TRG’s Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly fought back from some early race troubles to finish third in the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Verizon Wireless Festival of Speed race run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today. It is the second podium in three weeks for the duo who won the last race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Ende started the race in the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Racer’s Roast Coffee/TRG Porsche 997 from his second row qualifying position. At the start Ende was reporting handling problems and pitted on lap 15. On the next pit stop, Ende turned the car over to Pumpelly and the TRG crew made a sway bar adjustment on the front and an air pressure change, which brought the car back into the track.
“There was something going on with the handling of the car at the start,” Ende said. “The car had huge understeer, I thought that there was a rear sway bar that broke or a shock that was bent. I brought the car in and the team took a look and didn’t find anything. I came back in and turned the car over to Spencer and they made a front sway bar adjustment which might have done the trick. They also adjusted the tire pressure.”
“I am not sure what happened early on,” Pumpelly said. “We pitted the car three times and did a drive thru and still managed to finish on the podium. We made a strategy call to come in and just fuel and not take tires. I am not sure if I would have took tires if we could have won here with the power that the Mustangs and BMWs have. Third is a good place for us today.”
John Potter and Andy Lally in the No. 41 Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche 997 had their second consecutive tough weekend. After a strong opening stint by Potter, Lally got in the car and while leaving the pits, lost the clutch and had to drive several laps without it. The result was a broken third and fourth gear as well as time in the paddock for repairs.
“Sometimes you have stretches like this in racing,” Lally said. “John did a strong opening stint and had us in excellent position. I got in the car, dropped it into gear, left the pits and then when I went to shift to second the clutch went away. Just a tough stretch of races for us, it will turn around and we will win soon.”
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, has the KONI program showing strength.
“Once again Duncan and Spencer had a great weekend,” Buckler said. “Duncan had a few issues at the start, but was able to drive around them and hand off the car to Spencer in really good position. Spencer was contending for the win, but the Mustangs and BMWs just have too much motor. John Potter had a good opening run and those guys looked strong early. It was too bad for Andy, they actually beat the 39 car out of the pits and then the clutch went. A good points day for the 39 and TRG has the top finishing Porsche.”
The KONI Challenge Sports Car Series will race across country to Lime Rock Park in Connecticut for their next race to run on May 25th.
The Koni Challenge race from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be televised on the SPEED Channel, taped delayed, on May 23rd at 12:00 p.m. ET.