Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Snake Bit in Desert Avondale, Arizona -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team endured a difficult weekend to finish 20th tonight in round seven of the Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Snake Bit in Desert
Avondale, Arizona -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team endured a difficult weekend to finish 20th tonight in round seven of the Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Reserve Gainsco Grand Prix to be run at Phoenix International Raceway.
The day started on a high note with drivers Mike Morellat, Rockenfeller and Patrick Long running at the top of the time sheet in the prerace warm-up. This gave the team a much needed boost in spirits after working until 3:00 a.m. in the morning making repairs following the qualifying race crash last night.
What has been a difficult weekend for the Alex Job Racing crew was exacerbated when a faulty alternator forced Mike Rockenfeller to pit on lap 33 of the two-and-a-half-hour night race. At the time the young German had made an amazing run from his 19th starting position to fifth when the team called him in to make the repair. The resulting fix sent the Ruby Tuesday car number 23 down the results sheet several laps making the weekend a character builder.
Mike Rockenfeller had an excellent start. "We were fifth when I pitted the car just 35-minutes into the race. The car was good and I could pretty much drive it anywhere on the track. We had the speed to win today, but not the fortune. We have had two difficult races in a row and have fallen back in the championship. We will be ready for Watkins Glen in June."
Pat Long was hopeful early. "Mike looked really strong coming through the field. I was getting excited to get in and keep us going to the front. We really looked like we had something for them today after our problems. We had another technical issue this weekend like at Laguna last Sunday. The team has worked hard these past couple of days and it would have been a nice reward to give them a podium finish, but that will have to wait until the Glen."
"I hope that we are getting all of this hard luck out of system on this West Coast swing," said team owner Alex Job. "At Laguna we had our shift linkage problem and this weekend we had a laundry list of issues. The team really worked hard all weekend and put the car back together after the big crash on Friday night. They did such a good job that Mike and Patrick were able to lead the warm-up time sheet. Mike was having a great drive in the race and brought us back into contention until our alternator issue. The alternator is not an easy repair as it is at the front of a very hot motor."
Tonight's race will be televised on Speed Channel at 3:00 p.m. EST tomorrow, Sunday, May 14th. Round eight of the Grand American series will be the six hours of Watkins Glen on June 3rd.