|LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 10, 2005) — Randy Ruhlman got the first win of the 2005 Trans-Am season today at the Cytomax Challenge at the Grand Prix off Long Beach. Ruhlman, third in the Driver’s Championship last year, got the win, his first, by starting on the outside front row of the grid for the 45-lap race on the street course in the Preformed Line Products/ COYOTE® Closure Chevrolet Corvette. Ruhlman shared the podium with Greg Pickett and Mike Lewis, both driving Jaguars. This is the first win in Trans-Am for Chevrolet since 2002, when Butch Leitzinger won in a Corvette.
The race began with a tight squeeze at turn one with Pickett, Ruhlman, Gentilozzi, Drissi, and Said all trying to get the jump. Ruhlman in his147th Trans-Am start gave way to a charging Paul Gentilozzi, bumping side by side with NASCAR driver and 2003 Trans-Am Champion Boris Said. Gentilozzi eventually took Pickett for the lead with Ruhlman tightly following. Later, ALMS veteran Klaus Graf charged forward taking the lead for 6 laps before he went off and ended his day. Under pressure from Pickett and Ruhlman, Gentilozzi hit the wall on lap 36. Ruhlman took the lead from former Trans-Am Champion Greg Pickett on lap 40 and went on to win by a 3.4 second margin.
“This was a great weekend. 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. This is really a continuation of our successes of last year, and 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,” says Ruhlman.
Ruhlman took third in the 2004 Trans-Am Series Drivers Championship after a hotly contested battle for the Championship. The 2004 season saw past Champions Paul Gentilozzi, Tommy Kendall, and Ruhlman fight it out for the Driver’s Championship in the closest points battle ever in Trans-Am history. Ruhlman was consistently fast in his #49 Preformed Line Products/ COYOTE® Closure Corvette this year, having scored seven straight, top five finishes, including three podiums: a second at Road America, another second at Toronto, and a third at Infineon. Additionally, Ruhlman was the pole sitter for the Road America race.
Randy Ruhlman is fifth overall in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history. He finished sixth overall in 2003 in the Driver’s Championship in a Derhaag Motorsports Corvette. Ruhlman was seventh overall in 2002 while driving for Tom Gloy Racing, with a second (and a 3rd in 2003) at Trois Rivieres and third at Miami. Ruhlman was awarded the 2002 BBS Wheels "Most Improved Driver of the Year".
Ruhlman, a top driver in the Trans-Am series in the Preformed Line Products/COYOTE® Closure Corvette has also made a commitment to local and national children’s charities. His charitable contributions include an increasingly active role in supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation and with Children’s charities throughout the country, especially in Cleveland with the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and their outreach programs.
Ruhlman's Chevrolet Corvette is fielded by the Minneapolis-based Derhaag Motorsports, led by former Trans-Am driver Jim Derhaag. Derhaag himself made 150 starts as a driver in the Trans-Am Series before his successful move to full time ownership in 1998.
The familiar blue and white Corvette, Ruhlman drives for the Derhaag Motorsports team has some new additions to its Preformed Line Products-PLP and COYOTE® Closure logos. Ruhlman’s car is always been one of the most photographed cars in the paddock and will now have the added signage for Superior® Modular Products, VORTX™ Vibration Damper and GUY-GRIP® Dead-ends.
Superior Modular Products is a subsidiary of Preformed Line Products, specializing in high-speed data communications products. The VORTX™ Vibration Damper is a new product from PLP designed to limit the effects of wind-induced vibration on electric transmission lines. The GUY-GRIP® Dead-end is a helically formed wire product used primarily by electric power utilities and communications companies to terminate wire strand.
Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products (NASDAQ: PLPC) is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies.
Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Company operates three domestic manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albemarle, North Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. Preformed serves worldwide markets through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.
The television coverage will be on Sunday April 17th at 1:30PM ET ON SPEED Channel.