CLEVELAND, OH (July 13, 2002) -- The fifth round of the 2002 BFGoodrich Trans-Am Series continued this weekend at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Trans-Am race presented by Microchip. Butch Leitzinger, driving the Tommy Bahama Chevrolet ...
CLEVELAND, OH (July 13, 2002) -- The fifth round of the 2002 BFGoodrich Trans-Am Series continued this weekend at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Trans-Am race presented by Microchip. Butch Leitzinger, driving the Tommy Bahama Chevrolet Corvette, finished second. Teammate and local favorite, Randy Ruhlman, driving the Preformed Line Products/Coyote Closure Chevrolet Corvette finished eighth.
Tom Gloy Racing and its past drivers has been successful on the 2.106-mile, ten-turn temporary race course circuit that normally serves as an active airport near downtown Cleveland. Ruhlman also has a lot of experience here and started on the front row in 2000. Leitzinger a rookie driver and newcomer to Cleveland won the pole in yesterday's qualifying session setting a new track record; this is his third pole for the season. Ruhlman started ninth the 48-lap race ninth.
Leitzinger led the first 11 laps and came in for a pit stop during a caution on lap eleven. Ruhlman also came in on the same lap for fuel. The Tommy Bahama entry went down to 12th spot as other teams chose not to pit during the yellow. Leitzinger raced through the field running third by lap 35 and second by lap 44. Chasing the eventual winner, he charged hard with the number 88 entry and on the last lap, with the checkered flag waiving, was just 0.266 seconds behind Boris Said. After Ruhlman's stop he was in 17th place and battled in traffic on the long and winding airport circuit running in the top-ten by lap 35. The Cleveland native with the locally based Preformed Line Products (PLP) fans on hand went on to finish eighth. He was only 0.043 of a second behind the seventh place car and only 14 seconds behind the winner. To date, Ruhlman has four top-ten finishes and one top five, Leitzinger has three top-three finishes and one win.
"I really like Cleveland; it's a great town, has wonderful fans and this event is very festive," said Leitzinger. "The track is really good because you can race hard and pass people. I haven't raced here before and watched video tapes of previous races and that helped me gage the start. This place was about as wild as I thought. I wasn't sure what would happen on the start, but we had a clean start. Tom Gloy Racing really gave me a great car all weekend. I let them down and bobbled on the way out of my pit stop. I ran hard hoping to get Boris and almost did at the end. This is a good way to go on to the next race on July 20th as it gives the team a good feeling and really gives us a good start at the beginning of the practice next week."
"It was an exciting race for the customers and employees of PLP and fans here in Cleveland," said Ruhlman. "We made our scheduled pit stop under yellow and it went flawlessly, and we made steady progress from there. Our car was particularly good in the twisting parts of track. I was able to set people up and successfully pass them going into the first turn braking zone. At the finish line, we were running side by side for position and it was tight and close. It was a great race for the fans and it was good to be home in Cleveland."
Tom Gloy Racing is getting ready for the inaugural race wt the National Grand Prix of Washington, D.C. The nations' capitol will host its first race on a 1.7-mile, seven turn stadium circuit on Saturday, July 20. The race will air live from RFK Stadium on CBS Sports at 2:30 p.m. ET, check local listings. For more information on the BFGoodrich Trans-Am Series go to: http://www.trans-amseries.com/index.html