Randy Ruhlman won on the streets of Long Beach. The hard charging driver been a dent in the recent Jaguar domination to place the Derhaag Motorsports Corvette in victory circle for the first time as a competitor in the Trans-Am Championship ...
Randy Ruhlman won on the streets of Long Beach. The hard charging driver been a dent in the recent Jaguar domination to place the Derhaag Motorsports Corvette in victory circle for the first time as a competitor in the Trans-Am Championship series.
"This was a great weekend," expressed Ruhlman. "We are so happy to have been able to win at the Long Beach Grand Prix. It is such a fantastic event, and it is such a great feeling to take the win."
His win not only brought a big smile to his face, but also on the faces of this crew, his family and General Motors. Chevy has not won a race in the Trans-Am series since 2002.
"This is really a continuation of our successes of last year," continued Ruhlman who finished third in the 2004 standings. "It is a a wonderful way to start out the season. We have a great team and a great car, and I am looking forward to giving these guys a run for their money all year."
Boris Said sat fastest time on Saturday in the ASC Ford Mustang and won the coveted pole position; however, the field was top five of the field was inverted which gave the actual front row "pole" slot on the grid to Ruhlman.
Ruhlman and Pickett lead the field from the green flag to the tight first turn. Paul Gentilozzi, Tomy Drissi and Boris Said were having a bumper-car race as Gentilozzi squeezed into the lead.
Rookie in Trans-Am but a veteran in sportscar racing, Klaus Graf placed his Rocketsports Jaguar in front of team owner/driver Gentilozzi to take the overall lead. Graf eventually went off due to a gearbox failure and lost the lead and on lap 36, Gentilozzi slid into the wall.
Pickett took up the overall lead prior to Ruhlman's move on lap 40 of the 45 lap race. Once he became the leader, Ruhlman never looked back. Pickett finished second, 3.434-seconds adrift of the winner's prize.
"We knew we were going to have a tough time with the Jaguars," added the race winner. "We had a difficult time with Greg (Pickett). It's funny, when you race Greg, he just seems to find another gear."
Pickett was pleased with the outcome and with the race between his Jaguar and Ruhlman's Corvette.
"This was a great weekend for Cytomax (team and event sponsor)," commented Pickett. "We had corporate guests here all weekend and they just had a ball. This was a tough race, I planned to run it as hard as I could and keep it straight. Paul (Gentilozzi) and Klaus (Graf) went a little bit quicker, so they went by, but they had some bad luck and this fell our way. I really have to take my hat off to Randy (Ruhlman). I take some pride his victory because he was a former teammate of mine."
The final step on the podium was taken by Michael Lewis in a Jaguar.