Owen Trinkler, his CRG – I Do Borrow team, and co-driver Sarah Cattaneo, didn’t waste any time adapting to their new car.
Already winners this year in in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST competition at the series’ second round in Sebring in a Honda Civic Si, Trinkler and company stormed back to victory lane last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in just their second race with with its Nissan Altima.
The switch in machinery mid-season has made for an interesting year for the Nashville, Tenn. native and the team’s small crew.
“That’s a first for me. I’ve never swapped mid-season before,” Trinkler told Sportscar365.
“We had two separate cars, separate brands, so we’re carrying all this extra stuff on our trailer. Knowing what our two crew guys have gone through, I think it’s pretty special for them to win in the Honda and now transition to the Nissan and win the second race out.
“It shows how much dedication those guys have. For us to be as small of a team as we are, those guys work really hard.”
The team debuted the Nissan the week before at Watkins Glen and had a strong run going until mechanical issues forced them out.
Trinkler said the pace they showed in upstate New York left him confident heading into the CTMP weekend, and eager to put the disappointment behind him.
“That was a great victory for us [at CTMP],” he said. “I was glad we had the back-to-back weekend.
“I thought we had a really good run going at Watkins Glen, then we had a brake line failure while running fourth. I thought we had a shot at a podium there with the debut of the car.
“I was glad we had a back-to-back weekend to kind of get over that sting of Watkins Glen, not winning it, and we took the positives from running well and brought them to Mosport (CTMP).”
Trinkler said the team owed its strong debut to the commitment of team owner Joe Cattaneo and the strength of the team’s testing program during which they ran the new Nissan alongside the Honda, which provided a race-winning baseline.
“I have to give it to Joe Cattaneo the owner,” said the seven-time Continental Tire Challenge race winner. “He really put us through a pretty intense testing schedule before we debuted this car.
“I think some people are shocked that we showed up at the second race with it and won but I’m not shocked.
“The schedule we laid out for the car back in December, we tested two days at Sebring and four days at VIR in two separate tests.
“I think it’s one of the most rigorous testing schedules that I’ve done in a Conti car ever.
“We weren’t going to bring the car out and run mediocre, our intention was to bring the car out and try to win right away with it.”
More work lies ahead for the small CRG – I Do Borrow operation, which had been relying on Rum Bum’s crew to provide help during pit stops prior to that team’s withdrawal.
A combination of CRG and Turner crew members serviced the car at CTMP, but Trinkler says the team remains undaunted heading into this weekend at Lime Rock Park.
“I like every track that we go to, but [Lime Rock] reminds me of the oval-track stuff that I grew up on.” Trinkler said.
“I love this little bull ring that it is, the short laps. The bar is set really high.
“When you go back and look at the history, we had a good result last year in the Honda but I think I’ve been very competitive there in anything we’ve been in.”