Wednesday
Jun272007

TEAM NEWS: VICTORY COUNT MOUNTS AS TRG WINS AT MID-OHIO - THIRD WIN OVERALL

Photo by John Thawley LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 24, 2007) -- Team TRG showed its collective muscle by claiming a dominant win in the Rolex Series GT-class as well as a second-place finish in the Koni Challenge GS division at this weekend's EMCO Gears Classic. The scenic Ohio-countryside venue was Round Nine of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

TRG drivers RJ Valentine and Andy Lally piloted the No. 66 CRG Porsche GT3 entry to a commanding win on the twisting Mid-Ohio road course for their third GT-class victory of the 2007 campaign and third title in the past four races. Including recent wins at Watkins Glen and Laguna Seca, TRG becomes the first three-time GT-class winner this season.

Lining up 23rd on the starting grid, RJ Valentine took the green flag and then took advantage of an early race full course caution to execute a driver change and hand the controls over to Lally. With numerous Mid-Ohio wins to his credit, Lally utilized his experience on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course to methodically pick-off a succession of contenders and climb into the Top-10 within the first 30-minutes of the two-and-a-half hour long endurance race.

With the precision of a surgeon, Lally carved his way through the lead pack to secure second-place near mid-point of the race and proceeded to shadow then-leader Leighton Reese in the No. 06 Banner Racing entry.JLally would make his move for the lead with a decisive Turn-7 pass around Reese on lap 61.

Lally led the final 32 laps, at one point by as much as 37-seconds, until a late race full course caution would bunch up the leaders. Lally was the class of the field however, controlling the final six minutes of the race to post a 1.195-second margin of victory over the No.70 SpeedSource entry of second-place finisher Sylvain Tremblay.

"We had no radio with 20 minutes to go, but TRG again gave us the best car in the field," said Lally, who led a race-high 34 laps averaging 84.297 mph. "My guys did a super phenomenal job in getting everything going. This is win number three this year and we're moving up in the points."

Valentine explained that his role heading into this race did not differ from any other this season. "Our strategy is always that I get out on the first yellow," Valentine said. "Today it came early and we stuck with our strategy. Look, at my age I am just happy to be here racing against such great and talented guys. The older I get, the better I was. I know I am not as quick as these guys, but I also know what my job is and I love it. Every Monday morning after a race I pinch myself because being part of TRG and racing with these guys is a dream come true."

"What an unbelievable weekend," said TRG team owner Kevin Buckler. "A second in yesterday's Koni Challenge and a fantastic victory for the No. 66 car with RJ and Andy is just incredible. The effort by the entire team was flawless. RJ drove great all weekend and as the closer, Andy really took it to 'em."

In climbing from 23rd starting spot to the first-place finish, Valentine and Lally claim the SunTrust Improve Your Position Award. With the win, the pair jumps to a second-place tie in the GT championship -- only seven points out of the lead. The win also bolsters TRG's claim of being the winningest team in Grand-Am history with 23.

A victim of some bad racing luck was the TRG No. 67 NETTS/Louis Boston Porsche GT3 entry of Spencer Pumpelly and Mark Greenberg. The driver duo were running in a strong third-place and were in-line for a likely podium finish when a broken shift cable ended their day after 79 laps and relegated them to a 15th-place finish.

"Mark and Spencer were fantastic all weekend and the car was nearly perfect," stated Buckler. "I really enjoy working with both of them and was so hoping for their first podium finish for TRG this year.JWe have a few more races left and I know we can do it."

Rounding out TRG's three-car charge was the No. 65 Maxwell Paper Products Porsche GT3 driven by teammates Dan Dileo and Ross Smith. It was a tough weekend for the No. 65 car with a couple trips to the gravel trap and some minor contact. Overall, Smith and Dileo persevered to finish in 16th-place.

"I'm looking forward to working closely with Dan and Ross so we can put them back on the podium like we did at Laguna Seca," said Buckler.

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