|EDMONTON, Alberta (July 17, 2005) — Randy Ruhlman, the points leader in the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers Championship battle, managed to hang on to a fourth place finish in one of the best side by side racing displays of the season at Saturday's Festival City 100 Trans-Am race at the Edmonton Grand Prix. From Ruhlman, Gentilozzi and Graf, to Pickett and Drissi and throughout the front of the field, passing and close racing was the name of the game in the 51-lap race, Round 5 of the 2005 Trans-Am series.
With the inverted starting grid, Ruhlman was lined up fourth on the outside of the second row after Gentilozzi opted for new tires and went to the rear. Though one of the fastest cars on track all weekend, Ruhlman's car was slow to come in during the race moving him back as far back as sixth early in the race.
Lap 15 marked the beginning of Ruhlman's march back towards the front. Ruhlman started clicking off faster laps than the leaders, making his way, first past Scarollo and Gentilozzi, then past the Jaguar of Klaus Graf. Ruhlman and Graf showed just how professional drivers manage a pass with an impressive show of side-by-side driving.
Ruhlman, now up to third, put a comfortable distance between himself and his top Drivers Championship rival Klaus Graf. With a lap and a half left in the race, the leaders, Drissi and Pickett, spun in Turn 5 with a just lapped Gentilozzi following in their wake. Then, with no apparent debris flags, Ruhlman spun too, as he entered the corner. In a single corner, four of the top five Trans-Am contenders had been compromised.
Ruhlman lost time in the spin and Graf, far enough behind to avoid the melee, managed to pass Ruhlman for third. With just one lap left, Ruhlman was unable to get back the lost position and the valuable points, finishing on Graf's bumper.
Though he lost a four-point swing to Jaguar factory driver Klaus Graf, Ruhlman retains a sixteen-point lead in the 2005 Drivers Championship battle with four races to go.
"This is a great course. It is really technical for an airport course and a lot of fun to drive. I even loved driving it in the rain this morning. And that is the worst part of it all. It was right there. It took along time for the car to come in, and I worked hard to get up there and put some real estate between Klaus and me. I don't know why that mud on the track had to catch all of us leaders, but it did, and that's racing. But it is a shame. We had the car for the podium all weekend. But I am really happy for Greg [Pickett] and his win. We were teammate back in 1992 and '93, when Greg got his last win, and we are good friends. I couldn't be happier for him," said Ruhlman after the race.
Ruhlman scored his second win of the season at the Cleveland Grand Prix in a dramatic come from the back finish. Ruhlman has scored two wins (Long Beach and Cleveland) so far in 2005 Trans-Am competition and a second at Portland, where he set a fast race lap record.
The Festival City 100 was Round 5 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton weekend. The race will air on tape-delayed basis, Sunday, July 24 at 1 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.
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.
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.
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.
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