Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Still Chasing First 2007 Season Win, Looks To Defend Grand Prix of Miami Title TAVARES, Fla. (March 19, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team looks to defend its Grand Prix of Miami race title...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Still Chasing First 2007 Season Win, Looks To Defend Grand Prix of Miami Title
TAVARES, Fla. (March 19, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team looks to defend its Grand Prix of Miami race title from a year ago, when they take to the track Saturday, March 24 for Round Three of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Alex Job Racing prepared No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche powered Crawford Daytona Prototype was on the pole for last year's race and led 64 of the 107 laps to capture its first win of the 2006 season. This year, pilots Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long will look to replicate that effort in search of the team's first 2007 win.
"We are going into Homestead with a lot of motivation, as we won our first race there last year," Long said looking forward to defending the title. "It helps with our confidence, but the car this year is very different from the one last year. This year's car has added weight. We will have to focus on tire management and car setup to be a repeat winner."
In an effort to put the car on the pole at the 2.3-mile, 11-turn speedway road course, the team will need a near perfect car setup, as the 20-degree high-bank turns and the tightly positioned infield can prove to be quite a challenge for the drivers and crew.
"Homestead is a real compact circuit, using the infield road course," Bergmeister said. "You have to have a setup on the car that can get you through NASCAR turns three and four pretty much flat to be able to run a top time. The infield is pretty tight, so hopefully getting around the banking fast will put you in a position to pass in the infield. AJR won the race last year, so I think we will be really good."
Through the first Two Rounds of the Grand-Am season, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team has experienced its share of challenges. But, with keeping true to the organizational mantra of Quality, Passion, Pride, the team has persevered and is fifth (45 points) in the Grand-Am Rolex Series team point standings. Likewise, Bergmeister and Long are tied for fifth (45 points) in the Grand-Am Rolex Series driver point standings.
"It hasn't been the start of the season that we had hoped for," Long said. "We did a lot of off-season testing and we have really struggled in most of the practice sessions so far this year. At Daytona, it was an uphill battle and so was the beginning of the weekend at Mexico City. We were able to salvage good finishes and we are still relatively strong in the points. We need to get a little farther up the field to be in contention for podium and maximum point paying positions."
"Our optimism going into the season was very high," Bergmeister said. "The team did a lot of testing in the off season. The AJR guys had a year under their belt with the car and the circuits. In Daytona, we had some issues and at Mexico City things didn't go according to plan either. We were able to come away with a top five finish [in Mexico City], but we really hoped for more by this point. We are still chasing the right car setup with the revised Hoosier tire, but the team remains optimistic and we have some really good tracks coming up."
"We are looking for history to repeat itself," team owner Alex Job said reminiscing back to last year's win from the pole position. "Last year, we got our first Grand-Am win at Miami and we are anticipating the same result this year. Though we've had our challenges early on this season, we hope those are behind us now and we can focus on defending our race title this weekend."