Alex Job Racing 2007 year in review

Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team 2007 Grand-Am season review TAVARES, Fla. (Oct. 29, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team completed its second full season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal...

Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team 2007 Grand-Am season review

TAVARES, Fla. (Oct. 29, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team completed its second full season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve with one win, two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished sixth in the team point standings. Driver Patrick Long completed the 14-race season finishing seventh in the Daytona Prototype driver point standings. His teammate, defending Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Driver Champion, Jorg Bergmeister finished 15th in the same category.

The 2007 season was full of memorable moments for the Ruby Tuesday team. It experienced several highs throughout the season, like the strategic well-fought victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Another team-high was that it just missed putting the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype on the pole four times by a grand total of 1.109-seconds. This means the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford was consistently competitive and always a threat to start from the pole.

Arguably, the most memorable moment occurred halfway through the season at Mid-Ohio, when Ruby Tuesday announced its intention to extend its sponsorship of Alex Job Racing for another year.

"Renewing our partnership with Ruby Tuesday was one of the most memorable things that happened to our team all season," team owner Alex Job said. "I can't express enough how appreciative we are to have a partnership with such a great organization like Ruby Tuesday.

"Speaking of great partnerships, we were also blessed to have great support from Porsche all year. Thanks to Porsche, we had a chance to win every time we came to the track. Not only did they produce fast race engines and great technical support, but they also provided two world-class drivers to pilot the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche. Jorg and Patrick did a great job all season.

"Our win at Laguna Seca was very memorable -- especially because of how we won the race. We won it with a great race strategy and it couldn't have worked out more perfectly. That win was significant because it came at a time in the season where we knew we were real competitive, but hadn't won yet. And, to win the race with only one liter of fuel left in the car, it doesn't get much closer than that. It was a thrilling win for our team.

"Another memorable moment was our front row start at Barber [Motorsports Park]. It was memorable for a couple of reasons. It was our first front row start of the season, and with Ruby Tuesday sponsoring the event, it gave our many Ruby Tuesday guests in attendance something to cheer about."

"I'd have to say that our qualifying pace throughout the season was a strong point," Long noted as one of the teams' many successes. "For awhile there, we had a streak where we didn't start out of the top three. The win at Laguna was the highlight. I also think our finishing percentage was a huge improvement from 2006, so that was a great feat for the team. Our top-five finish in the final race at Salt Lake was also a great result. In that race, I thought our pace, as well as our pit stops and strategy, helped us finish the season on a strong note."

"My 2007 season highlight was the win at Laguna Seca, mainly because we were so close to running out of fuel," Bergmeister said. "I will not forget that win for a long time. This year, the 24 hours of Daytona was also pretty amazing. Each year more and more great drivers sign on and it keeps getting more interesting and more competitive."

Round One: Jan. 27-28
Rolex 24 at Daytona
Qualify 7, Finish 12
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Romain Dumas, Patrick Long

The start of the 2007 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype season brought with it the hopes of winning a Championship. However, it was an inauspicious start for the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team and driver Patrick Long. A short time into the 45th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype had a problem with the alternator. The team fixed the problem, but, by then, the team was eight laps down. In 2006, the team was in a similar situation and fought back from seven laps down to take the lead. With that in mind, the team was optimistic that it could do that again. Unfortunately, during Jorg Bergmeister's second stint, mechanical gremlins came in the form of a broken gear box on lap 232. Once again, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team went to work to fix the problem. With the repairs complete, Long took to the track 12 laps down. During Romain Dumas' second stint, it began to rain with 12 hours remaining in the race. It continued to rain off and on during the overnight hours. Despite the two previous mechanical issues, Dumas had the No. 23 Porsche Crawford in the top 10 before turning the machine over to Bergmeister. Bergmeister put together an impressive drive during his third stint and had the car as high as eighth. As dawn approached for the final six hours, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team hoped the only adversity they would have to face in the final hours was the steady rain falling on the World Center of Racing. However, on lap 561, Bergmeister spun the No. 23 Porsche Crawford coming out of the chicane and backed the car into the wall. The car sustained heavy damage to the left rear. For the third time in more than 20-hours, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team had to go to work to fix its damaged car. It took an entire team effort to repair the left rear suspension. By the time Bergmeister returned the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to the track, it was 42 laps down in 12th place. Long ran the final stint in the car, but could not improve the car's position and had to settle for a 12th place finish.

