Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Finishes Eighth In Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 22, 2007) -- Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister brought home a solid eighth place...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Finishes Eighth In Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 22, 2007) -- Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister brought home a solid eighth place finish in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Round 10 race, part of the Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.
Driving the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford, Long started today's 250-mile race on the outside of the front 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 tires, fuel and a driver change. At this point, Bergmeister got into the car for his 53-lap stint. This was Bergmeister's first time in the car since Thursday's promoter test day at Barber because he was at Mid-Ohio competing in yesterday's American Le Mans Series race -- which he won the GT2 class.
"We need a strong finish right now, so I did not want to take any undue risk," Long said of his stint in the car. "The car was really good, especially on restarts. We struggled a little bit in the high speed areas. But, we kept it clean."
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.
"Right at the beginning [of Bergmeister's stint], I struggled a bit because I did not go out on new tires, like I assumed everyone else did," Bergmeister said. "I went out on scrubbed tires instead of sticker tires, which took a little longer to get heat in them. This took a few extra laps and I struggled a bit early. Then, I had to learn the car and the track again. When the fuel load burned down, the car was actually pretty good. But, at the end I just did not have any tires left. I was sliding all over the place."
"We had the pace to run in the top five, but not over an entire stint," Long said of today's race. "That last stint hurt us a bit because it went green for so long. I think Jorg did a great job to stay after it at the end and get a position back on the last lap. Overall, we are back where we need to be with consistent, solid finishes."
"The car was consistent," team owner Alex Job said. "The (numbers) 99 and 75 just checked out. But, the rest of the group, from third to eighth, was running pretty much in a freight train. We were certainly consistent, if not the quickest of that group towards the end of the race. Unfortunately, we got hit pretty hard from a couple of cars. That took its toll and that set us back each time. But, we certainly had good consistent long runs, we just need a little more speed."
The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team has one win, two top-five and eight top-10 finishes this season. The team next heads north of the border to Montreal, Canada for Round 11 of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Aug 2-3.