|CLEVELAND (JUNE 25, 2005) — Randy Ruhlman had a great weekend at the Cleveland Grand Prix, scoring his second win of the season in Round 3 of the 2005 Trans-Am Series. But it wasn't an easy weekend for the current Trans-Am points leader or his Derhaag Motorsports team.
Ruhlman suffered a major crash at the end of Friday's first practice, when a part broke and sent him into the concrete barriers. The crew worked all night, even flying in their chassis builder from Minnesota to help make repairs.
By 5 AM this morning, all was ready and Ruhlman took to the track for a few fast morning practice laps. Without a qualifying time, Ruhlman was going to start from the back of the grid. And if he was going to make the podium again, Ruhlman would have to make his way through the entire field of traffic.
Ruhlman, in the #49 Preformed Line Products Corvette, was up to the task and then some. By lap eight in the race, Ruhlman was turning faster times than the front running Jaguar's of Paul Gentilozzi and Klaus Graf. On lap 12, Ruhlman was in fifth. Gentilozzi and Graf mixed it up in the front, Gentilozzi went into the tires, ending his day. Graf took the lead, and by lap 16, Ruhlman had made it up to third, seven seconds behind the leader. Ruhlman kept pressing hard, catching Graf quickly.
A full course caution at about the halfway point bunched the field. When the green flag came out, Ruhlman passed for the lead and once in command, Ruhlman lead the final 22 laps of the race. Ruhlman finished with a 16.121 second winning margin.
"This weekend is unbelievable," said Ruhlman in the post-race interview. "I am really happy to be able to do my part of the job to bring home the win for the Derhaag Motorsports team. You don't know what it means to be coming home to this race, year after year in Cleveland, and be coming home to family and friends and our sponsor, Preformed Line Products. We've run strong here before and to take this one in front of the hometown crowd is fantastic. "
"After Long Beach, I didn't think you could script a better win, but I think we just did. The crew worked so hard and long to get the car back in shape, and to be able to bring it from the rear and get the win in front of everyone, this was even better. Everybody did such a great job to get us here, my hat's off to my crew at Derhaag Motorsports," finished the elated Ruhlman.
The 48-lap, 101.088-mile race was held today at 3:30 EDT and was broadcast with live timing and scoring on http://www.trans-amseries.com. The Round 3 race from Cleveland will be broadcast on SPEED on July 3rd at 3 PM EDT.
Randy Ruhlman won the 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 Cleveland Grand Prix was Ruhlman's 149th start in Trans-Am and 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. 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, especially in helping to promote the Tour de Road America, coming up on August 20th, to raise money for cancer survivorship.
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.