Round Two: March 3
Mexico City 400 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Qualify 8, Finish 5
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team overcame early weekend setbacks to capture its first top five finish in the Mexico City 400k at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Starting from the outside of row four, German Jorg Bergmeister spent most of his 52-lap stint fighting an understeer condition, which dropped the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype to 10th place just two laps into the race. But, keeping with Ruby Tuesday mantra of Quality, Passion, and Pride; Bergmeister managed to fight through the understeer condition and moved up to sixth position by lap 41. Ten laps later, the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford was in seventh position when they went a lap down. Just as the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team got lapped, the team decided to make a pit stop, which included a driver change and a tire pressure adjustment to accommodate for the understeer problem. The team completed an outstanding 37-second pit stop, which allowed Las Vegas resident Patrick Long to be back on the lead lap when he left pit lane. Early in Long's stint, he managed to rattle off consecutive fast race laps, including a team-best fast lap of 1:22.593 (only a little more than three-tenths slower than their qualifying lap). By lap 63, Long had the No. 23 Porsche Crawford in fifth place and looking to catch eventual fourth place finisher Scott Pruett. But, in then end, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team brought home a solid fifth place finish.

Round Three: March 24
Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Qualify 3, Finish 9
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team clawed through adversity to post a ninth-place finish in Round Three at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With high hopes following a strong third-place qualifying effort, drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister expected to deliver a strong showing for the Alex Job Racing-prepared No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype. Unfortunately, the solid start was quickly dashed when the No. 75 Daytona Prototype forced Long into a full spin on lap nine. That setback proved insurmountable. The results of the spin were extensive, including forcing the team into an unscheduled tire change and dropping the team to as low as 15th position by lap 33. For the duration of the race, it was a matter of trying to regain lost positions and score as many Rolex Series championship points as possible.

Round Four: April 29
VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway
Qualify 21, Finish 9
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team rebounded from a last row starting spot to claim a ninth-place finish in the VIR 400k at Virginia International Raceway. Due to a suspension failure in qualifying and the resultant last place starting position, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team was going to need a sound race strategy if it was going to defend its VIR race win from a year ago. Knowing that VIR is one of the toughest tracks to pass on, coupled with team's starting position, the team knew that getting to the front would be no easy task. Undaunted by the challenge, the team's strategy was to have driver Jorg Bergmeister pit on the first lap and hope for an early caution. The thinking behind this strategy was that if a caution came out early in the race, coupled with the team making an early pit stop, the result would find the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype near the front of the field because the race leaders would pit under caution. One lap into the race, Bergmeister made his scheduled pit stop. Now the team needed a full-course caution for the strategy to work. On lap six, the team got exactly what it needed. A full-course yellow came out after the No. 99 Pontiac Riley made contact with the No. 05 BMW Riley leaving debris on the course. As a result, the leaders came in for pit stops, while Bergmeister stayed out on course and was in ninth-place when the race went green. After executing the race strategy to near perfection, Bergmeister was now positioned to set his sites on the leaders. However, shortly after the race went green, Bergmeister reported a handling issue with the car. At that point, it became a high-speed game of follow-the-leader around the 3.27-mile road course. Bergmeister had the No. 23 machine as high as fifth before coming in for the mandatory driver change. When co-driver Patrick Long took over on lap 40, even a new set of tires wouldn't improve the car's handling and the driving challenge would remain much the same during the last half of the race. The final laps saw the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team rebound to claim an official ninth-place finish. As a result, the team earned the "SunTrust Improve Your Position Award" for improving 12 positions during the race.

