Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Drives Through Field To Finish Sixth at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- On a day that featured the announcement of a one-year sponsorship renewal between Ruby Tuesday and Alex Job Racing, the day...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Drives Through Field To Finish Sixth at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- On a day that featured the announcement of a one-year sponsorship renewal between Ruby Tuesday and Alex Job Racing, the day was capped off by an impressive drive through the field from last to sixth by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in Round Seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
As part of the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank, Bergmeister started last on the grid due to a broken drive shaft that prevented the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team from qualifying. With that in mind, the early race strategy was to pit on the first lap and get the mandatory 45-minute pit stop out of the way and hope for an early-race caution to put the No. 23 Porsche Crawford back into contention.
Despite the fact the team did not get the early caution it had hoped for, the defending Daytona Prototype Drivers' Champion Bergmeister needed only 35 laps to find himself in the top five and running consistent fast race laps on par with the eventual race winning No. 99 Pontiac Riley.
"We did not have the luck we needed with the yellows," Bergmeister said of the team's need for an early-race caution. "We would have liked to have gotten a yellow within the first 20-minutes, and then our strategy would've played out a little better."
On lap 56, Bergmeister was running fifth when he brought the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche Crawford to pit lane for a routine stop, which included four new Hoosier tires, fuel and a driver change. Long, who is coming off his second-career LMGT2 win at the 24-Hours of Le Mans last weekend, got into the car for his only stint of the 111-lap race.
Long returned to the track in 15th place and proceeded to run consistent race laps in the 1:19s. By lap 78, Long managed to work his way into the top 10 and was up to sixth by lap 85. At this point, Long was more than 30 seconds behind positions two through five, who were running in a four-car nose-to-tail train. The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team desperately needed a caution to put the No. 23 Porsche Crawford in contention for a podium finish. Though the team did not get the caution they needed, they still put together an impressive sixth place finish.
"That was definitely one of the most challenging stints I have done in Grand-Am," Long said of his time in the car. "With not many people to race with, I was just out there me against the clock. The car was really good. We made a downforce change after Jorg's stint. I think that was the right change for straight line speed, but it made it a little more challenging to keep the tires under me. With the conditions changing, I think the air temperature helped us with the engine, but hurt us maybe a little bit with the handling. But, overall I am really happy with the result."
"The whole team did a good job this weekend," Bergmeister said. "Due to all of the problems we had earlier in the weekend, we were a little behind on our setup and we had less practice time than everybody else. Despite that, we still had a good setup on the car and we were able to push pretty hard."
"We would have preferred something better than P6 today," team owner Alex Job said. "But, considering the whole race went with no yellows and we started dead last, we will definitely take P6.
"It is a shame that we had that problem [broken drive shaft] yesterday and weren't able to qualify because I am pretty confident we would've been on the podium if would have had the chance to qualify and start where we should have. The car was fast and Greg Fordahl did a great job on the car setup today. The car was really good."