Thursday, February 22, 2018

TRG Wins GT at VIR: Strategy Trumps Speed

April 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Motorsport News

Alton, VA – April 25, 2010 -TRG’s Ted Ballou and Andy Lally drove the No. 66 AXA/TRG/Porsche to victory in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask no. 16 race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).

Under threatening skies the two-hour-and-forty-five minute race went the distance without the promised rain. TRG was able to take a car that qualified 11th, ran seventh and put it on the top step of the GT podium. The key to the race was a strategy call by team owner Kevin Buckler during the first caution period, which flew on lap 51. As the cars circulated and the pits opened up for GT pits stops, Buckler kept Lally on the track at the last possible moment. The result was Lally getting a wave-by and pitting on the next lap. The team performed a flawless pit stop and Lally went from seventh place to the GT lead. What followed was a battle between seasoned sportscar veterans Lally and Bill Auberlen in his BMW. Auberlen went for the pass into the last turn with two laps remaining, Lally held his line and Auberlen went off track, securing the win for TRG.

Ballou started the car and was able to make up some ground during the first stint of the race.

“Andy and the team did a great job,” Ballou said. “Early going during my stint was very straight forward racing without any yellows. The team pulled really hard and had a great strategy, absolutely incredible day. Kevin had the call of the race on that first yellow. Andy was fast and ran a smart race. The team did a fantastic job.”

Lally had a great drive and celebrated his 100th Grand-Am Rolex start with a great team win.

“Kevin made a great call,” Lally said. “He was eyes up and made a great decision. That is the way TRG runs these races. It looked like the wave-by was going to one of the DPs and Kevin was in the game and made a great call. We got the wave around, I drove hard to come back to the pits and the team did a lightning fast stop to get us out in the lead. We then had to stay in front of the BMW as long as we could. That thing was coming. Auberlen (Bill, BMW driver) was gaining a second a lap. When we got the yellow at the end I knew we had a shot at it. I have all of the respect in the world for Bill. We have raced like that in the past and I have come out on the wrong side of it. We had the car setup for the end of the race and it came to us. It gave us just enough to hold off the BMW. We by no means won the race on speed. We were down a second a lap all day, it was all strategy. If we didn’t play this out perfectly we wouldn’t have won on speed. We could have never done that lap the Mazda did in qualifying. What got us the win was 100% teamwork, a TRG trademark. It is great to be on the top podium. It was my 100th start and a great to celebrate with a win.”

Buckler was the difference maker and never turned a lap behind the wheel.

“I was glad Andy was able to win his 100th start with us,” Buckler said. “We had to win on strategy, we could have never won this race on speed. Grand-Am has a complicated system. Sometimes you have two wave-bys, the first was is easy – you follow monkey-see-monkey-do. If you get stuck out in front of the DP leader we can try and stay-out, not pit and take the wave-by again. Then we have to race around and pit and get out before the green flies. On a long track like this it can work. Mark (Raffauf race director) shortened up the situation and went GT pits open and Pace Car lights out on the same lap, which he never does. We took the gamble and it worked. It was the reason for the win. When I made the call, if we didn’t have a flawless pit stop we were cooked and the crew really delivered. It was a full team win! We need some more help by Lime Rock. I love the series, but there is a huge delta in speed.”

The Grand-Am Series will travel to Lime Rock Park for a one day event on Monday, May 31.
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 26, including the 2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT championship trophy to go along with wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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, California, near its home track of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The company’s NASCAR operation is based in Mooresville, North Carolina and competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in car No. 71 with Bobby Labonte. TRG is also developing a new state-of-the-art motorsports complex at the New Jersey Motorsports Park that should be finished in early 2011.

Source: TRG Press Release
Photo Courtesy TRG Racing