Round Five: May 19
U.S. Sports Car Invitational delivered by Luggage Express at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Qualify 3, Finish 1
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team pushed its No. 23 Porsche Crawford to its extreme limit winning the Round Five race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with only one liter of fuel left in the car. The team got off to an inauspicious start once the car left the garage for the parade lap. Piloting the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford, driver Patrick Long went out on the parade lap and tried to report back to the crew that he was experiencing an electrical problem. Unfortunately, the electrical issue led to two problems: no radio communications and a starter problem. The crew went to the front straight to diagnose the problem and then worked feverously to resolve the issue before the race went green. Approximately two minutes before the pace laps were to begin; the team pulled together and fixed the problem. Starting from the inside of row two, Long mashed the gas heading into Turn One on the start and immediately took over second-place behind the No. 99 Pontiac Riley. The race was on and so was the race strategy. A few laps later, Long reported having no power steering in Turns Nine and 10 -- a problem that both Long and co-driver Jorg Bergmeister would have to deal with throughout the race. Even though Long had to deal with the reoccurring power steering issue, it did not seem to affect his lap times. He laid down consecutive fast race laps on laps 23 and 24. Thanks to back-to-back fast race laps, Long found himself back in second-place by lap 26. On lap 33, Long made the team's second and final pit stop. The team put on four fresh Hoosier tires, loaded it with what turned out to be just enough fuel, and put the defending Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion Bergmeister in the car. With Bergmeister in the car (in 14th-place) and running consistent lap times nearly two seconds off the pace for nearly 15 laps, team owner Alex Job told Bergmeister he needed to "pick it up." Bergmeister simply replied "no problem." Given that Bergmeister finished the race with one liter of fuel, it begs this question. If Be rgmeister had kept running lap times on par with the leaders from the moment he got into the car, would he have had enough fuel to finish the race? Thankfully, that was not a question the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team would have to ponder after the race. After Job's request, it only took Bergmeister roughly five laps to set the team's new fast race lap. Not only did he do it once, but he proceeded to do it twice within three laps and by lap 59 he was back in second-place. On lap 60, Bergmeister took over the race lead when the fifth caution of the day came out. This was the first time the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team led a race all season. Once the race went green on lap 63, Bergmeister was challenged for the lead by the No. 01 Lexus Riley into Turn One. But, Bergmeister held his ground. In fact, he got faster and faster as the race went on setting new fast lap times on laps 77 and 79. Now, while Bergmeister was clicking off fast race laps, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team began to worry about the fuel situation. Early calculations were that Bergmeister would not have enough fuel to finish the race. The best estimates were that he would have to pit with two or three laps to go. What the team needed was a full course caution with about 10 laps to go. And, as luck would have it, the team got the caution it needed. But, the team did not take advantage of the fueling opportunity. Instead, they elected to stay out on course and gamble that Bergmeister could make it to the end. Under the caution, Bergmeister was told to conserve fuel. So, when the race went green with five laps remaining, Bergmeister not only had to conserve fuel, but he had to also defend his race lead from a hard-charging No. 01 Lexus Riley in the process. With only three laps remaining, the team quickly realized that Bergmeister was not going to have enough fuel to finish the race. What the team needed desperately was one last caution. Though that scenario looked doubtful at the time, the team held true to its mantra Quali ty, Passion, and Pride. They were not about to give up. As fate would have it, the team got just what it needed at the most opportune time -- a final full course caution. This caution came with two laps to go. At that point, the team had Bergmeister switch over to the reserve fuel tank and told him to conserve as much fuel as possible. Under the caution, Bergmeister made one last circuit around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile track to take the checkered flag with only one liter of fuel left in the car. The win gave the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team its first win of 2007.

