RANDY RUHLMAN FINISHES ON PODIUM AT MONTREAL, SECURES SECOND IN DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
MONTREAL, Quebec (Aug. 28, 2005) -- Randy Ruhlman finished the 2005 Trans-Am season with another podium finish, a third place position at the Molson Indy Montreal, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. In doing so, Ruhlman secured second place in the 2005 Trans-Am Driver's Championship in the closest battle ever-in Trans-Am's 40-year history. Ruhlman had four podium finishes this year, including a pair of wins--the season opener at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Cleveland Grand Prix.
Randy Ruhlman held the 2005 Driver's Championship points for most of the season beginning with the first race at Long Beach. Edged for the lead last week when chief rival Klaus Graf won the Road America race, Ruhlman fired back here in Montreal, qualifying second for the race, as Graf scrambled to take the pole. With only Ruhlman and Graf in Championship contention, the fight was on in Montreal.
In the inverted start, Ruhlman started on the outside of the second row, Graf on the inside the third. After a waved off first start, the second attempt found the inside line surging ahead. Ruhlman tucked in behind Graf, and the group made its way towards the tight, single file back turns.
As the group approached Turn Six, Ruhlman was hit hard and spun off by an overcharging driver, who had no chance at the Championship. Scarollo was penalized for his blatant contact, as Ruhlman fell back to twelfth place. Ruhlman drove hard and made it back to third behind the eventual race winner Graf and second place Greg Pickett. The top three in Championship points shared the final 2005 Trans-Am race podium at Montreal.
After the podium celebration, Ruhlman said, "It was a bit longer day than I had expected. I really meant it yesterday, when I said I was going to try to stay out of trouble and see where things went. But I didn't think I'd be going around in circles on the first lap. That brought out the work for me for the rest of the race. The car was pretty good, but it started to go off at the end. I could run consistent laps, but Klaus and Greg were running a pace that was good enough that I couldn't make any strong moves on them, so we had to be content with third today. It was good enough for second overall in the Championship. We've got to be happy for that."
"The team has worked hard all year long--we completed all but one lap this year--my hats off to them. We kept plugging away and never gave up. We gave it our all every race. But when it came right down to it, the best man won, there is no doubt about that. Klaus did a great job and I congratulate him on the Championship," continued Ruhlman.
"It's been very encouraging for us this year, that we've gotten better and better out here. We won two races, were second at Portland, third here, and had a bunch of fourths. We took advantage of some of the troubles Klaus had, and then we ran into some of our own in this last stretch. Like I said, 'we never gave up' and the team is encouraged. The car is fast and I'm qualifying better than I've ever qualified before. I've never been known for qualifying and now we can run up in the front, and run and qualify in the top three every week. That gives us a lot of hope for the coming years. And we'll look forward to it. I hope that Klaus comes back next year and keeps the pressure on and we can give him another run for the Championship," finished Ruhlman.
The final Round of the 2005 Trans-Am series got under way Saturday at 4PM EDT, as part of the Molson Indy Montreal weekend on the 2.747-mile Formula 1 race course, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Television coverage will be on SPEED TV at 1 PM EDT on Sunday, September 18th.
Ruhlman finished third overall in the 2004 Trans-Am Driver's Championship behind Paul Gentilozzi and Tommy Kendall in what had been, until this year, the closest points battle ever in Trans-Am history. Last year, Ruhlman scored seven straight top five finishes, including three podiums: a second at Road America, another second at Toronto, and a third at Infineon. He was the pole sitter for the Road America race and sat on the front row for the Cleveland Grand Prix. Randy Ruhlman is fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history.
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