Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team qualifies 12th for Rolex 24 At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2008) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team is anxious to get the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team qualifies 12th for Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2008) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team is anxious to get the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season underway after qualifying 12th for Saturday's Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Under overcast skies and piloting the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford Daytona Prototype, Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., turned in a qualifying time of 1:42.230 (125.364 mph) on his fifth lap of the 15 minute qualifying session.
"I tried my best to give them everything I could," Hand said of his qualifying effort. "It [the car] went about as fast as it could. We were a little late on tire pressures. On the last lap [had Hand not had to pit], it would have been the quickest lap. But, we just did not time it right on the pressures. Everybody is learning about these Pirelli tires. We'll catch on. We're coming closer and that's a big thing. Every time I get into the car it gets better."
"Joey had a good run," Team Owner Alex Job said. "He gave it all we had today. We're in good company. The No. 99 Gainsco is right in front of us and the No. 9 Penske is right behind us. Obviously, we would've liked to have gone quicker. We definitely did not have anything for the Fords. But, it's a long race. Qualifying is great for bragging rights, but, in reality, it doesn't mean anything for winning this race. Now that qualifying is done, we are going to concentrate on prepping the car for the race."
"Now that we've got qualifying out of the way, we can focus the rest of the practice time on having a real consistent race car," driver Patrick Long said. "I feel like the team is prepared and we've got as much experience as a group [Hand, Auberlen, Wallace, and Long] as any team out here. So, now we're going to push forward and go for a win. I think Joey did a good job of qualifying to bring the lap time to a low 42. We've still got a little bit to find, but we are headed in the right direction."
"This team has worked so hard since we left here from the test," driver Bill Auberlen said. "The car is running and driving much better than it is showing right now -- that is why I am still smiling right now. I know that we have a car that is way better than we had here last time. We have a driver lineup that is unbelievable. So, between the driver lineup, the team and how I feel the car is, I think we're on target for where we need to be."
"It's always nice to be at the front, but the most important part is not where you qualify, it's what you have to race with," driver Andy Wallace said. "We're still fine tuning the car. We don't have it exactly where we want it yet. But, we're homing in on it. Obviously, it's very competitive out there -- just a couple of tenths here or there makes a huge difference in where you start. With a 24 hour race and the fact that it takes a little while for these tires to warm up, maybe it's not so bad not being on the front two rows. But, we're O.K."