Round Six: June 9
Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International
Qualify 3, Finish 8
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team drivers Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long drove one of their most inspiring races of the season, finishing eighth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Starting on the inside of row two, Long quickly moved to second-place in Turn One at the start, but soon found himself in the Turn Four gravel with a flat right front tire bringing out the first full-course caution. By the time safety crews pulled the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford from the gravel and Long made a quick pit stop for new rubber, the team was one lap down in 19th when the race went green on lap four. On lap 22, a second full-course yellow came out. By this time, Long had moved up to 16th and was then the recipient of the second chance award, which put him back on the lead lap. Through the first 45 laps, Long managed to methodically work his way into the top 10. But, on lap 46, Long reported that he had no power steering and three laps later the race saw its third caution. The caution came at just the right time. Long was losing positions because he could not maintain top speed without power steering. This caution also gave the Ruby Tuesday team time to figure out how to handle the power steering issue. Having dropped to 16th on lap 51, Long brought the car to pit lane and put defending Daytona Prototype champion Bergmeister in the car. While the car was on pit lane, the crew removed the power steering unit and immediately went to work on trying to fix it. When the race went green, Bergmeister began his stint in 18th place and had to do his best to manhandle the No. 23 machine, without power steering, for the next 24 laps. In the meantime, the Ruby Tuesday crew managed to repair the power steering unit and was waiting for the next caution before bringing Bergmeister in to replace it. Unfortunately, a caution did not come quick enough. By this time, Bergmeister was physically exhausted from trying to keep the car on track without losing too many positio ns. On lap 75 and under green, the team decided to bring Bergmeister in for a pit stop, which included a driver change and the team put the repaired power steering unit back in the car. This unscheduled pit stop under green put the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team down a lap once again. Riding in 18th place, Long called back to the crew that the power steering had been restored. This news was inspiring to the entire team, as they knew with a good handling race car they had a shot at contending for a race win. After another full course caution on lap 105, the team again was the recipient of the second chance award. Once on the lead lap, Long managed to drive his way up to 12th by lap 126 and then reported that he had lost all power steering again. The team had Long come into the pits on lap 127 and Bergmeister got back into the car for another stint without power steering. With a little more than an hour left in the race and no power steering, an already exhausted Bergmeister was really going to have to persevere under extraneous conditions just to finish the race. But, Bergmeister lived up to the challenge and put on a truly impressive driving display over the last 39 laps to bring the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford home in eighth.

Round Seven: June 23
EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Qualify 19, Finish 6
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

On a day that featured the announcement of a one-year sponsorship renewal between Ruby Tuesday and Alex Job Racing, the day was capped off by an impressive drive through the field from last to sixth by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in Round Seven at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. As part of the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank, Bergmeister started last on the grid due to a broken drive shaft that prevented the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford from qualifying. With that in mind, the early race strategy was to pit on the first lap and get the mandatory 45-minute pit stop out of the way and hope for an early-race caution to put the No. 23 Porsche Crawford back into contention. Despite the fact the team did not get the early caution it had hoped for, the defending Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion Bergmeister needed only 35 laps to find himself in the top five and running consistent fast race laps on par with the eventual race winning No. 99 Pontiac Riley. On lap 56, Bergmeister was running fifth when he brought the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford to pit lane for a routine stop, which included a driver change. Long got into the car for his only stint of the 111-lap race. Long returned to the track in 15th place and proceeded to run consistent race laps in the 1:19s. By lap 78, Long managed to work his way into the top 10 and was up to sixth by lap 85. At this point, Long was more than 30 seconds behind positions two through five, who were running in a four-car nose-to-tail train. The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team desperately needed a caution to put the No. 23 Porsche Crawford in contention for a podium finish. Though the team did not get the caution they needed, they still put together an impressive sixth place finish.

