The #40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype took the checkered flag for the finish of the 44th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona. Overcoming two major repairs that each cost the team time and laps, the drivers and crew of Derhaag Motorsports were forced to come from the back twice to retake hard earned positions. The car scored its first finish of the season in 13th place in the Daytona Prototype class and 29th overall with 66 cars starting the twenty-four hour ultimate American endurance racing challenge.
Ron Fellows started the race and took the blue and white Pontiac Riley through the critical first two hours of intense competition. The plan was to run double stints for the drivers, taking fuel and tires at the hour and driver change every two hours. Just as Fellows was about to bring the car in for the exchange to Chris Bingham, something locked up and failed in the rear suspension area. The car had to be towed to the garages where the #40 car became the first in a long line of Daytona Prototypes to experience CV joint boot failure.
The 40-minute repair had Bingham returning to the track running as fast as ever, but with a long way to go. The car had fallen from 13th to 60th position overall. With traffic and early racing still very active, Bingham was able to make up ground and begin to gain positions. Randy Ruhlman took over for the twilight stint taking his first ever laps in a Rolex 24 hour race. Bingham and Ruhlman had worked the car to position 39 overall by the time Ruhlman turned the car over to Justin Bell. He kept up the pace and moved the car up the ladder toward a possible top spot. The driver rotations planned to continue throughout the night and into the final hours.
At the end of Fellows' second stint the #40 car was now up in the 20th position overall. Unfortunately, the beginnings of a slipping clutch worsened and had Bingham driving to the garage where it was to be repaired. The crew changed the clutch in 25 minutes, only to find a more serious development that would delay the return of the car to the track for another hour and a half.
Bingham finally returned to the track at 12:45PM having fallen back to 40th position, almost 104 laps behind the leaders. With determination, the drivers and crew continued to make progress throughout the night, avoiding the many crashes and incidents that occurred during the evening hours and making perfect pit stops every time. By the end of the twenty-four hours, the #40 Preformed Line Products took a very satisfying checkered flag in 29th position overall and a 13th place finish in class.
The driver lineup for the 2006 Rolex24 At Daytona looked like a veritable "who's who in racing" with Champions from every form of road racing, NASCAR, IRL, Champ Car, and Trans-Am. Joining that esteemed group for this year's Rolex24 was Derhaag Motorsports' full season drivers, Chris Bingham and Randy Ruhlman, along with top Canadian Chevrolet factory driver Ron Fellows and endurance specialist Justin Bell.
Ron Fellows has an overall Daytona24 win to his credit (in 2001), as well as multiple wins at LeMans (in 2001 and 2002), while Bell and Bingham have extensive experience at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Bell is a LeMans winner, as well. Ruhlman, having competed in endurance racing early in his career and most recently concentrating on the Trans-Am Series Championship, finished his first Rolex24 at Daytona today.
The Derhaag Motorsports Pontiac Riley carries primary sponsorship from Preformed Line Products with additional sponsorship logos of Coyote Closures®, Park Place Ltd, KeyBank and McDonald Financial Group.
Preformed Line Products (PLP) is an international manufacturer and supplier of hardware and support systems for the communications and energy industries. Products include the COYOTE® Closure and GUY-GRIP® Dead-End used in the telecommunications, cable and energy industries. Manufacturing facilities are located worldwide in the USA, Canada, China, Brazil, Mexico, England, Spain, South Africa, Australia and Thailand.
Cleveland-based KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $92 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally.
McDonald Financial Group offers comprehensive financial services to affluent individuals from 87 offices in 15 states. As part of Cleveland-based KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY), McDonald Financial Group combines the capabilities of McDonald Investments Inc.'s Private Client Group, member NASD/NYSE/SIPC, and Key PrivateBank. McDonald Financial Group offers banking, estate planning, financial planning, retirement planning, brokerage, trust, individual asset management, insurance advice and services, and charitable giving counsel.
Photo links: http://www.randyruhlman.com/gallery