Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team brings newly improved Crawford to Mid-Ohio TAVARES, Fla. - Though it's only been two weeks since the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team debuted its brand new Crawford DP08 bodywork at Watkins Glen ...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team brings newly improved Crawford to Mid-Ohio
TAVARES, Fla. - Though it's only been two weeks since the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team debuted its brand new Crawford DP08 bodywork at Watkins Glen International, the team has since learned a lot about its newly updated car.
In fact, the team learned more about the dynamics of its new bodywork in the two days following the Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Glen than it had previously known - mainly because the car went from having the new bodywork bolted on at Crawford Composites in Charlotte, N.C. straight to Watkins Glen without the benefit of being track tested.
The Monday following the Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Glen, the team stayed at Watkins Glen to participate in the Grand-Am sanctioned test session. The next day, the team took the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford to Langley, Va., to take part in the Grand-Am wind tunnel test. Following that test, the team drove the No. 23 machine straight back to Crawford to begin implementing what it had learned over those two test days.
Now with the new and necessary changes made, drivers Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand can't wait to do battle in this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"I love the track," Auberlen said of Mid-Ohio. "It's a very challenging track. It demands a very detailed set up on your race car. If you are spot on with your set up, you will have a fast race car all day long. Now, we have to make sure that we can make this new Crawford as good as it can be and that is the big job we have."
"We learned a lot at Watkins Glen and we learned a lot after the race during the test days," Hand said regarding the new bodywork. "But, I think we still have a steep learning curve. We are all hopeful that we will have something that is good enough for Bill and I to go racing.
"At Watkins Glen, we were pretty far off in the aero department [with it being a brand new bodywork package] and the team has been working on it since we left Watkins Glen. Mid-Ohio is a place that favors our car more [than Watkins Glen] and we should be better there."
"We saw some encouraging results from the test days," Team Owner Alex Job said. "We took the car back to Crawford to have some more work done on it and now it's ready for Bill and Joey to put it to the test at Mid-Ohio. As a team, we know how to be quick at Mid-Ohio. We were on the pole for this race in 2006 and I know both Bill and Joey have won races there. So, I like our chances this weekend."
Auberlen's last Grand-Am win at Mid-Ohio came in the 2006 Koni Challenge Series GS race, while Hand won the 2007 SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race. As a side note, Hand won the SPEED Touring Car race in his first appearance back to Mid-Ohio following his horrific crash in the 2006. Hand was leading Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT race when driver Paul Edwards made contact with the rear of Hand's car. The result sent Hand's BMW into the grass where it eventually went air born and flipped multiple times before coming to rest on its roof.`
"I flipped the car in 2006 and then, when I went back for the first time in 07, I won in my first World Challenge race," Hand said reminiscing about the accident. "It was kind of a crazy deal. Everyone I talked to said it [the track] owed me one. And, I kind of felt the same way - it kind of owed me something special.
"Mid-Ohio is kind of a special track to me because I survived that big old accident. When I came back last year and won that World Challenge race, it kind of got me out of that mindset that the track didn't like me. So, I am pretty much over the wreck, which is the great part because I was able to come back and have a great run. I am excited about running with Bill this weekend at Mid-Ohio because we've both run up front there."