Patrick Long Qualifies Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Third At Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif. (May 18, 2007) -- Patrick Long almost put the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Porsche Crawford on the Grand-Am Rolex Series ...
Patrick Long Qualifies Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Third At Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 18, 2007) -- Patrick Long almost put the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Porsche Crawford on the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve pole for Sunday's U.S. Sports Car Invitational delivered by Luggage Express at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Long just missed the top spot by 0.069-second behind the pole-winning No. 99 Pontiac Riley and, as a result, will start on the inside of row two.
Under overcast skies, rolling fog and temperatures near 50-degrees, Long used most of the qualifying session before setting his fast lap of 1:20.856 (99.644 mph) in the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford. At the time Long set his fast lap, he was second quickest in the session. But, just as the session ended, a late flier by the No. 10 Pontiac Riley bumped the Ruby Tuesday team from the front row.
"We thought we might have had a shot at the front row," Long said of his qualifying run. "Unfortunately, we got held up with a few bits of adversity. We ran out of fuel on the last flier, which [the lap time] was looking pretty good. But, that is all behind us now and it is on to the race. This is one of the most difficult championships I have ever been in and it's is only getting stronger."
"We knew that we had to make a run against the number 99 car for the pole," team owner Alex Job said of his team's qualifying effort. "We were right there until the very last lap. We cut it close on fuel and unfortunately Patrick had to go to the reserve. So, on the last lap the [number] 10 car got us for second. It [the times] is so close, it's incredible. It was a good run. We had hoped for a front row start. We qualified third, so we are right up front which is really important here. It was good qualifying run. Patrick did a great job. We should have a good race."
Long will share driving duties with the defending Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion Jorg Bergmeister. Long will start the two-hour and thirty minute race and then turn the car over to Bergmeister, who will look to put the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Porsche Crawford in victory circle for the first time this season.
With one top-five and three top-10 finishes this season, Bergmeister and Long both sit in seventh place with 89 points (38 points behind the leaders) in the Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Driver Point standings. Similarly, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing team is also in seventh place in the Grand-Am Rolex Series Team Point standings with 89 points.