RUMAN FINISHES 5TH IN SCCA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RUNOFFS
DISAPPOINTMENT IN MUSCLE MILK SCCA TRANS-AM RACE - BOTH AT ROAD AMERICA
Munroe Falls, OH -- The 2009 racing season has officially come to a close for Amy Ruman and the Ruman Racing team. During the ten long days in Elkhart Lake, WI, Ruman and the team had many ups and downs at Road America which began with the Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am season finale.
The Trans-Am race was September 20th. During qualifying, Ruman had a car problem on lap 1 and had to pit. While the crew was able to work out the problem, the session was red flagged due to an on-track incident. When the track went green, Ruman set out to get in a good lap when another red flag occurred and the session was halted again, leaving Ruman with no qualifying time. Worrying that the session would expire, she waited at pit out. Luckily, race control said there would be enough time for one out lap and one hot lap before the session was over, so Ruman zoomed out and was able to lay down a one lap qualifier scoring her 6th spot on the grid! In the race, Ruman had a great start and edged out Cliff Ebben by turn one, advancing her to 5th and running tight with the lead pack. That would be short lived, and on lap five she lost the engine on the back straight.
"It was a huge disappointment to lose that engine," stated Ruman. "I was going to run the same engine for the Runoffs race because it was the only 358 in our stable."
Following the Trans-am race on Sunday, the week-long 46th annual running of the famed SCCA National Championship Runoffs began from Sept. 21-27th. The SCCA Runoffs brings together the top national drivers from across the country to compete for the title of National Champion in their respective car classes. Only those who place in the top-10 in their Division points standings are eligible to compete. Ruman ran her familiar #23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette in her seventh appearance at the Runoffs.
The GT-1 class only saw a completely dry track on the last qualifying session, where Ruman drove hard to put herself 7th in the starting lineup. She was one of the only cars in the field running a smaller 310 cubic inch engine, while most of the drivers in the field ran the bigger horsepower 358 engines. If she had qualified with the same time that she qualified with for the Trans-Am race, she would have qualified in the second spot for the Runoffs race.
The field took the green flag and Ruman found herself in trouble quickly. By turn five, the field bottlenecked and slowed into the corner. Ruman cut to the inside for a shot up the inside of the hill to turn six, but caught the wrong gear and dropped three spots to 10th. While in a dogfight back to the front of the pack, Ruman and the #3 car driven by Kyle Kelley were side by side coming out of turn 7. Kelley did not cut Ruman any slack and moved over hitting the #23 and forcing her into the grass. Ruman regained control and had to tuck in behind him.
The two of them moved up through the pack, all the while Ruman right on Kelley's bumper. Ruman made several attempts to pass, but could not get it done. On the final lap of the race the two had a wicked battle for fourth spot. Ruman pulled alongside of Kelley's Camaro in the last turn of the track, the two touched and went spinning. Both drivers got going again and held on to 4th and 5th slots respectively, having built enough of a lead over 6th position.
"What can I say, I have mixed emotions about that race," exclaimed Ruman. "I was so mad at myself when I hit the wrong gear coming out of turn 5 because I knew I would be behind the eight ball if any of the guys got in front of me on this horsepower track. I just don't have the torque they do coming off the corners with the 310 motor. I had quite a battle going with Kelley, and I just couldn't get any of my passes to stick. Unfortunately, he didn't give me a whole lot of room when I did get beside him and I think that was a way for him to insure that I wouldn't get past him. I was happy to finally get a solid top-five finish again at the Runoffs, but disappointed that I didn't have the motor for a podium."
"I want to send a heartfelt thank you out to all of my sponsors, McNichols Co., Goodyear, and Cenweld for another great season of racing. Without them, I could not do what I love to do!"