Promising Mexico City weekend for Derhaag Motorsports Daytona Prototype program, ends early MEXICO CITY (March 4, 2006) The ...
Promising Mexico City weekend for Derhaag Motorsports Daytona Prototype program, ends early
MEXICO CITY (March 4, 2006) The #40 Preformed Line Products Derhaag Motorsports Daytona Prototype had a very promising weekend at the Mexico City Grand American race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The car started in the eighth row and moved up quickly with Randy Ruhlman at the helm for the first stint of the 250-mile race at the 2.518-mile 8-turn track. Traffic was a problem throughout the day, and finally took its toll for Chris Bingham, who took over driving duties midway. After marking the car's fastest times of the weekend, Bingham end up the victim of a slower car, which ended the #40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype's day early.
The first two days of testing saw the team develop several updates to the car since their successful debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The benefits of these updates was realized in qualifying where Randy Ruhlman positioned the #40 car fifteenth position in the twenty five car Daytona Prototype field. His qualifying time was the fastest time the car had run all weekend.
In front of a full chalet of Preformed Line Products Mexico guests, Ruhlman advanced in the opening laps and kept the car in contention, until he was hit in the rear wheel after passing a slower GT car. Although no damage was apparent immediately, after five more laps Ruhlman began to complain about an ever-increasing vibration. This intensified until the 48th lap, when the vibration increased to such a degree that safety began to be a concern. Thankfully this coincided with the first yellow of the race, and the team made a stop for tires, fuel and the driver change.
After a smooth and quick driver change under a continuing yellow, Bingham took over driving duties. With heavy traffic from the outset, Bingham quickly showed his pace with fast times and began to gain positions. After passing cars safely for more than twenty-five laps, Bingham was poised to bring the #40 car home to another good finish when misfortune ensued after a pass on a slow car.
The day ended prematurely, as Bingham, who was turning the car's fastest laps of the weekend, made a clean pass on a considerably slower Daytona Prototype car. Bingham had made several passing attempts over the prior laps, and finally had a clear opportunity to pass on the inside of Turn Seven and Eight. With the cars side-by-side in Turn Eight, the other car closed the door, pushing #40 Derhaag Motorsports car into the wall. The resulting contact sent both cars careening across the track into the opposite wall, unfortunately ending the day for both cars.
Although not taking the checkered flag, the #40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley scored valuable points at the Mexico City race and will be ready for the next race. The Derhaag Motorsports team will have the damaged car repaired and ready to take the track at the next Grand American Rolex Cup race at Homestead on March 25th, where the veteran drivers look forward to continuing the progress of this new Daytona Prototype program.