Bingham and Ruhlman recover from qualifying race crash to finish thirteenth at Phoenix Daytona Prototype race Phoenix, AZ (May 16, 2006) -- Despite getting caught up in a qualifying crash that took out six of the top Daytona Prototypes in ...
Bingham and Ruhlman recover from qualifying race crash to finish thirteenth at Phoenix Daytona Prototype race
Phoenix, AZ (May 16, 2006) -- Despite getting caught up in a qualifying crash that took out six of the top Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Cup field, drivers Chris Bingham and Randy Ruhlman and the Derhaag Motorsports team recovered to finish thirteenth in the #40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley in Saturday night's The GAINSCO Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway. Starting from the back of the grid, the drivers and team marched the car forward through the twenty four-car field of "all-star" Daytona Prototype drivers to a thirteenth place finish in class and a thirteenth place overall finish in the 37-car combined DP and GT field.
Friday night, Phoenix was the site of a full points qualifying race to set the race grid for the Rolex Cup cars. Midway through the 30-minute qualifying race, a crash involving six cars, caught Bingham up on the tight inner section of the 1.51-mile road/oval course. The incident that damaged the front running cars, including the #40 Derhaag Motorsports Daytona Prototype, prompted officials to suspend from competition Oswaldo Negri of the #60 Michael Shank Racing team for his role in starting the wreck. Along with the instigating #60 car, the qualifying incident took out the Crown Royal car of Christian Fittipaldi and Eddie Cheever, the #40 Preformed Line Products car, the twice-winning Ruby Tuesday Porsche of Long and Rockenfeller, the Red Bull car of Darren Law, and the #4 car of Andy Wallace.
Teams worked long and hard to repair the Friday night qualifying damage and get the cars, some severely damaged, ready for Saturday evening's 250-mile race. Despite the extreme heat, with air temperatures reported as high as 104 degrees during the day, all of the teams, including Derhaag Motorsports, repaired their equipment and made the grid for the start of Saturday's race. The 149-lap GAINSCO Grand Prix got under way at 7 PM for two hours, forty-five minutes of racing as Round Seven of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
Ruhlman drove the first stint in the car and, after starting from the back of the field, made his way to up to 15th place overall by Lap 32. At the first of two yellow flag pit stops for tires and gas and the mandatory driver change, the car fell back to nineteenth. Bingham took over the driving duties and worked cleanly through traffic to get the car back up front for the finish in thirteenth place in class and thirteenth overall in the combined 37-car DP and GT field.
At the halfway point in the season, Derhaag Motorsports is currently sixteenth in Team Championship points, including the three full points qualifying races. Following this week's qualifying wreck in Round Seven at Phoenix, and potential disaster of having a large number of cars not make the race itself, Grand American has decided that the experimental format of qualifying races was not successful. They will return to regular qualifying sessions to set the grid for the remaining seven races of the 2006 Rolex Cup season.