Randy Ruhlman gets another Top Ten finish at Long Beach Grand Trans-Am Race Long Beach, Calif. (April 18, 2004) -- The 2002 Trans-Am Series "Most Improved Driver of the Year", Randy Ruhlman got another top ten Trans-Am finish on the streets of...
Randy Ruhlman gets another Top Ten finish at Long Beach Grand Trans-Am Race
Long Beach, Calif. (April 18, 2004) -- The 2002 Trans-Am Series "Most Improved Driver of the Year", Randy Ruhlman got another top ten Trans-Am finish on the streets of Long Beach at today's 45 lap race of the 1.968-mile 11-turn track. Narrowly avoiding a first turn crash, Ruhlman in the familiar blue and white Preformed Line Products/Coyote Closure Chevrolet Corvette, had moved up by the end of the first lap into fifth place from his 11th place starting position. Ruhlman maintained position, falling back only when he lost second gear at Lap 36, eventually holding on to finish tenth in the first race of the 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series.
"I saw the wreak happening in Turn 1 and went to the inside and managed to just stop. I got bumped from behind, but it was minor. I was able to run well and knew that we were right there for the podium, but after half way, I went for second gear and it just wasn't there. It took me a couple of laps to get the hang of how to go fast without second gear, but once I did I was able to make up for lost position and turn some really fast times. Eventually though, the Weisman transmission just got stuck and I was forced to come in. The guys did a good job getting us back out there, but by that time I had lost a lot of laps. It's great to get another Top Ten finish, but there was definitely a Top Five, if not podium there, so it is tough to take. This was really disappointing for me today," said Ruhlman.
The Long Beach Grand Prix has been a favorite event for driver Randy Ruhlman, who first raced here as a Trans-Am rookie in 1990. Always running near the front, Ruhlman has had his share of excitement and close races at the Long Beach Grand Prix over the years. Running third on the final lap with Chris Neville and John Miller in 2001, Ruhlman was crashed out in the final corners, as Neville and Miller bounced off the walls, after hitting each other. All three ended up blocking the track, ending everyone's day. Ruhlman finished 4th in his back-up car in 1998, and his sixth place finish in 2002 with Tom Gloy Racing was the beginning of a streak of top finishes of eighth or better in the first ten races that year for Ruhlman.
The race was shown Live on HD Net Television and will air on a tape-delayed basis at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 25 on Spike TV, during "Dangerous Curves.
Randy Ruhlman's accomplishments on the racetrack are noteworthy. He finished sixth overall in the Driver's Championship in 2003 and was seventh overall in 2002 with a second (and a 3rd in 2003) at Trois Rivieres and third at Miami. He was named the 2002 "BBS Wheels Most Improved Driver of the Year and Randy Ruhlman is sixth overall in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history.
Ruhlman's Chevrolet Corvette is fielded this year by the Minneapolis-based, Derhaag Motorsports team, led by former Trans-Am driver Jim Derhaag. Jim Derhaag himself made 150 starts as a driver in the Trans-Am Series before his successful move to full time ownership in 1998. The team has fielded many successful drivers, including top Trans-Am drivers Justin Bell, Kenny Wilden, Tony Ave, Dorsey Schroeder, Chris Neville and Darin Brassfield.