Round Eight: July 6
Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway
Qualify 3, Finish 14
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team concluded its "rollercoaster-like" day with a 14th-place finish in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. This event saw teams practice, qualify and race all in the same day. So, in preparation for the Round Eight race, the team's rollercoaster ride began under hot, humid conditions with a short rain shower in between the two morning practice sessions. Early indications from those sessions were that the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype was nearly two seconds off the pace. With that in mind, the team only had 45 minutes to find some speed in the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford before the 15-minute afternoon qualifying session. After two frustrating practice sessions, chasing the right car setup, the Ruby Tuesday team pulled together to find just enough speed to allow driver Jorg Bergmeister to qualify third with a lap time of 1:45.619 (121.342 mph). All things considered, the team was feeling pretty good about starting on the inside of row two. But, the rollercoaster ride continued and the jubilation was short-lived. After looking at the car's telemetry following qualifying, the team felt that it was wise to change the engine due to some questionable engine data. As a result of this change, Bergmeister had to start the race from pit lane. From his last place starting position, Bergmeister's early stint looked promising as he picked up positions lap after lap and found himself in the top-10 by lap six. For the next 10 laps, Bergmeister continued to lay down fast race laps and was in third place by lap 18. Bergmeister's aggressiveness was paying off and the team's spirits were high anticipating a possible podium finish. But, just as Bergmeister had gotten into the top three, he drove through the chicane on lap 28 falling to fourth-place. From there, the team's rollercoaster ride got worse on the next lap. Bergmeister spun in the same place (chicane) dropping two more slots and was now more than 30 s econds off the race leader's pace. On lap 45, Bergmeister brought the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to pit lane for its second pit stop. Now with Patrick Long behind the wheel he was in 12th place after all the pit stops cycled through. Long did not give up. He set the team's fastest race lap on lap 53 with a 1:46.469 and passed the No. 39 Pontiac Fabcar for 11th place in the process. However, even the small victories were difficult to accomplish on the rollercoaster-like night. Just as Long was chasing down the 10th-place car on lap 55, the No. 21 Pontiac GTO.R made contact with him and put a hole in the left side pod of the No. 23 machine. Two laps later, the team decided to bring Long in for an unscheduled pit stop to examine the extent of the damage. The team put tape over the large hole, changed the left rear tire and sent Long back out onto the track. Now, Long was a lap down to the leaders in 15th-place with only 13 laps remaining in the 70-lap race. Knowing that any chance for a top-10 finish was now out of the question, Alex Job continued to encourage Long on the radio to pick up as many positions as he could. Long did not disappoint, as he continued to push the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to its limit and he picked up one more position to finish 14th.

Round Nine: July 22
Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park
Qualify 2, Finish 8
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister brought home a solid eighth place finish in the Round 10 race at Barber Motorsports Park. Driving the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford, Long started the 250-mile race on the outside of the front row and maintained second-place until the first full course caution on lap 11. When the caution came out, Long brought the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford to pit lane for fuel and tires. Once the yellow flag pit stops cycled through, Long was in sixth when the race went green on lap 16. Three laps later he was up to fourth, thanks to passing the No. 59 and No. 39 machines. On lap 45, the race went yellow for the second time and Long brought his fourth-place No. 23 Porsche Crawford to pit lane for a driver change. At this point, Bergmeister got into the car for his 53-lap stint. When the race went green on lap 49, Bergmeister was fifth, but was being heavily pressured by the No. 01 and No. 60 Lexus Rileys. Four laps later, Bergmeister found himself in seventh as both of the Rileys passed the German. Riding in seventh for the next 44 laps, Bergmeister tried mightily to pick up a few more positions, thanks to turning consistently fast lap times. However, with three laps remaining, the No. 76 Pontiac Riley and No. 6 Lexus Riley passed Bergmeister, as he dropped to ninth with two laps to go. On the final lap, Bergmeister was able to capitalize on a miscue by the No. 76 machine to finish eighth.

