RUHLMAN RETAINS POINTS LEAD IN TRANS-AM DESPITE DISAPPOINTING SEVENTH PLACE FINISH AT TORONTO TORONTO (July 9, 2005)-- Randy Ruhlman had a great day going. He was running third in the Trans-Am race at the Moslon Indy Toronto, he had...
RUHLMAN RETAINS POINTS LEAD IN TRANS-AM DESPITE DISAPPOINTING SEVENTH PLACE FINISH AT TORONTO
TORONTO (July 9, 2005)-- Randy Ruhlman had a great day going. He was running third in the Trans-Am race at the Moslon Indy Toronto, he had the second fastest lap time of the race, and yet fate intervened and ended Ruhlman's run of three consecutive top two finishes and ten straight top five finishes. But even still, Randy Ruhlman came back from a possible early end to finish seventh and continues to hold an eighteen-point lead in the Drivers Championship after Round 4 of the Trans-Am Series.
Ruhlman started his 150th Trans-Am race on outside of the front row, next to last year's Drivers Champion and eventual race winner Paul Gentilozzi. The Jaguars took off to an early lead with Ruhlman getting caught on the outside of the start and falling back to fifth.
Ruhlman moved up to fourth, and a four-way battle saw Drissi, Ruhlman, Pickett and Baucom keeping it close. The leader Graf lost a tire and a lap, and it became a battle for second with Drissi and Ruhlman holding a good margin over the others, as Gentilozzi inherited the lead. Ruhlman, who once again set the second fastest race lap, kept trying to find an opening by the slowing Drissi, but when he finally did, his podium chances ended with a flatted tire and an untimely pit stop.
Ruhlman says, "This was a really tough one to take, especially after the wins. I spent most of the race behind Drissi working on him. His laps times were falling way off, and Pickett was coming fast. It was time to go. Drissi was driving a ...well, let's say 'a really creative line'. OK, I feel he was blocking me the whole way, driving down the inside of the front and back straights. When I finally got a run on him in the braking zone, he moved over and it seemed like he was going to put us both into the wall. I headed for the corner, but Tomy just kept turning into me, making contact several times until the valve stem broke and I had to back out. I made it back to the pits, got a new tire and lost a lap. Finishing seventh was alright, considering the problems, but it is a big disappointment."
"Fortunately, we didn't lose too many points, so that was good. But the car was there, and there was just no need for him to do that. At least now, we get to get rid of 25 pounds of weight, so that's definitely a positive. It's just so disappointing; I love this track and know we had the car to be on the podium again. We go to Edmonton in two days, so I am getting my head together to go out and do what we need to do to be up there on the podium again for the second half of the season," concludes Ruhlman.
Ruhlman retains an eighteen-point lead in the 2005 Drivers Championship battle. He scored his second win of the season last weekend at the Cleveland Grand Prix in a dramatic come from the back finish. He has scored two wins and a second in the first three Rounds of 2005 competition and set a fast race lap record at Portland.
Ruhlman drives the #49 blue and white PLP Corvette, sponsored in Canada by Toronto area, Preformed Line Products Canada. This year, Ruhlman is joined on the Derhaag Motorsports team by Calgary native and rookie contender Hima Maher.
Television coverage will be Sunday, July 17th at 12:30 EDT. The Toronto race is one of three Canadian races for Trans-Am in the 2005 season. The series travels to Edmonton, Alberta next week, and ends the season at the Molson Indy at Montreal.
Randy Ruhlman won the prestigious Trans-Am season opener at Long Beach Grand Prix in April and followed that up with a second place finish at Portland International Raceway. The win at the Cleveland Grand Prix was his third consecutive podium and tenth consecutive top five finish.
Randy Ruhlman finished third overall in the 2004 Trans-Am Driver's Championship, in the closest points battle ever in Trans-Am history. Last year, Ruhlman scored seven straight top five finishes, including three podiums: a second at Road America, another second at Toronto, and a third at Infineon. Last year, he was the pole sitter for the Road America race and sat on the front row for the Cleveland Grand Prix. Randy Ruhlman is fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history.
Randy Ruhlman recently spent time between races working with the Buckle Up America program to promote seat belt use. Ruhlman was the keynote speaker at the Cleveland House of Blues Kick-off of the Northeast Ohio "Click It or Ticket" campaign. The program was spearheaded by UHHS Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital's Outreach Program. Ruhlman also continues to work closely with the Lance Armstrong Foundation Peleton Project, especially in helping to promote the Tour de Road America, coming up on August 20th, to raise money for cancer survivorship.