Road America: Randy Ruhlman race report

Elkhart Lake, Wisc (Aug 24) -- Top Trans-Am driver Randy Ruhlman finished eighth in today's Round 8 of the Trans-Am Series race for the BFGoodrich Tires® Cup at Road America. It was an up and down battle for Ruhlman, the 2002 BBS Wheels "Most ...

Elkhart Lake, Wisc (Aug 24) -- Top Trans-Am driver Randy Ruhlman finished eighth in today's Round 8 of the Trans-Am Series race for the BFGoodrich Tires® Cup at Road America. It was an up and down battle for Ruhlman, the 2002 BBS Wheels "Most Improved Driver of the Year", in the 101.2 mile race on the 4.05-mile, 14 turn road course. Ruhlman started fifth, driving the #49 blue and white Performed Line Products/Coyote Closure Chevrolet Corvette. Falling back in the early laps of the race to seventh place, Ruhlman worked his way back up to fifth, spun, went back to last, and finally made it back to eighth, before a final four lap yellow flag finished the race under caution and ended his march forward.

Ruhlman said after the eventful race, "The car is always a bit slower to come in at the start of the race. We like our car to there at the end, so I am willing to give up a couple of positions in the beginning of the race to be there at the end with the car and tire wear. I lost a couple of places in the first couple of laps, but once the car came in, it was great. Our crew did a wonderful job all weekend with the three motor changes. We were never late for a session and the car was fast."

Ruhlman continued, "I had worked my way back up to just behind Mike Lewis for fourth, when we had the first caution flag. Mike and I had a great race for third and fourth at Trois Rivieres last race, so I knew it was going to be fun. He is one driver I trust. We have had some good, close racing over the years. He ended up third here, so it would have been a great battle again for the podium. But when the green flag came out, I got into the first corners and just lost it. It was my fault. I just got in too fast and went around. I went from fifth to last in that corner."

"I just got back on track and did what I could, but I had lost so much real estate that it was going to be hard," followed up Ruhlman. "Fortunately, we got another mid race yellow, and I was able to catch up to the back of the field in 14th place. Within a couple of laps, I had gotten up to tenth. I had a lot of speed on the eighth and ninth place guys and was just getting ready to pass them, when they crashed into each other. We went to a caution flag and never went back green. I would have like to see what we could have done with a couple of green laps. I had tire left and could see that I had enough to get back to fifth. It's kind of deflating to finish on a caution. It doesn't give you the sense of completion you get from taking a checkered flag at speed. You never know "what could have been."

"We certainly have gotten the car faster over the last few races. My car at Road America today was one of the best I've ever had here. I am looking forward to Denver next week. We were good last year at Denver with Gloy, and I think we have a great car this year, too. And being a street race, which I really enjoy, I am looking forward to getting back on the podium next week at Denver," continued Ruhlman.

This finish moves Ruhlman to sixth position overall in the Driver's Championship, 17 points out of fifth. The Trans-Am Series travels immediately to the streets of Denver, Colorado. That race will be run on Sunday, August 31st at 4PM MDT, and will be a combined Trans-Am//CART weekend.

Ruhlman made his 134th start in Trans-Am in a Chevrolet Corvette fielded this year by the Minneapolis-based, Derhaag Motorsports. The team is 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.

Preformed Line Products (PLP) is an international manufacturer and supplier of hardware and support systems for the communications and energy industries. Products include the COYOTE Closure and GUY-GRIP Dead-End used in the telecommunications, cable and energy industries. Manufacturing facilities are located worldwide in the USA, Canada, China, Brazil, Mexico, England, Spain, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

-rm-

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Tony Ave , Justin Bell , Randy Ruhlman , Dorsey Schroeder , Darin Brassfield