Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Finishes 10th at Iowa Speedway NEWTON, Iowa (July 13, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team brought home a solid top-10 finish tonight in Round Nine of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series ...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Finishes 10th at Iowa Speedway
NEWTON, Iowa (July 13, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team brought home a solid top-10 finish tonight in Round Nine of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve race at Iowa Speedway.
Driver Patrick Long started the race from the outside of row three in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype and was in that same position when the first round pit stops occurred on lap 38 of the 192-lap event. At that point, defending Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion Jorg Bergmeister got into the car for his only stint of the night.
When Bergmeister returned to the track, he was in 11th-place and proceeded to pick up two more positions over the next 47 laps before the race went yellow for the second time on lap 85. On lap 86, Bergmeister brought the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to pit lane for a full pit stop and a driver change. By the time all of the lead cars cycled through their pit stops, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team found themselves in fifth-place when the race went green on lap 90.
"I think the car was pretty good," Bergmeister said of both his and Long's first stints in the car. "Unfortunately, I got stuck in traffic behind Christian [Fittipaldi] and could not get by. But, Patrick was able to run some pretty competitive lap times.
With Long back in the car, he moved to fourth place by lap 100, a position he would not relinquish until late in the race with nine to go. Long was on his way to giving the team its first top-five finish, since winning the Round Five race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, when Long slid up the banking in Turn Two on lap 183. With seven laps remaining, Long radioed to the team that he thought he had a right front flat tire and came to the pits to change it. After the tire change, Long returned to the track in seventh-place, but then was told he had to come back in to serve a drive thru penalty for speeding on pit lane. Long served the drive thru and was in 10th with two laps remaining, which is where he finished.
"Greg Fordahl (the car engineer) got this car where it needed it to be," Long said. "But, unfortunately the end result is very disappointing. We don't know what happened at the end -- whether I got a little bit of contact from the (number) 75 car or if I missed diagnosed what I thought was a flat tire. On this kind of track, I chose to be on the safe side (and came into the pits) and it didn't pay off tonight. On pace, it shows that we can run with these guys through a long stint. I think I showed I had the fitness (to finish well) and to give it all away in the final laps is pretty disappointing."
"It is very disappointing to run as well as we did, we could have finished fourth or fifth, and then to give it away in the last few laps," team owner Alex Job said. "But, Patrick thought he had a flat tire and what he had was pick-up from being forced off of the racing line. The combination of coming in to change the tire and then speeding on pit lane put us back to 10th -- very disappointing."
The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team has one win, two top-five and seven top-10 finishes this season. The team heads south to Birmingham, Ala. July 19-22 for Round 10 of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, as part of the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant.