TEAM NEWS: Ninth Place Finish For Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team At Homestead-Miami

Photo by John Thawley HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 24, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team clawed through adversity to post a ninth-place finish in Round Three of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

With high hopes following a strong third-place qualifying effort, drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister expected to deliver a strong showing for the Alex Job Racing-prepared No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype. Unfortunately, the solid start was quickly dashed when Colin Braun's No. 75 Daytona Prototype forced Long into a full spin on lap nine. That setback proved insurmountable.

"We were up to second-place early on and I felt we had a car to run consistently in the top-three throughout the race," Long said. "And then to be spun out by the [number] 75 car pretty much turned our whole race upside down. From that point on, it was just damage control."

The results of the spin were extensive, including forcing the team into an unscheduled tire change and dropping the team to as low as 15th-position by lap 33. For the duration of the race, it was a matter of trying to regain lost positions and score as many Rolex Series championship points as possible.

"At least we made up some of those lost positions, so that's the good thing about it," Bergmeister said. "But, overall it was a pretty frustrating race. We had that tough break at the beginning and, as a result, I only had one set of tires to work with. I had to save them [tires] as much as possible. I couldn't really push the car or be aggressive in any way."

"We finished in the top-10 with a ninth-place finish, but, quite frankly, that's a disappointment," team owner Alex Job said expecting more out of the team's finish. "After qualifying third and having a fast race car, things just didn't work out for us today. Once we were taken off course by Braun, the damage was done and it was the beginning of things getting out of sync for us for the remainder of the race. Hopefully it's not going to be a regular thing with Colin, because it happened again later in the race -- so it's up to the (Rolex) Series to control it."

Despite the day's difficulties, Las Vegas resident Long found reason for optimism. "Even though we've had our share of trials during this early season, there are still a lot of inspiring key moments," he said. "We just have to put them all together and get a little luck on our side. I know we are making progress in the grand scheme of things for the whole season. Unfortunately we were snake-bit by another driver's error, but the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team knows how to fight back from adversity and I believe we'll see that as the season wears on."

The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team next travels to Virginia International Raceway April 26-29 for Round Four of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

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