Homestead: Derhaag Motorsports race report

Derhaag Motorsports top ten finish thwarted in pits Homestead, FL (March 25, 2006) -- The Derhaag Motorsports team was on a path to pick up its first top ten of the 2006 season at the Grand Prix of Miami in the ...

Derhaag Motorsports top ten finish thwarted in pits

Homestead, FL (March 25, 2006) -- The Derhaag Motorsports team was on a path to pick up its first top ten of the 2006 season at the Grand Prix of Miami in the #40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley at Round Three of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The drivers, Justin Bell and Randy Ruhlman, worked hard to keep on the lead laps, and maintain the front group, but were stopped short when a pit stop was severely slowed by a fuel rig malfunction.

Justin Bell qualified the car and started Saturday's race action at Miami-Homestead Speedway in the 20th position. The race was picture perfect with the first 30 laps free from cautions and saw hard racing through out the field. Though Bell had gotten lapped, the yellow came out around Lap 34, he took the opportunity to get back the lost lap. Bell then came into the pits still under yellow for the driver swap with Randy Ruhlman and much needed fuel and tires.

With tires and drivers all changed, the fuel rig suddenly stopped short, and just as fast, the car went a lap down while in the pits. Ruhlman had his work cut out for him, as the second half of the developed into an exciting thriller with several unfortunate yellows. Ruhlman made it back to 14th just behind Adrian Fernandez with just 16 laps left, when yet another yellow allowed the field to catch back up. By the time things sorted out and two more incidents marred the final laps as cars scrambled for positions in the final laps, the #40 Derhaag Motorsports car ended the day dropped a couple of places to end a respectable 17th, ahead of some very notable road racing teams in this test of cars, teams, and drivers.

"Justin did a great job keeping us up front, out of trouble and in contention," said Ruhlman after the race. "It was encouraging to see that we were able to keep up with the #47 TruSpeed Motorsports Porsche [who finished ninth]. I think without the fuel problem we definitely would have been right up there in the top ten, if we could stay out of trouble. The car seems to be working better each time we go out now, but we are all on a steep learning curve, drivers and team. It was fun to go out here at Homestead and race hard and fast, but each race is presenting new challenges to us. We're off to Long Beach now were we at least know the course, so that should be fun one, too."

The 250-mile race will start Saturday, March 25th, at 6:30 PM at the Grand Prix of Miami, sponsored by Linder Industrial Machinery Company and Komatsu, on the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race became a timed race finishing in 2 hours and 45 minutes with Derhaag Motorsports drivers Justin Bell and Randy Ruhlman joining this field of "who's who" in road racing line-up of driver talent.

Bell drove with the Derhaag Motorsports driving team of Ruhlman, Bingham, Fellows and Bell in the successful 2006 season opener--the Rolex 24 At Daytona. He will be taking over at Homestead for Chris Bingham, who will return for the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 8th.

The same-day television broadcast of the Daytona Prototype race from the Grand Prix of Miami was shown on Speed Channel at 8:00 PM EST.

Ruhlman was the 2005 Trans-Am winner of the Long Beach Grand Prix and Cleveland Grand Prix races. As the driver of the #49 Preformed Line Products Corvette for Derhaag Motorsports, Ruhlman was the runner up for the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship and was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year". Though Ruhlman, who hails from Greensboro, North Carolina, is in his first season of Grand American Rolex Cup racing, he has extensive racing experience, predominantly in road racing in the Trans-Am Series, as well as in IMSA, ASA and the NASCAR short track series.

Justin Bell has competed numerous times at LeMans, as well as at the Rolex24 at Daytona, with multiple wins in class at both races. The Great Britain native won the 1997 FIA GT2 Champion and was the 2001 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year, scoring two wins in Trans-Am Series competition. Bell competed with Derhaag Motorsports in the past in Trans-Am and at Daytona, where he set the 2003 GTS qualifying record. Justin Bell's new business venture, Blue Planet Events, is "a place where cars are driven as they were designed to". He combines exquisite event planning and personalized service for "people who enjoy life to the maximum."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Chris Bingham , Adrian Fernandez , Justin Bell , Randy Ruhlman