The Racers Group races on home turf June 7-9, 2019 as the team returns to Sonoma Raceway for the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and SprintX West races. Coming on the heels of an amazing weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, where driver Spencer Pumpelly regained the Sprint PRO Championship lead, this promises to be a weekend you don’t want to miss.
TRG will be running 4 cars this weekend with; TRG PRO driver, Spencer Pumpelly, driving the #66 TRG / LaSalle Solutions Porsche Cayman GT4 for the Sprint races, co-drivers Chris Bellomo and Kevin Woods driving the #67 Porsche Cayman GT4 for the SprintX West races and co-drivers, Dr. Jim Rappaport and Derek DeBoer driving the #17 LaSalle Solutions / Passtime, Porche Cayman GT4 for the SprintX West races also.
All are heading into the weekend in strong positions with Pumpelly in the lead for the Sprint PRO Championship, Bellomo and Woods in the lead for the SprintX West championship and Rappaport and DeBoer holding the number three position, so it is going to be an action-packed weekend for sure!
And then for the 4th car….we have a surprise addition to the lineup with CEO and Founder, Kevin Buckler, and co-driver, Spencer Pumpelly, taking to the track in the #68 (#66 being already taken) 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 for the SprintX PRO races
Pirelli GT4 America SprintX and Sprint
Co-Drivers – #67 Car:
Chris Bellomo & Kevin Woods
Co-Drivers – #17 Car:
Dr. Jim Rappaport & Derek DeBoer
Co-Drivers – #68 Car:
Kevin Buckler & Spencer Pumpelly
Driver – #66 Car:
#67 Driver — Chris Bellomo
Chris Bellomo started his racing career in 2017. After a few local track days with a good friend, he was hooked. A 3-day SCCA school sealed the deal. That led to several SCCA races in a Spec Miata, which then led to his coach introducing him to TRG and his current Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR. Chris started racing his Porsche when he joined the Pirelli Trophy West USA Series at the start of 2018. During the year, Chris garnered 9 Silver Class victories and the season championship. Most recently, he won the GTD class at Rennsport and broke the PCA Racing GTD class qualifying and race lap track records at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Robert Orcutt has been coaching Chris since his first track days and that relationship has been instrumental to Chris’ early success.
Chris has always had a love for all things Porsche…street cars, race cars and their storied history have been an obsession from an early age.
His progression on the track would not have been possible without the support of his family…his wife Michelle, and two daughters Riley and Mackenzie. They have encouraged his new passion wholeheartedly and have been patient through the many days away from home. Their trackside presence has been a great motivator at local races.
“Sonoma Raceway is where I took my first performance driving course just a few short years ago, and it was during that track event where I met my coach Robert Orcutt. So, needless to say, Sonoma is a special place for me. Since our last SprintX race at Weathertech Raceway, TRG, Robert, and I have been racing in the Porsche Trophy West USA series in the GT3 class and testing in the GT4. With all of this ongoing racing and testing, the car, crew and drivers are well prepared for the upcoming race weekend at Sonoma. My co-driver, Kevin Woods, has been really fast this season and I am looking forward to teaming up and getting back out there and competing against a very strong field of SRO GT4 SprintX teams and cars.
#67 Driver — Kevin Woods
Kevin Woods, a California Native, discovered his original need for speed at the age of 10 from his father who used to race at the local drag strip. He wouldn’t actually begin his own motorsports journey until the age of 38, but despite the later than usual start, he was motivated and competitive from the very beginning. During his maiden race weekend at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca Kevin got his first taste of victory. From there he would go on to win an open-wheel championship driving a Pro Formula Mazda in his first full season of competition. Since then, Kevin has been honing his motorsports racing skills in the Pirelli Trophy West USA series where he made a strong name for himself with an impressive tally of podiums, wins, and championships including a spectacular 2018 Season where he racked up an incredible 10 victories and the Diamond Class Championship Title!
“I’m really excited that we will be at Sonoma Raceway for our next event. It’s my home track and I have so many great memories racing there, but at the same time I haven’t had the opportunity to race in Sonoma for several years. It will be a nice homecoming because it’s one of my favorite tracks and is also TRG’s home race track which makes it a special event for all us.”
#17 Driver — Dr. Jim Rappaport
Dr. Rappaport’s passion for motorsports racing comes from his appreciation of the beauty of the cars, fascination with the technology and the challenge of perfecting every detail to win.
