Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Wins VIR Quality. Passion. Pride. -- Victory Rockenfeller and Long Lead Drivers Points Alton, Virginia m- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team won the VIR 400 today at Virginia International Raceway....
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Wins VIR
Quality. Passion. Pride. -- Victory
Rockenfeller and Long Lead Drivers Points
Alton, Virginia m- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team won the VIR 400 today at Virginia International Raceway. A thrilling last lap, last turn pass from third position by Mike Rockenfeller sealed the team's second victory of the year in round five of the Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal. The victory also vaults Rockenfeller and teammate Patrick Long into the drivers points lead in the Daytona Prototype category.
Starting from the front row, Patrick Long raced into the lead on the first lap into the first turn. The young Californian was able to pace the field for the first 30 laps until a caution period slowed the action and he pitted on lap 31. Mike Rockenfeller took over the number 23 Alex Job Racing prepared Porsche Crawford returning to the fight in eighth place. From that position Rockenfeller ran steady fast laps until reaching third position. On the last lap, what looked like a certain bottom step of the podium became victory in the last turn. The leading number 10 car was slowed by a GT competitor and the 01 also had to lift, opening the door for Rockenfeller to rocket by to take the win.The victory is the team's second in the young Grand Am schedule, the first coming at Homestead last month. Rockenfeller and Long lead the driver's championship by five over their second place pursuers.
Mike Rockenfeller was the hero of the day. "It was a great win. Pat did a great job to lead the race during his stint and turn over the car with a lot left. The yellow came out and we had just passed the pits so some of the other cars beat us to pit lane. I left in eighth and just focused on running clean laps and hoping the race would come back to me. The last lap I thought the race was over until the last turn when a GT car slowed the number 10 car and the 01, a gap opened and I raced through it to the win. It was redemption for the qualifying race."
Pat Long did an excellent job to lead the opening stint. "I had a good start and was able to negotiate the traffic to keep the car in the lead. The car was handling great and the Porsche power was keeping me out front. When the caution came on lap 30 we had just passed pit entry and we were beaten to the stop by a few cars. The team did a fast pit stop and Mike was able to make up ground. He was the man on the last lap, a great battle and a great win for the team."
"It was an exciting finish!" said Alex Job. "Pat did a great job at the beginning to put the car in the lead. Mike was able to stay the course with consistency and some nice moves until the last lap. We had just about settled for third until we saw the action in turn 17 and he drove through the melee to take the win. It was a great second win and what a debut for the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team."
The team will see its next racing action in round six of the Grand Am series at Laguna Seca on May 7th.