|GRAND AMERICAN ROAD RACING ASSOCIATION|
|Derhaag Motorsports Gets Top Ten Finish |
|Good Start For Team In Long Beach|
|Derhaag Motorsports Gets Top Ten Finish In Daytona Prototype At The Long Beach Grand Prix |
In just their fourth start in the Grand American Daytona Prototype Series, Derhaag Motorsports with drivers Chris Bingham and Randy Ruhlman got their first top ten of the season at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The team, who last year won the Trans-Am race here, combined solid crew work with fast driving to claim the tenth place position in the 90-minute, 52 lap race at the street course of the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach.
Starting fourteenth on the grid of 26 top-notch cars, Chris Bingham got things going in the No.40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley through the first fast driving stint, and moved up until the first caution flag came out. Ruhlman took over driving duties after the early caution and continued to work the car to the front group and a well-deserved tenth place finish.
"I got a good start and was getting a nice rhythm going early," said Bingham. " It was fun to drive here on the streets of Long Beach. We were doing pretty well and getting faster each lap. We had moved up nicely, but when those cars crashed on the front stretch, there were debris and body parts all over the track, everywhere. I managed to avoid the big pieces, and then we had to pit when that caution came out."
Ruhlman took over driving after the pit stop and first caution. The car caught an unlucky break when it got stuck behind the pace car and lost some positions, putting Ruhlman out in eighteen place. He worked his way up to tenth, ahead of the Lowe's sponsored machine of Adrian Fernandez and behind the eighth place 2005 Championship winning SunTrust car of Max Angelelli and ninth place Mike Borkowski.
Ruhlman said after the race, "It was great to be back at Long Beach. We won here last year in Trans-Am, so of course, we wanted to be up front again. But a tenth place in just our fourth race in Grand Am is not bad at all. There are some great drivers out here with us and some teams with incredible experience in the Grand Am Daytona Prototype Series. We are getting better and better each race. This was a fun little car to drive here, too. It just squirts around the corners."
"Both Chris and I lost some of the responsiveness in the engine for the race. It was especially bad coming out of the hairpin turn, the car just had no power there. We think it must have been the fuel mapping, since a couple other teams had the same problem. It made it impossible to get any run on people onto the long straight away. Both Chris and I could catch up to people in the corners and then just didn't quite have enough to get past them with the low power there. We did well with tenth place. I'd like to go back and do it all over again. I love this place!!" finished Ruhlman. "It's a simple engine fix, so for VIR in a couple of weeks, we'll be back to full speed and looking for another good finish."
This weekend marked a return to the streets of Long Beach California for the drivers of the No.40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Both Randy Ruhlman and Chris Bingham had driving experience at the Long Beach Grand Prix race and were happy to take on the challenges of this fast, 1.968-mile street course that runs along the beautiful Long Beach harbour. Bingham, who has concentrated on Grand American racing for the past few years, was at Long Beach in the Indy Lights program in 1997. Ruhlman's win at last year's Long Beach Grand Prix Trans-Am race marked the beginning of his run for the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship with Derhaag Motorsports.
Bingham is a professional racing driver with an impressive resume and years of experience. He has competed in the Busch Grand National Series, open wheel racing in Indy Lights, as well as IRL, and has extensive endurance racing experience. As a two-time Rolex Sports Car Series GTS champion, Bingham was nominated as one of the "Best Road Racers of the Year" in 2002. He made his return to full time Rolex Series racing in 2004, piloting the No.15 CB Motorsports car, before joining the Derhaag Motorsports team for 2006.
Ruhlman, who just came off a successful 2005 season in the Trans-Am Series with wins at both the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Cleveland Grand Prix, has driven at the Long Beach Grand Prix since his Rookie Year in the 1990 Trans-Am Series. Chris Bingham, the two-time Grand American GTS champion, was a top competitor in Daytona Prototypes last year.
As well as being the winner of the 2005 Long Beach Grand Prix Trans-Am race, Randy Ruhlman was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year", won the Cleveland Grand Prix, and was runner up for the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship. Ruhlman makes the record books as fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history. A veteran race car driver, Ruhlman has extensive racing experience, predominantly in road racing in the Trans-Am Series, as well as in IMSA, ASA and the NASCAR short track series.
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