He began racing three years ago with the Sports Car Club of America, where he met his now coach and mentor, Robert Orcutt, and was fortunate to win his first race in GT2 in a Porsche Cayman. He won his next SCCA race also and that was all it took to know this was something he was meant to do. Dr. Jim approached racing with the same dedication, focus and hard work that has made him such a sought after Spinal surgeon for the past 34 years and, with the support of Robert and the TRG team, his skills progressed rapidly and he quickly moved to the Pirelli Trophy Cup series last season. 2018 was a great year for Dr. Jim with a win in the GT4 category at Thermal, multiple second place podiums and a strong finish to the season in second place for the Championship! With such a strong foundation, it is no surprise that he moved up once again to compete in the 2019 Pirelli GT4 America West races with his co-driver, Derek Deboer.
“This has been a great first year for me running in Pirelli GT4 America, and I am excited to be back on the track with my co-driver, Derek DeBoer, for the SprintX West races at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. This is a big weekend for us across the board. Being at our home track, having many of our sponsors like LaSalle Solutions, Passtime and FastlifeTV with us in the paddock and lots of friends and family as well just makes us want to be on that top step of the podium even more. Derek and I are fortunate to have a great car and an amazing crew to work with and we are looking forward to gaining ground in our battle for the SprintX West Championship this weekend.”
— Dr. Jim Rappaport
#17 Driver — Derek DeBoer
Derek DeBoer has racing running through his veins. Derek’s grandfather raced in the local dirt car circuit and his father followed, albeit in Top Alcohol dragsters, racing in a straight line. Derek’s racing career began 17 years ago at Laguna Seca in a Formula Dodge. Derek has raced in the competitive Formula Renault open-wheel series and spent several years in the ST class of Grand Am. No stranger to the world of endurance racing, Derek won at the 2015 LeMans Aston Martin Festival race, had his first shot at the Rolex 24 at Daytona the same year, and has raced multiple times in the 25 hours at Thunderhill. He’s also competed in multiple Continental Tire Series races. Derek joined The Racer’s Group in 2013 and has been part of the TRG racing family ever since. He is always a threatening contender in the Pirelli GTS and SprintX categories, finishing 2nd in the championship in 2015 and consistently coming away with strong finishes, podiums, and victories and 2019 looks to be especially promising with two co-drivers and a full season covering the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX East and West races ahead of him.
“Its always great getting back to Sonoma and our big TRG home race! I’m anxious to get back to work on the West Coast Championship with Dr. Jim and go find the top step on that podium. We’ll have a lot of guests on hand from Passtime, LaSalle Solutions, BRM Chronographes, AutoLeadStar and Fastlife.tv so our plan is to make sure they get to spray some Champagne – our #17 Porsche Cayman is up to the task and so are we! There is also some really exciting news about my upcoming home-state race in Portland- so stay tuned for that! There’s a big sweepstakes coming —
TEXT “TIX” to 31279 for a chance to win a VIP Race Experience.”
#68 Driver — Kevin Buckler
Kevin Buckler is the founder and CEO of The Racers Group (TRG) and Adobe Road Winery and is a professional race car driver and team owner. TRG is the single winningest privateer team in North American sports car history with over 100 victories in multiple professional classes.
Buckler started his racing career experimenting with a variety of vehicles growing up in the Southern California car culture of the ’70s. He began his professional racing career at the California Grand Prix in 1995, where he entered his brand new Racer’s Group built 1970 Porsche 911 and won the race.
He has more than 100 professional starts with numerous pole positions, podium finishes and victories. Notable highlights include wins at the 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans & 4 victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Buckler won as a driver in 2002 and 2003 (winning overall but from the GT Class, a milestone). He is also a recipient of the coveted Porsche World Cup in 2002. Kevin has led TRG to back-to-back (2005 and 2006) Grand American Rolex GT Championships, including the Triple Crown in 2006 (Drivers, Team and Manufacturers Championships). In 2009, TRG finished a historic 1-2 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and was victorious again in 2011.
After much success in the world of Professional Sportscar Racing, Buckler joined the ranks of NASCAR team owners by forming TRG Motorsports. After a successful stint in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2008, Buckler forged ahead with his goal of contending in the Sprint Cup Series and successfully competed in the top series for 3 full seasons.
The company successfully manages multiple motorsports programs, while keeping up a heavy-duty schedule of amateur and professional racing as well as high-end corporate events, dealership and corporate appearances, private track days for corporate clients and more.
