There is a silver lining in the cloud hovering over TRG’s garage Saturday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup paddock at Infineon Raceway. DAVID GILLILAND/No.71 TRG Chevrolet crashed his primary car in the first Saturday morning practice – his new DEI road course car which just recently came from the Earnhardt Ganassi with Felix Sabates team. The TRG backup car is a short track car, not exactly suited for the technically challenging ten-turn elevated road course.
Chevrolet teams stick together, even in these rough economic times. The Earnhardt Ganassi management offered its MARTIN TRUEX Jr road course back up car to TRG. KEVIN BUCKLER, TRG Team Owner, said “I want to thank the Earnhardt Ganassi team for their gracious offer. It shows you how the NASCAR family really works together and has embraced us as new comers and wants to see our team succeed.”
This lease offer means a lot to the underdog TRG team. It started out with a plan for two races, and ever since it has been race to race, admittedly sometimes running a Start and Park strategy. Buckler, who had characterized his team as being a Cinderella story, had said Friday that this weekend the team was going for the whole race. “A top five or top ten would be great.”
Buckler has tried some interesting ways to seek sponsorship. He has gone on local TV with ads asking for local sponsors, gone to lots of parties, traveled up and down the West Coast and basically has been trying to position the team for next year – which he considers easier to do than finding support for next week.
Saturday was a short day in the Sprint Cup garage. The Cup teams had two practice sessions before noon and were done for the day. NASCAR closed the Sprint Cup garage at 2:30 PM local time. TRG wasn’t been given any special dispensation to work overtime, so the team did what it can Saturday in changing transmission, rear end, etc. Graphics also have to be removed and reinstalled. It’s fortunate that TRG is based near Infineon Raceway, and new graphics can be easily obtained.
The TRG team went to work. Even the PR manager, KYLE CHURA, was given a task – removing graphics from #87. What can’t be done Saturday will be done Sunday morning, when the garage opens at 7 am local time, giving TRG seven hours to the green flag. The team is confident the car will be race ready in due time.