Things got heated during the Trans-Am race at Mid-Ohio, leading to a severe punishment for Tomy Drissi.
Tomy Drissi, 2009 Trans-Am Series champion, earned pole for the race at Mid-Ohio, but his actions during the race have led to the sanctioning body dropping the hammer on the veteran road racer.
If they don't respect me ... If you do me wrong, you better do it right because I'll come back.
He has been banned from competing in Trans-Am for one full calendar year.
“As a result of Mr. Drissi’s actions at Mid-Ohio which spanned multiple incidents,” stated James Foyle, Trans Am Series Chief Steward, “the Trans Am Series ruled to disqualify Mr. Drissi from the race, strip him of his finish and any points earned, and issue the maximum suspension allowed by our rules— one calendar year.”
"Mr. Drissi requested an appeal of the ruling by SCCA Pro, the Trans Am Series’ sanctioning body. After reviewing the evidence, SCCA Pro ruled the appeal to not be well founded. "The one-year suspension will begin as of the date SCCA Pro ruled not to hear Mr. Drissi’s appeal."
Feuding culminates in multi-car wreck
Drissi said before the race, "I'm not running for the championship and obviously don't want to get involved in their championship and mess up their thing but if they don't respect me ... If you do me wrong, you better do it right because I'll come back."
Those words were put to the test... Early in the race, he got embroiled in a heated battle for the lead with title contender Amy Ruman. They shoved each other around and Drissi lost multiple positions as a result. Soon after, he forced his way under Paul Fix for third and the two made rather significant contact.
Under caution, he sped up and pulled up to the back of Ruman's car to show his displeasure with her after their earlier encounter. He was then he was handed a stop-and-go penalty for avoidable contact.
He has a vendetta against me. He's unprofessional and it's unacceptable what happened here today.
After the penalty, he found himself off the lead lap but within striking distance of race leader Ruman. He passed her and then aggressively defended the position.
The race-ending collision
"This is unbelievable right now, an aggravated Ruman radioed to her team. Then it happened. They collided and spun to the inside of the circuit, collecting the second-place running Doug Peterson (his teammate) as well. The incident looked a bit too much like payback and Drissi's comments - well, some of them - seemed to confirm that it was.
"It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I said earlier in the show that if someone does me wrong, they're not going to finish the race." Skip to the 25 minute mark...
But then he went on to say, "I wanted to make her life a little bit easier and she hit me again. She could have had her own race, I was not going to - I'll retaliate in a different way but she hit me again. She was frustrated. If I did anything wrong, I apologize. But I held the lead; I was much faster than everybody when we started the race.
"Fair restart, the #23 (Ruman) lagged back - not supposed to do that, still beat her to the keyhole, and then she hits me twice, runs me off the road. What am I supposed to do?"
Ruman sounds off on Drissi
Ruman was extremely fired up after the checkered flag and obviously, saw things very differently.
"My perspective is Tomy Drissi is the most unprofessional, unsportsmanlike, unimaginable worst driver in what he calls a professional sport. What he did was unacceptable today. He trashed my car, he blocked us. We were winning the championship.
"This is the third year in a row he's hit me - he has a vendetta against me. He's unprofessional and it's unacceptable what happened here today."