Blown Tire Cuts Logan Ruffin's USARacing Pro Cup Series Debut Short at Iowa: The 15-Year-Old Finishes in the 13th Position NEWTON, Iowa (September 22, 2009) -- Logan Ruffin headed to Iowa Speedway with his sights set on capturing the checkered...
Blown Tire Cuts Logan Ruffin's USARacing Pro Cup Series Debut Short at Iowa: The 15-Year-Old Finishes in the 13th Position
NEWTON, Iowa (September 22, 2009) -- Logan Ruffin headed to Iowa Speedway with his sights set on capturing the checkered flag and taking his No. 31 Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet to Victory Lane. It didn't matter that Saturday night's race was Ruffin's USARacing Pro Cup Series debut, in addition to his first race with Turner Motorsports, LLC. Unfortunately, numerous problems placed obstacles in Ruffin's way, but in the face of these challenges, the young talent displayed adversity and maturity. During the 200-lap race, a right-front tire blew with 67 laps remaining, which caused Ruffin to slam into the outside wall and catch on fire after the fuel pump ruptured. Ruffin, who was running in seventh-place when the tire expired, was unharmed and ended his debut early in the 13th position.
From the moment the Monte Carlo was unloaded off the trailer, problems plagued Ruffin and his team. Despite changing an engine, transmission, and oil gauge during practice, the 15-year-old continued to move forward and become accustom to the heavier car. Starting from the 12th position for the Iowa 200, Ruffin was running one position higher when the Brentwood, Tennessee native came down pit road for his first pit stop of the night. The Turner Motorsports' crew, led by crew chief Kevin Cywinski and owner Steve Turner, changed left-side tires and made a track bar adjustment. A quick pit stop allowed Ruffin to restart from 10th-place.
Steadily moving past fellow competitors, Ruffin was running in the eighth position by lap 70. The youngster continued to feel out the car and by the halfway point of the event, Ruffin was racing in sixth-place, his highest running position of the night. As the field was slowed once again by a caution, Ruffin returned to the attention of his pit crew for a fuel stop. As the Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet took a few laps to run its fastest laps on restarts, Ruffin moved back to the seventh position on lap 133 when the right-front tire blew without warning. The fuel pump came apart, catching the Turner Motorsports entry on fire, as Ruffin was able to exit unharmed. This ended the night early for Ruffin and the No. 31 team, as they recorded a 13th-place finish.
"The car was very fast all weekend," said Ruffin. "Despite all of the bad luck that we had and to only get around 30 laps of practice on Friday, all of us couldn't be any happier about how our debut together turned out. We qualified the Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet in the 12th position and I thought we were going to be better in the race, as I got more comfortable in the car. After the first pit stop, we were working our way towards the front. Our car wasn't great in the beginning of runs, but as we ran more green-flag laps, our car came around and I was running the rest of the guys down. It was just unfortunate for the right-front tire to blow so soon after our fuel stop. There was no warning -- just heard a pop and it let go and into the wall we went. Kevin (Cywinski), Steve (Turner), and I all think that we had a top-three car if things would have played out differently. We were very competitive and I'm very excited about where we are headed in the future."
After a successful debut together, Logan Ruffin and Turner Motorsports will take two-weeks off before returning to racing action at Rockingham Speedway as the USARacing Pro Cup Series takes on the legendary North Carolina track for the running of the Aaron's 150 on Saturday, October 10th.