Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team gunning for its third win at Laguna Seca
TAVARES, Fla. - The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team looks to defend its race title from a year ago when it travels to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Rum Bum.com 250.
Last season, the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford Daytona Prototype found its way to victory circle giving the team its fourth overall win in Grand-Am Daytona Prototype competition. In addition to its win last year, the team also won the Laguna Seca qualifying race two years ago. As a result of that win, it gave the team the pole position for the Round Six race and they went on to lead 21 laps of the 88-lap race. In the past two seasons, the Ruby Tuesday team has led 53 of the 179 race laps run at Laguna Seca.
This year, California-based drivers Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand will put their home track knowledge to the test in an effort to return the No. 23 to the winner's circle.
"It is one of my home tracks," Hand said. "It always seems, no matter what, that there is always a home track advantage. I'm hoping that comes into play this weekend for the Ruby Tuesday Porsche Crawford. There should be a lot of my friends and family from karting there and I hope to put on a good show for everyone.
"[To win] it will take getting everything right - from pit strategy to driving to the car set up - every piece of it. There are too many good teams and driver combinations this year to get anything wrong."
Through the first four races, the team has worked tirelessly to keep the car competitive in a field full of new chassis and improved powerplants. And, to date, the team has demonstrated they can run up front with the competition. This is evidenced by the fact that the team has led laps in three of the first four races, including a second place finish at Homestead-Miami.
"Our team has done an excellent job of keeping us in every race and with a chance to win it," Team Owner Alex Job said. "Bill and Joey have both had their work cut out for them at times this year with the car and each time they've risen to the challenge. This just shows how competitive they are. This competitive spirit has been a positive influence on the entire team. It has pushed each of us to step up our game and I believe we have.
"We won this race last year. So, we obviously know how to win there. And, with Bill and Joey's past success at Laguna, I like our chances to win it again."
Currently, Auberlen and Hand are sixth in the Daytona Prototype driver point standings with 90 points (47 points behind the point leaders), while the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team is sixth in the Daytona Prototype team point standings also with 90 points.
Round Five practices get underway with a one-hour combined DP and GT session at 10:30 a.m. (PDT) Friday, May 16, immediately followed by a 30-minute DP only practice at 11:30. Combined practice resumes at 3 p.m., followed by DP qualifying at 4:50. The Rum Bum.com 250 starts at 1:45 p.m. (PDT) Saturday, May 17. Race fans can catch this weekend's action at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 18 on SPEED.