Long Beach: Randy Ruhlman preview

Randy Ruhlman ready to start the 2004 Trans-Am Season at Long Beach Grand Prix Opener Long Beach, CA (April 12, 2004) -- The Long Beach Grand Prix has been a favorite event for top Trans-Am driver Randy Ruhlman, who also considers this track...

Randy Ruhlman ready to start the 2004 Trans-Am Season at Long Beach Grand Prix Opener

Long Beach, CA (April 12, 2004) -- The Long Beach Grand Prix has been a favorite event for top Trans-Am driver Randy Ruhlman, who also considers this track to be one of the most challenging on the circuit. The 2002 Trans-Am Series "Most Improved Driver of the Year", Ruhlman returns to the streets of Long Beach for the opening race of the 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series. His first race here was in 1990 as a rookie in Trans-Am and Ruhlman has competed here in Trans-Am almost every year since. Ruhlman who finished sixth in Driver's Championship last year is poised to get his first win at his favorite track in the familiar blue and white Preformed Line Products/Coyote Closure Chevrolet Corvette.

Ruhlman calls Long Beach "one of the best tracks and events on the Trans-Am circuit". "Whether it is the track, or the excitement the city generates, this race is one that I look forward to year after year. We're always very fast here and show well, even if we have had our share of final lap disappointments," states Ruhlman. "And that is a factor too, Confidence breeds Confidence. I know I can win a race, and I know I can do well here in Long Beach."

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 was the beginning of a streak of top finishes of eighth or better in the first ten races that year for Ruhlman.

"I have a great deal of faith in this car and in what I can do with it here," remarks Ruhlman. "We have a fantastic team and we have grown together. I can't say enough about the efforts they have made to get us up front. I have a great deal of confidence in what I can do at Long Beach, and also have great confidence that the car is ready to be in the Winner's Circle."

"I am excited once again to be part of Trans-Am and to be back with my team from last year, Derhaag Motorsports. We are out here to win races and be on the podium each and every race. The fact that we have the same people working together again, I believe is the winning combination in Trans-Am this year.

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.

Before the race cars take to the track at Long Beach, top drivers in the 2004 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup will be signing autographs as part of the street festival, "Thunder on Pine Street" on Thursday evening. Live music, radio station remote broadcasts, show cars and racecars, and a pit stop competition will add to the pre-race activities.

The Trans-Am cars will begin competition at 12:30 PM Friday for the first of three practice sessions. Qualifying will be held at 9AM on Saturday, and the race will immediately follow the Champ Car event on Sunday afternoon.

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.

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