DENVER (Aug. 13, 2005) — Randy Ruhlman remains the points leader following the Trans-Am race at the Denver Grand Prix today. But with Ruhlman finishing in sixth place, the points lead has tightened up to just one point, as Klaus Graf got the win. With two races to go in the 2005 Trans-Am season, the next couple of week's racing will determine the Championship.
Driving the #49 Preformed Line Products Corvette, Ruhlman got off to a great start, moving immediately to second with Graf in the lead and Gentilozzi following. Gentilozzi and Ruhlman exchanged places and the three lead cars opened an early margin from the next group of top cars.
Once the leaders hit heavy traffic, the second group caught up and challenged for position with Gentilozzi moving back to third and Ruhlman falling to fifth. The leaders were all running about the same times, with Ruhlman turning the fastest lap of the race to that point. Passing among the front group was limited and traffic began to separate the cars. Traffic played a heavy role in the final outcome of the race, as Gentilozzi went off track and lost two positions, and Ruhlman lost a final position, both while trying to get by slower cars.
"We had a good car. We were fast here, right in the front with Paul [Gentilozzi] all weekend, and we had the fast lap for the first half of the race. We just got out of sync with the traffic and it cost us a lot of places. I did my best out there, but that was all we had here. Everyone was turning such similar lap times that it was hard to get by without just taking someone out. Traffic, and where you caught them, was a huge factor in losing time and separating us all. The majority of the guys were great, but there were a couple that really caused problems, and that's how I lost fifth. We'll just have to get it done at Road America and Montreal now," said Ruhlman after the race.
Randy Ruhlman and Klaus Graf are the only multiple winners so far this year on the Trans-Am circuit, scoring two wins each. Ruhlman won the season opener at Long Beach, as well as the Cleveland Grand Prix, Graf won today and at Portland, where Ruhlman finished second. With just two races left in the 2005 Trans-Am Series, the points battle has tightened significantly; Ruhlman and Graf are separated by just one point now in the fight for the 2005 Driver's Championship.
From Denver, the teams travel directly to Road America, where Ruhlman captured the pole last year and finished second to former Trans-Am Champion Tommy Kendall. The Series wraps up the following week at a track new to the Trans-Am series -- the F1 course at Montreal.
Television coverage for the Denver race is slated for SPEED TV on Sunday, August 21st at 1PM EDT. (Check local listings)