The Salt Lake City 200 at Miller Motorsports Park of Tooele Utah marked the penultimate round of the 2009 Grand-Am Koni Challenge season, and for the TRG team a return to the site of a dramatic podium for the 39 car one year ago. While the dramatic daylight-to-darkness run between the mountains did not deliver a repeat of 2008′s success for our Porsche squad, thanks to a last lap pass by Spencer Pumpelly we came away with a 9th place result, our 7th top 10 finish in 10 races, and once again were the “best in class” as the highest finishing Porsche behind the more powerful BMW M3s and Ford Mustangs.
The event started out well for the DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Racer’s Roast Coffee/TRG Porsche 997 as Spencer set the fastest time of the day around the 4.5 miles track on Thursday’s test day. On Friday I struggled with the car’s set up in the heat of the day, but came good for qualifying, slotting into the 4th position for the start, the outside of the second row. Unfortunately, from the drop of the green flag, we found ourselves at the mercy of the V8 powered cars around us. Unable to make up ground in traffic through the winding portions of the track, we helplessly watched the competition power past us down the long front straight.
While the result doesn’t show it, the the team performed beautifully throughout the race, with a brilliantly executed pit stop picking up several positions at the mid-point of the race. Next week’s season finale 4 hour endurance race at Virginia International Raceway should play to the strengths of both our Porsches and the talents of our team members as we look to finish out season on a high.
The Salt Lake City 200 will be televised Saturday, October 3 at 1:30 PM EST on SpeedTV.
07-26-2009 â†’ Ende and Pumpelly Bring Home 4th Place in Alabama!
TRG’s KONI Sports Car Challenge cars finished fourth and seventh in the Grand-Am support race at Barber Motorsports Park. Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly led the TRG charge with a fourth place finish.
The 2.3-mile, 16-turn rolling road course located just east of Birmingham produced no cautions the entire two-hour-and-thirty-minute race. Duncan Ende started the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Racer’s Roast Coffee/ TRG Porsche 997 from his seventh place qualifying position, the best for a Porsche. Surrounded by big V-8 iron at the start Ende drove up to fourth place at the exchange with Pumpelly. Pumpelly was able to make it to the finish on the tank fuel for his stint securing a strong fourth place on the day.
“I had a pretty good start,” Ende said. “We were the highest qualifying Porsche by a long way, which meant everyone around us had a lot more horsepower. The start was satisfying. I managed to get by a couple of the BMWs and was chasing the top three guys. The car went a little funky on me towards the end of my stint and I lost a little bit of ground. We were the best of the rest today, the first car without a big V-8 under the hood. It was a good points day.”
“We had a really good car at the end,” Pumpelly said. “I am not sure if the lap times reflected it, I was able to run down anyone in front of me and pass them. This was a really good job by the TRG guys. The car was great and the pit stop was flawless. The team is really hooked-up and all of the mechanics and strategist were really on this weekend.”
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, was hoping for a win today, but had no help from the officials.
“We had 20 cars in the field and no ST cars,” Buckler said. “With a small field everyone tends to get spread out around the track and there is no incidents to cause cautions. Without that it is tough for our little Porsches to make up track position against the big V-8s. Duncan did a fantastic job in qualifying and was able to improve his position with a solid opening stint. Spencer just couldn’t move up when everyone was spread out. We had a good day with both cars finishing in the top seven.”
The KONI Challenge Sports Car Series will travel to Circuit Trois-RiviÃ¨res in Quebec, Canada for round nine to be run on August 16.