Round 10: July 13
Iowa Speedway
Qualify 6, Finish 10
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team brought home a solid top-10 finish the Round Nine race at Iowa Speedway. Driver Patrick Long started the race from the outside of row three in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype and was in that same position when the first round pit stops occurred on lap 38 of the 192-lap event. At that point, defending Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion Jorg Bergmeister got into the car for his only stint of the night. When Bergmeister returned to the track, he was in 11th-place and proceeded to pick up two more positions over the next 47 laps before the race went yellow for the second time on lap 85. On lap 86, Bergmeister brought the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to pit lane for a full pit stop and a driver change. By the time all of the lead cars cycled through their pit stops, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team found themselves in fifth-place when the race went green on lap 90. With Long back in the car, he moved to fourth place by lap 100, a position he would not relinquish until late in the race with nine laps to go. Long was on his way to giving the team its first top-five finish, since winning the Round Five race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, when Long slid up the banking in Turn Two on lap 183. With seven laps remaining, Long radioed to the team that he thought he had a right front flat tire and came to the pits to change it. After the tire change, Long returned to the track in seventh-place, but then was told he had to come back in to serve a drive thru penalty for speeding on pit lane. Long served the drive thru and was in 10th with two laps remaining, which is where he finished.

Round 11: Aug. 3
Montreal 400 at Circuit Gilles Villenueve
Qualify 17, Finish 17
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished 17th at the Circuit Gilles Villenueve, as part of the Montreal 400k. Piloting the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype (DP), Patrick Long started the race from pit lane because the team did not record a qualifying time due to a fuel pump failure. What this scenario meant was that the team needed to execute an aggressive race strategy in order to give Long an early opportunity to work his way through the field. The team's race strategy, coupled with Long's blistering race pace, paid immediate dividends as he found himself in third by lap 23. In fact, on lap 33, Long recorded the team's fastest race lap with a 1:36.572 (which was the team's fastest lap all weekend). On lap 34, the race's third caution came out and Long came to pit lane for a driver change, fuel and tires. By the time the pit stops cycled through, co-driver Jorg Bergmeister was in ninth when the race went green on lap 40. Early in Bergmeister's stint, he picked up where his teammate left off -- pushing hard toward the front. Unfortunately, six laps later Bergmeister hit the Turn Nine wall. The car sustained right front suspension damage, subsequently ending the team's race.

Round 12: Aug. 10
Crown Royal 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International
Qualify 21, Finish 9
Drivers: Emmanuel Collard, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished ninth in the Round 12 race at Watkins Glen International. Frenchman Emmanuel Collard started last (due to not recording a qualifying time) in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype and handed it over to co-driver Patrick Long after only one lap. The team's early race strategy was to pit on the first lap if the race went yellow and the team got exactly what it needed. When the full course caution came out, Collard brought the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford to pit lane for tires, fuel and a driver change. When the race went green on lap three, Long was in 17th-place. Over the next six laps, he continued to set consecutive fast race laps. This quick pace paid off, as he had the No. 23 Porsche Crawford in the top-10 by lap 12. Long spent most of the race riding just inside the top-10 and tried to make a late race push for position (recording his fastest lap on lap 74 with a 1:08.305), but settled for a ninth-place finish.

Round 13: Aug. 25
Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway
Qualify 10, Finish 7
Drivers: Terry Borcheller, Patrick Long

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished seventh in the penultimate round at Infineon Raceway, as part of the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250. Driver Terry Borcheller started 10th in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype. The former Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion managed to climb one spot before handing the car over to teammate Patrick Long just before the mandatory 45-minute pit stop. After all of the pit stops cycled through, Long was still in ninth and looking to catch the No. 61 Lexus Riley. During that time, Long turned the team's fastest lap on lap 38 with a 1:30.908 (99.793 mph). Long spent the next 39 laps running consistently in ninth before the No. 61 came to pit lane for its second pit stop and then Long moved up one position. Unfortunately, Long's progress was short-lived as he would have to pit for the second time three laps later on lap 65. When Long returned to the track, he was in 12th-place. After the second round of green flag pit stops were complete, Long was back to ninth. On lap 87, Long found himself in eighth, thanks to a broken suspension on the No. 19 Lexus Riley. With four laps remaining, the race's only caution came out. This meant Long had one last shot to gain one more finishing position. On the green flag restart with two laps to go, it came down to an old-fashioned high-speed shootout between Long and the No. 61 machine. The No. 61 briefly left the door open and Long took advantage and subsequently finished seventh.

