Patrick Long Qualifies The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team In Third Spot for Grand Prix of Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- Patrick Long and the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype ...
Patrick Long Qualifies The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team In Third Spot for Grand Prix of Miami
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- Patrick Long and the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype will take the green flag from the inside of row two following qualifying for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami tomorrow afternoon.
With consistent improvement every time the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford took to the track, Long hit his stride on lap four of his seven-circuit qualifying stint to post a time of 1:14:449 (111.053 mph) and secure third-place among the 20-car Daytona Prototype field. This result greatly improves upon the team's previous-best eighth place qualifying position at both Daytona and Mexico City earlier this season.
"I'm very happy with third-place," Long said of his qualifying run. "The team did an awesome job of staying persistent and improving the car every time we've gone onto the track. We actually focused on race set-up during practice, so to be this far forward in qualifying is a nice surprise - but hopefully we can make it last throughout the race and lock in a podium finish."
"Patrick did a great job," teammate Jorg Bergmeister said. "P3 (third place) is the best qualifying result for us so far, so we're very happy. We knew by the end of the second practice session that we had our quickest car to that point, so now we expect to have a really good car for the race."
Team owner Alex Job is happy with the qualifying results as well, but thinks winning the pole position was definitely within grasp of the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team.
"We're happy to have qualified third, but I believe we had a real chance at the pole (position)," Job stated. "Our data from practice showed we had a 1:14:3 car and that's exactly what the pole speed turned out to be.
"Our guys did a great job and we were prepared for qualifying well ahead of schedule. We got in line to roll out to pit row and that apparently created some confusion with the process for lining the cars up to start qualifying. The result was that we were held until all the other cars had begun the qualifying session and we were the last ones to exit the pits. Unfortunately, the confusion threw off our qualifying strategy and somewhat interfered with our effort to execute that plan, so as happy as we are with qualifying third, we think we may have been able to do better even.
"Fortunately though, I've already met with (Grand-Am) series officials and I'm lead to believe that a specific procedure will be in place by our next event which will prevent this situation from occurring in the future. So hopefully this is an isolated situation."