really thought we had a chance to make a run at it.  We pitted earlier than most for our final stop but caught some cautions to conserve fuel, and the tires were holding up.  When the No. 70 car got by the No. 59 (with about five minutes left in the race), I just followed and thought I was by him.  I tried to give him room but got hit and I ended up in the gravel pit.  I felt bad because we had a really good car today.  Ben did a great job in the opening stint, and the race was really coming to us.  I thought we could have had at least a podium today."

Keating: "It was great to be at Indy, although starting mid-pack in the rain was crazy.  I love racing in the rain, but I never got comfortable for some reason.  I was excited to watch Jorg work.  He is amazing.  He had a podium in the bag.  Even though we got knocked out by an over-aggressive No. 59, it was fun to compete out front.  We played our cards right.  We were in the hunt in the closing laps, and that is really all you can ask for.  It was awesome."

Salazar: "It was a pretty eventful race for me from the beginning.   I got in trouble for jumping the start.  Everyone was going so slow in the rain, so I started with an early stop and go.   I caught up, passed 6 or 7 guys and then ended up in a gravel trap and lost a few laps.   When Eduardo got in, he got caught in one of those rain bursts and he really hasn't driven much under those conditions.  I was happy that I was able to turn my fastest lap in my final stint.  This is a great track - my favorite - and I really enjoyed being back."

Costabal: "I am very proud of my first year with TRG.   It was my first time with a real race team, and with TRG I got the chance to race at some of the most important tracks in the world - Daytona, Watkins Glen and Indianapolis - and with the best drivers and the best team.  I appreciate all the TRG crew and all they were able to teach me.   And I appreciate Eliseo asking me to drive with him.  It's a real honor to drive with someone like him who has such a great history in racing."

Buckler: "The Brickyard is a very special place in motorsports history and we almost created some history of our own today.  We were on our way to a great finish.  It's a shame that the No. 59  got into Jorg and put him in the gravel trap. Ben was super in his opening stint and had to deal with an unbelievably challenging situation with the crazy weather.  I mean it was intense!!!.. and he did a great job."  

"I continue to be more and more impressed with Eliseo and Eduardo every race.  They have a great understanding of what it takes to compete in a very talented sportscar field, especially with Eliseo's background.  Eduardo has been a rock through these three amazing races and improved at every turn.  I really believe that if these guys had the chance to run every race, they would continue to challenge more and more.  They are just so solid and keep doing all the right things on track that it takes to succeed."
 
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