Round 14: Sept. 15
Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park
Qualify 5, Finish 5
Drivers: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Mike Rockenfeller

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished out the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season with a fifth-place finish in the Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park. The final round race was a microcosm of how the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team's season had gone -- experiencing both the highs and lows that go with this sport. Starting from the inside of row three, driver Patrick Long took the green and immediately lost two positions heading into Turn One. Not discourage by the situation, Long battled back rattling off consecutive fast race laps that had him back in fifth by lap 15. On lap 20, Long set the team's fastest race lap with a 2:42.525 around the 4.486-mile, 24-turn track. At this point, the driver and the team were feeling pretty good about their position early in the race. However, six laps later Long spun in Turn 16, which dropped him back to 10th. On lap 27, Long came to pit lane for the first round of pit stops which included a driver change. When driver Jorg Bermeister took to the track for his first stint, he was in 10th. But, it did not take Bergmeister long to make up some of the positions that his teammate lost when he spun. Eight laps later he was in eighth and knocking on the door for seventh. On lap 38, Bergmeister worked his way to seventh, but was more than a minute down to the race leader. Bergmeister continued in seventh until his stint was over on lap 55, when he brought the No. 23 machine to pit lane for a full pit stop. After not having driven the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford in more than a year, Mike Rockenfeller took the reigns of the machine he won two races and had seven podium finishes in a year ago. Despite his lack of seat time in the car this year, Rockenfeller showed that he still had what it took to make the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to go fast. By lap 73, he was up to fifth when the second full-course caution came out for debris and fluids on the track. Under the yellow, Rockenfeller moved to fourth a s several of the leaders came to pit lane for service. When the race went green on lap 77, Rockenfeller had to immediately defend his fourth place position from the cars that were on new tires. Unfortunately, he surrendered three positions on three consecutive laps before making his pit stop on lap 85. At this point, Rockenfeller turned the car over to Long for his second stint. After the pit stop, Long returned to the track in 11th place, the lowest position the team had been in all day. During Long's second stint, he managed to work his way through traffic and was riding in seventh by lap 101. On lap 115, Long made his final pit stop and Bergmeister got back into the car for his final stint. During those final 24 event-filled laps, fans saw all three Daytona Prototype championship contenders get flat tires, including a flat tire on the No. 10 machine that led to the car catching fire entering pit lane. This brought out the race's third caution. All of this action did little to advance Bergmeister's position, but what it did do was set up a sense of urgency with only 19 laps to go. When the race went green on lap 122, Bergmeister was still in seventh and looking to pass the No. 61 Lexus Riley at the end of the front straight heading into Turn One. Unfortunately, the two machines made contact and spun. The result found Bergmeister temporarily without power and losing positions fast. Fortunately, the safety crews helped Bergmeister get underway as the race went yellow for the fourth time. With 13 laps remaining, the race went green. Bergmeister was in 10th and needed to push hard if he wanted a top-five finish. Thanks to some high-intensity racing between the championship contenders, Bergmeister passed both the No. 99 Pontiac Riley and the No. 01 Lexus Riley with a move similar to the one Rockenfeller made on the No. 10 Pontiac Riley and No. 01 Lexus Riley at Virginia International Raceway more than a year ago. This pass moved Bergmeister up to sixth with only seven laps to go. Frustrated by his spin 10 laps earl ier, Bergmeister really wanted a top five finish and to get it he was going to have to pass the No. 60 Lexus Riley. On lap 133, Bergmeister passed the No. 60 machine for fifth and never looked back giving the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team its third top five finish of the season.

-credit: ajr

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Series GRANDAM