Munroe Falls, Ohio – The Trans Am series put on another great show this weekend, as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Throughout practice and qualifying, Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Chevrolet Corvette, traded the top three spots with Doug Peterson and Tomy Drissi, ultimately qualifying 3rd, just one tenth of a second behind Peterson. Race day was a beautiful sunny mid-70 degree day and the 40-lap Trans Am 3-Dimensional Services Next Dimension 100 race started before a large crowd of Trans Am and Nationwide fans. Ruman, who grew up in the Akron, Ohio area, had a large contingent of fans and sponsors cheering her on Saturday.
A record field of 58 cars took the green flag down the back straight at Mid-Ohio. Ruman, who started on the inside of row two, made a clean pass on the inside of pole sitter Drissi and Peterson and took the lead by the time they reached the first turn. Ruman then led the field for the next 14 laps of the race, posting the fastest race lap, and putting some distance between her and the rest of the field, with Drissi staying within an average of two seconds of her. Even as she started to work her way through traffic, Ruman held a commanding lead. Then, on lap 15, a TA2 car blew its motor down the back straight and into turn five significantly oiling the track surface.
Ruman and Drissi were the first ones through turn five afterward, and they unknowingly approached the corner at full racing speed and hit the oil, sliding into the turn. Ruman almost made it through “dirt track style” as one of the fans said, when Drissi collided with the rear of her car and sent her into a spin. Drissi’s spin was cushioned by the No. 23 and he was able to continue first, while Ruman lost a number of places as she tried to safely get underway through the mass of other cars hitting the oil. Ruman’s damage seemed limited to the rear of the car and she continued on. A full course caution came out for the multiple crashes that happened as more cars hit the oil, and Drissi pitted for new tires.
Ruman was in 6th place as the field restarted and she worked her way through heavy traffic to 5th in a bid to make up lost time. After several laps of hard charging, the engine suddenly dropped off song and her progress forward was slowed. After several more full course cautions, Drissi had worked his way through the field and was directly behind Ruman for a restart following a caution with about 10 laps to go in the race. By Ruman’s account, Drissi jumped the green flag into the carousel heading onto the front straight and passed Ruman and then made contact with McAleese. As the green flag actually flew, Drissi slowed and dropped back even with Ruman at which point the two had unexpected contact sending Ruman into the gravel trap in turn 13 effectively ending her race. With only five minutes remaining in the race, the workers were unable to pull the car out of the gravel trap in time for her to continue. The race ended under caution due to several incidents on track. Ruman finished 14th in class and 41st overall.
“What started as such a promising weekend ended in extreme disappointment.” said Ruman. “My crew gave me an incredibly fast car today, and at the start of the race I was able to take the lead early and run strongly out front. The oil on the track was very unexpected, and it’s really too bad that was the factor that took us out of the lead. The car seemed ok after the contact, so I was focused on making up some positions. I had a good re-start, but then the engine problem really slowed us. On the final restart, we got taken out of a race once again. It’s the second year in a row for something like this to happen to us at Mid-Ohio and is very disappointing. The impact of this finish in points makes the road to the Championship a lot more difficult, but not untouchable. I dropped to third place in the points and am now 35 points out of first place. As usual, the Mid-Ohio fans were amazing! Their support this weekend was unbelievable and I cannot thank them and my crew enough for backing my efforts,” said Ruman with appreciation.
This Trans Am Mid-Ohio race will also be broadcast on a tape delay on MAVTV, TuffTV, and on a variety of other regional channels across the United States. Air times and further details regarding the air date and time will be announced shortly.
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For Immediate Release: August 17, 2014