Trans-Am Driver's Championship
Making a change in 1994 and starting his own race team, Ruhlman was heading for the Busch Grand National Series. Competing with his team in nearly 45 races a year in four different series, Ruhlman got a wealth of experience from short track and high banked ovals, to road courses and Super Speedways against some of the nation's finest racing talent.
Ruhlman brought his team back exclusively to the Trans-Am road racing series in 1998. By 2001, Ruhlman was finding the challenges of ownership and driving distracting and was ready for a change. When Tom Gloy again made him an offer to drive for his team, with Butch Leitzinger as a teammate and Buddy Fey as engineer, Ruhlman jumped at the chance. The collaboration between the drivers, owner, and engineer made racing fun and revitalized Ruhlman's passion for the sport. Ruhlman was voted that year the "Most Improved Driver of 2001" by his fellow competitors for his efforts.
When Gloy left Trans-Am, Ruhlman got another interesting offer, this time from Derhaag Motorsports. The step over to drive for one of his long time Trans-Am competitors, Jim Derhaag, who had just retired from the driver's seat, proved to be another winning one. Now into their fourth year of the partnership, Ruhlman's driving ability and feel for the car and Jim Derhaag's exceptional ability to form and maintain a fast car and cohesive team have propelled the team to new heights. That success now extended from the top echelons of Trans-Am into the ranks of the super-star drivers and teams of the Daytona Prototypes of the Grand American Rolex Series, presented by Crown Royal.
The 2004 season, his second with Derhaag Motorsports, saw Ruhlman finish third overall in the Trans-Am Drivers' Championship. He scored seven straight top five finishes in 2004, including three podiums: a second at Road America, another second at Toronto, and a third at Infineon while competing with Paul Gentilozzi and Tommy Kendall in the closest Championship points battle ever in Trans-Am history. Randy also was the pole sitter for the Road America race and sat on the front row for the Cleveland Grand Prix in 2004.
The hard work and efforts paid off. In pursuit of the 2005 Driver's Championship, Ruhlman held the Driver's Championship points lead from the start of the season with his win at the prestigious Long Beach Grand Prix and was the only multiple winner on the Trans-Am circuit, until the final race of the year. Ruhlman had four podiums (two wins and a second and a third) and had six top five finishes.
Finishing up the 2005 season with a third at the final race at Montreal, Ruhlman took second in the Drivers' Championship at the finale to the Rocketsports Jaguar driven by ALMS and Porsche Super Cup driver Klaus Graf. Ruhlman won the prestigious "BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year award for an unprecedented second time and is fourth overall in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history.
Iowa Speedway Prototypes:
Mark Martin, Randy Ruhlman, Shane Lewis
From Trans-Am to NASCAR Grand-Am: The Move to Daytona Prototypes
Today's Daytona Prototype driver's list looks like a "who's who" in modern road racing from Formula 1 stars, to long time endurance and LeMans winners, Trans-Am, NASCAR, and Indy Car stars. These top drivers are competing as multi-driver teams in flat-out, wheel-to-wheel endurance competitions that criss-cross North America with 14 race in 2007. Today's Grand American Rolex Cup Series with its NASCAR background is the future of closed wheel road racing and Randy Ruhlman is looking forward to continuing with that challenge.
After his Trans-Am Series Championship run in 2005, Ruhlman returned for the 2006 season with his long time team, Derhaag Motorsports -- but now headed into NASCAR Road Racing in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype Series. Randy Ruhlman and full-time co-driver Chris Bingham took on the challenges in the Grand American Rolex Cup Series.
With its different venues and formats from the short street race of the Long Beach Grand Prix to the ultimate American endurance classics, like The 24 Hours of Daytona and the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, where they enlisted the help of the other top drivers like Ron Fellows and Justin Bell. Randy also drove during the year with two other talented drivers Paul Dallenbach and F1 demonstration driver Jonathan Couchet. Randy, his co-drivers and the team made a place for themselves in their first year of competition among the of the extraordinarily deep driver talent pool of the Daytona Prototype field.
Last year in 2007, Ruhlman return for most of the season in the Daytona Prototypes, but this time with a new team, after Derhaag Motorsports chose not to return to the Prototype series. Driving at Daytona with the likes of Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Graham Rahal and at Iowa with NASCAR superstar Mark Martin, Ruhlman enjoyed the driving and personalities the Series had to offer. There were also unique team challenges and limitations from Mexico City and California to Montreal and Watkins Glen, which Ruhlman overcame during the 2007 Grand American season.
Throughout the year, though, Ruhlman found time to help others through his work with the bicycling charities of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's Disease. Ruhlman was also a top fundraiser for the Best Buddies Challenge in California this year, raising almost $10,000 in three weeks to help the intellectually challenged.
When not in the driver's seat, Randy Ruhlman can be found helping out the UHHS Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital's Outreach Program with their children's safety seat, seat belt and helmet programs. Randy has been the keynote speaker at the Cleveland House of Blues Kick-off of the Northeast Ohio "Click It or Ticket" campaign for the Buckle Up America program, promoting seat belt use.
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