Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Finishes 17th at Montreal MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (Aug. 3, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished 17th in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Finishes 17th at Montreal
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (Aug. 3, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team finished 17th in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype race at the Circuit Gilles-Villenueve, as part of the Montreal 400k.
Piloting the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype (DP), Patrick Long started today's race from pit lane because the team did not record a qualifying time due to a fuel pump failure. What this scenario meant was that the team needed to execute an aggressive race strategy in order to give Long an early opportunity to work his way through the field.
The team's race strategy, coupled with Long's blistering race pace, paid immediate dividends as he found himself in third by lap 23. In fact, on lap 33, Long recorded the team's fastest race lap with a 1:36.572 (which was the team's fastest lap all weekend). On lap 34, the race's third caution came out and Long came to pit lane for a driver change, fuel and tires.
By the time the pit stops cycled through, co-driver Jorg Bergmeister was in ninth when the race went green on lap 40. Early in Bergmeister's stint, he picked up where his teammate left off -- pushing hard toward the front. Unfortunately, six laps later Bergmeister hit the Turn Nine wall. The car sustained right front suspension damage, subsequently ending the team's race.
"This weekend showed the highs and lows of racing," Long said. "It [the weekend] started out really well in practice and then we had an unfortunate incident in qualifying. At the start of the race, we went for an optimistic strategy and it paid off brilliantly. Not only was Mike Evans' strategy good, but the car setup was great. We had a car that was running for the lead, but unfortunately it's really tough here at this street course. There are walls and that means there is no room for error. It can happen to anyone of us out there. We are all pushing as hard as possible. Unfortunately, there was some dirt and it just took Jorg out. But, the positive is, the car was very good and I think we've found where we need to be with these last few races."
"There was a lot of dirt in the exit of the chicane," Bergmeister said. "I was pushing pretty hard. When I got to about mid-corner of the chicane, I had some oversteer. I tried to correct it and when I did I went a little too wide -- hit some dirt and then the wall. It was my fault."
"It was good to start from dead last in pit lane and drive it up to third," team owner Alex Job said optimistically. "It's a shame that the official at the end of pit lane did not let us go in time at the start of the race. Had they let us go when they should have, we would have been in the lead instead of third after all the pit stops settled down -- that would've been nice. But, we had a solid third-place run going.
"When we did our pit stop, we fell back a bit because we had to take on more fuel than everybody else. We came out in ninth and we still had a long way to go [in the race]. But, unfortunately, Jorg got into some dirt and went into the wall on the right side and that ended our day. The car was fast all weekend, so I am very optimistic about our chances heading into Watkins Glen next weekend."
The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team returns to Watkins Glen International Aug. 9-10 to compete in the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen. The Round 12 race marks the second time this season that the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series has raced at the 2.45-mile road course.