Cleveland: Ruhlman Motorsports race report

Ruhlman secures sixth at Cleveland Trans-Am race Greensboro, NC (July 6) Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport was the sight for Round 6 of the BFGoodrich Cup Trans-Am series. The Fourth of July, 51 lap race of the 2.01 mile, ten-turn track was ...

Ruhlman secures sixth at Cleveland Trans-Am race

Greensboro, NC (July 6) Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport was the sight for Round 6 of the BFGoodrich Cup Trans-Am series. The Fourth of July, 51 lap race of the 2.01 mile, ten-turn track was pronounced one of the most exciting races of the weekend, which also featured CART's debut of Saturday night road racing under the lights.

Returning to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Randy Ruhlman, the 2002 winner of the BBS Wheels "Most Improved Driver of the Year" campaigned the familiar #49 blue and white Preformed Line Products/Coyote Closure Chevrolet Corvette to a sixth place finish in Friday's Trans-Am series race. This finish moves Ruhlman steadily forward in the overall point standings to seventh at the halfway point in the season.

In a post race interview, Ruhlman commented, "We finally have a car. The setup problems that have held us back so seriously in the last few races seem to be getting under control. The car felt good overall and it was a fun race, but frustrating."

"I got behind a bit at first, because we hadn't gotten the setup before qualifying and I started eighth. I had a good start and the front group of us took off. Mike Lewis and I had a great battle going there. I kept working on him. He had speed on us in the straights, but I knew I was going to get him. Mike had gotten a run on a lapped car and I was close behind. I went with him to pass, and the other car didn't see me there too. Unfortunately in racing, track position means a lot, especially in passing slower cars. They can't always react to multiple front-runners coming through. I got caught in the corner, we touched and I spun, lost some places, and a lot of real estate. I had to really push hard to catch up. We reeled them in pretty well, though."

"I think we've got the car. We turned the third fastest lap time of the race, behind Pruett and Hayner. Now I just have to get back into the winning mode and get the job done, and with a good, confidence inspiring car, I know that we can do it. Sixth is not where I want to finish, I could have used a few more laps. The car felt great, so I think we are there."

Jim Derhaag, team owner and former Trans-Am driver, said, "We went back to what we know and what has won us races in the past. I think we had gotten too detail-oriented and forgot about the basics. We are going testing in Omaha and are going to refine what we have now. Our next race is Trois Rivieres and Randy took second place there last year. I am confident that we will be able to give him a car to defend that podium position."

The Trans-Am series is taking several weeks off from official racing before beginning an August swing of races that begins with Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada on August 3rd. That race is followed by Road America on the 24th and immediately to Denver with CART on August 31st.

On hand for an up-close race experience were several hundred guests and clients of Preformed Line Products, Ruhlman's sponsor. They were able to meet the driver and enjoy the exciting Trans-Am and CART race weekend activities at the PLP chalet and in VIP seating for the races. Preformed Line Products' world headquarters is located in Mayfield Village, part of the greater Cleveland metro area.

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.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Tony Ave , Justin Bell , Randy Ruhlman , Dorsey Schroeder , Darin Brassfield