Crash.Net NASCAR News
Lally, TaxSlayer ready for Cup debuts
5 August 2009
TRG Motorsports heads to Watkins Glen International Raceway for this weekend's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips NASCAR Sprint Cup round with both a new driver and new sponsor on board.
Series new comer Andy Lally will be driving the #71 Chevrolet Impala SS alongside TRG's regular entry for David Gilliland as the team expands to a multi-car operation for the first time, and also welcomes on board a new backer for the latter's #70 car this weekend.
Sportscar ace - and street luge fan - Lally has a lot of history at Watkins Glen, a venue he bills as his favourite having won six professional races there over the years, including last year's KONI Challenge round at the wheel of a Porsche. Although making his Sprint Cup debut this weekend, he has some previous stock car experience at the circuit too, and plans to pool all his knowledge to produce a solid run.
"I have a lot of laps around the Glen," Lally confirmed, "I think the line will be very similar from the Porsche to the Chevy, but I will also apply some of my own secrets that I have learned there over the years that will also be helpful in the Sprint Cup car. I am going to take what I learned from the Nationwide race that I ran in 2007 to see what works. I can't wait to get on track with the #71 and see what we have against some of the best drivers in the world."
"I have been able to run additional laps in the Sprint Cup car at VIR and New Jersey Motorsports Park since the test before Infineon, and the team has been great. Kevin Buckler and all of the TRG Motorsports partners have really put their faith in me here and I really want to thank them. This is an awesome opportunity for me."
Lally will also be running in his usual Grand-Am Rolex Series role on Friday evening, but only sees that as an added bonus.
"The good thing about the schedule this weekend is that there is not too much overlap," he reasoned, "I have a full day in the Rolex Series car on Thursday, and the most important part of the process is to get the car into the show and race on Sunday.
"After [NASCAR] qualifying, I will hop straight into the Porsche for the Rolex race and get to it. There won't be any problem going back to the Rolex car on Friday. It is also good that we have another practice in the Sprint Cup car on Saturday morning to get me re-acclimated and tuned-in for the race on Sunday."
Gilliland, meanwhile, is ready to debut TRG's new TaxSlayer.com colours on the #70 Chevrolet, as he returns to the track where he had one of his worst racing accidents.
"I like Watkins Glen, as the track is lots of fun to drive," Gilliland insisted, "It is really fast for a road course, but I really enjoy road racing and look forward to racing at The Glen every year. Last year, I had a pretty bad accident, probably the worst of my career, but we are ready to go. We have some good cars, and I have a great team-mate in Andy Lally. This is his home track and he has a great record there, so I am looking forward to leaning on him for information. He should be a big help to us this weekend."
Despite becoming more widely known for his NASCAR role, Gilliland is a seasoned road racer and is looking to translating excellent runs at Infineon to The Glen.
"I think a lot of what we know about Infineon can translate to The Glen," he reasoned, "We've done a lot of road course testing this season at VIR and New Jersey Motorsports Park, and I think we have learned a lot each time we went out. We had a great primary car at Infineon, and we have gathered a lot of good information to have a good solid weekend.
"Of course, there will be a lot of good road racers there this weekend - like Ron Fellows, Boris Said, Max Papis and, of course, Andy. A lot those guys are coming in for a one-off race, but our equipment for this weekend is as good as it has been all season, and I feel like we have a great chance for a top finish."
New sponsor TaxSlayer.com will ride with Gilliland for the first time this weekend, having agreed to a six-race primary backer deal that will see its red-and-white colours appear on the #70 at The Glen and then revert to the team's regular #71 for the remaining five races.
"Watkins Glen will be a good debut for TaxSlayer.com on the car," Gilliland said, "The car really looks great. It has a medieval feel to it, which is cool, and I am looking forward to meeting those folks and working with them over their six race term."
TRG has run all season with limited or no sponsorship, but has still managed to showcase the competitiveness of a lean and efficient programme.
"We are very happy to have TaxSlayer.com on the car for six races," team principal Kevin Buckler admitted, "We are going to do everything possible to make their effort pay off and, hopefully, we can grow their participation in the sport.
"This agreement gives us a little breathing room and will allow our team to show some of the competitiveness we know is within our strong little group. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a fantastic place for TaxSlayer to make their motorsports debut and we are proud to have them onboard.
"David has proven his road racing prowess with many strong finishes, but we need to help him translate his previous success at Infineon to Watkins Glen. With Andy as his team-mate this weekend, that will go a long way to making both cars very competitive. We are ready to go with Andy and our first ever multi-car effort in Sprint Cup, so this is really a big weekend for all of us."