Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Qualifies Fifth at Miller Motorsports Park TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 14, 2007) -- Patrick Long will start the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford Daytona Prototype on the inside...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Qualifies Fifth at Miller Motorsports Park
TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 14, 2007) -- Patrick Long will start the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford Daytona Prototype on the inside of row three following qualifying for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park.
Long set his fast time of 2:41.350 (100.090 mph) early in the 15-minute qualifying session, this was second-best at the time. But, as the session continued four other competitors put in faster times dropping Long to fifth quickest. Over the next three qualifying laps Long tried to better his time but couldn't quite set a faster lap.
At this time, Long radioed to the team that he thought that was all the car had. Convinced that the car might have just a little more, team owner Alex Job told him to cool his tires on the next lap and then go for it one more time. With time running out on the session, Long came down the front straight for one final try. With four turns remaining on the 24-turn, 4.486-mile road course, Long was on pace to put the car on the pole when a small spin in turn 20 ended his front row run.
"To qualify fifth against all of the team's top drivers says a lot for the never say die attitude of the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team," Long said of the team's qualifying effort. "This qualifying position is a good moral booster for the team. I think Greg [Fordahl] really did a good job of not getting discouraged by all the challenges we faced with the car in practice and gave us an awesome car for qualifying. Congrats to him and the team.
"Tomorrow we'll have to be consistent in the pits and with our strategy. If we can do that and stay out of trouble, I would be pretty disappointed if we weren't a top five car. That being said, with a little bit of luck coupled with how good the car has gotten in the last 24-hours, we could very easily be on the podium at the end of the race. And, that would be a huge finish to the season."
"We're quite happy [with qualifying]," driver Mike Rockenfeller said. "I think Patrick did a good job and P5 is a very good result. It's a long race. Hopefully we can find a good setup for the race. If our pace is good and we stay out of trouble, I think we will do well. I'm quite happy and I'm looking forward to the race."
"I think the whole team did a good job," driver Jorg Bergmeister said. "I did not drive the car in the morning practice. But, both Patrick and Rocky said the car wasn't great. So, Greg made a bunch of changes to the car, which obviously worked pretty well. P5 is a good place to start and hopefully we can improve throughout the long race."
"It's a long race and to start fifth that's not too bad," Job said. "Obviously you always shoot for more. But, considering how our weekend has gone to this point, too qualify fifth is good. I am very pleased with it. Patrick did a great job."