Today, Kevin manages his multi-car professional race teams and motorsports businesses from the Northern California location. He balances this love of speed with another driving passion—wine. Kevin and the Adobe Road Winery team, use the race team’s heritage of meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail and apply it to the crafting of his award-winning Adobe Road wines, sourcing grapes from some of the finest vineyards in Northern California.
Adobe Road has become one of the darling, award-winning, boutique producers coming out of Sonoma and Napa counties and is in the process of building a brand-new, state-of-the-art winery in downtown Petaluma, right on the dynamic riverfront. Petaluma is the hottest small city in northern California, with a vibrant downtown revitalization including the new theater district, world-class restaurants and, of course, the heavy influence around the waterfront. The winery will include a beautiful new visitor center, corporate and banquet facilities, motorsports museum and a complete winery production facility. Scheduled opening in Early Summer 2020.
When not at the racetrack, he enjoys spending time with his family (wife Debra and 3 daughters) and friends. His interests include water sports, snow skiing, tennis (Kevin was a 5.0 nationally ranked player), and winemaking/collecting.
“Why? Sonoma Speed Festival last weekend made me do it….or at least that started it. We had such a great time out on the track last weekend, and I have said so many times what a kick it would be to drive with Spencer, that when the idea was thrown out there for this weekend I just could not pass it up. I feel we are all so fortunate going into this weekend. We get to be out there representing one of the most successful motorsports brands in the world, with some of the best drivers in the sport behind the wheel, and surrounded by our sponsors family and friends cheering us on. I could not ask for anything better”
SPRINT and SPRINTX
#66 & 68 Driver — Spencer Pumpelly
Spencer Pumpelly was introduced to racing at a young age while watching his father contest the IMSA GTP Championship in a Ford Prototype during the late 1980s. In 1995 he enrolled in the Skip Barber Racing School and has since raced in many classes of cars successfully. He is a twenty-three year veteran of professional sports car racing and a two-time class winner in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2016 Continental Sportscar Challenge ST champion. He holds multiple victories in IMSA, World Challenge, and Continental Challenge competition including class victories in six major IMSA endurance races and has appeared in the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times.
Known as one of the most talented drivers in the sportscar racing circuit, Spencer is a highly sought after driver, coach, and race winning strategist. Spencer rejoined TRG in 2018 and is no stranger to success with this team. During his six-year-long relationship with TRG, Pumpelly was a fixture on the podium with four top-three finishes in the Rolex 24, a second-place at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011, two six-hour victories and more than a dozen wins and numerous podiums, across a variety of series including; Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, Grand-Am, and American Le Mans. He also scored a podium in the NJMP ARCA NASCAR series and in 2011 brought home an epic GT class win (Pumpelly’s second) at the Rolex 24 at Daytona…with no clutch.
Spencer currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Lindsay, son Ryder, and daughter Parker. When not racing he enjoys running, ice hockey, playing guitar, and flying helicopters.
“This weekend will mark the first time I’ve raced in Sonoma since 2006 so I’m really looking forward to getting back on track there. It’s the home of TRG and should be a good track for the Porsche so we have high expectations for sure. “Our goal will be to extend our points lead but given the tough competition in The Sprint class that’s always a tough order.”
— Spencer Pumpelly
Kevin Buckler, Founder, and CEO of The Racers Group
I could not be more excited for the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and SprintX races this weekend. This is our biggest race weekend of the year in many ways. Not only is Sonoma Raceway our home track, but we have so many of our sponsors, friends and family with us that it just adds to the already super charged atmosphere that always surrounds our paddock. Not to mention that we are fielding 4 cars with 6 drivers in two classes for the first time this season. There are also some very high hopes and expectations with all of our drivers going into the weekend in really strong positions. Spencer Pumpelly is in the lead for the Sprint PRO Championship in the #66 TRG / Lasalle Solutions Porsche, Chris Bellomo and Kevin Woods are in the lead for the SprintX West championship in the #67 Porsche Cayman GT4 and Dr. Rappaport and Derek DeBoer are holding the number three position for the SprintX West championship in the #17 Passtime / LaSalle Solutions Porsche GT4, so our drivers and amazing TRG crew have been preparing round the clock to ensure an incredibly successful race weekend. Oh, yeah, and I am getting back on the track, in official racing capacity, for the first time in many years. We dusted off the old car & I will be co-driving the #68 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 with Spencer Pumpelly for the SprintX races. It’s not the latest technology but these are the weekends we all live for, and we could not do it without the partnerships we have.
Source. The Racers Group