Munroe Falls, Ohio – To say that the race on Saturday was tough would be an understatement. Amy Ruman and a super competitive Trans Am TA field came to Lexington, OH prepared to put on a great show for all the amazing fans that came out to the Trans Am Series Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy this weekend. It was round 7 of the Trans Am Championship and Amy Ruman was at the top of the points standings.
Qualifying commenced early Friday morning and the TA competitors were fast as they battled for the pole. Ruman (1:23.340) held the pole position until the last laps of qualifying when Tomy Drissi (1:23.187) and Cliff Ebben (1:23.220) narrowly posted faster times. Paul Fix qualified 4th and David Pintaric 5th in the 17 car TA class.
With picture perfect weather at the lovely Ohio course for Saturday’s race, fans filled the viewing areas throughout Mid-Ohio to watch both Trans Am and the NASCAR Xfinity Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200. The thirty-nine TA and TA3 cars took the green flag down the back straight just before 1:00 p.m. for the 45 lap race. By the end of the straight, Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette, had moved into second behind Drissi with Ebben close behind her in third. Almost immediately, the field went under caution for oil on the course. After the restart on the front straight Ruman got a great run through the first three turns and was able to pass Drissi for the lead on the back straight. Ebben and Fix then passed Drissi to claim 2nd and 3rd.
Shortly thereafter, Drissi and Fix had contact and Andretti and Peterson passed them. A double yellow followed for other cars off course. The order was Ruman, Ebben, Andretti, Peterson, Fix, Drissi. While under caution, with the pace car out, Drissi passed the cars ahead of him and slammed Ruman in the right rear. He then dropped back several positions, but not fully to his race position when the field went green. Drissi was issued a stop and go penalty for prior contact and passing under the yellow. When Drissi came back on track, he did not drive at race speed. He drove very slowly, apparently waiting for the leaders. Fans, officials, crews, and drivers watched as this unfolded, worried with foreshadowing, given Drissi’s past history of deliberate contact with Ruman (and others) in the last two Mid-Ohio races. As the tight knit group of Trans Am leaders approached, countless fans recalled as apprehension filled the crowd.
Ruman, leading the pack, came upon Drissi as she came out of Thunder Valley. Drissi blocked through the next several turns and onto the front straight. As the pack bore down on him, Drissi went wide in exit of the keyhole and Ruman was able to cleanly take the inside lane. They raced off the turn side by side for several seconds until Drissi turned into Ruman under full throttle and crashed into her causing significant damage to her car and taking out Peterson who was following her through. Ruman made one more lap but the front tire blew from the damage and she had to pit.
The crew changed the tire and removed the torn bodywork but could not repair the severely damaged power steering assembly as she fell laps down. Ruman decided to continue to race the damaged car for the next 15 or so laps and took the checkered 12th in class and 26th place overall. Drissi parked his car in the pit lane and did not continue. After the race, the Chief Steward stripped Drissi of all points and standings from the race and he was struck from the results as a penalty for his actions during the race.
Paul Fix won the race with Jim McAleese in 2nd and Adam Andretti in 3rd.
“We had such a good car and I know we had an incredibly strong opportunity to win here this weekend at Mid-Ohio. I honestly don’t know what Drissi has against me, our family and team, and Trans Am racing – we used to be friends! His unsportsmanlike, unprofessional, unacceptable highly dangerous racing conduct, was truly unprecedented. Trans Am is known for close competition and good racing – not for a driver lying in wait for the entire lead pack with the intention of taking them out. I urge the Series officials to take severe penalty action and show that this kind of behavior is not accepted in the future and in our sport,” forcefully stated Ruman. “While I’m disappointed to have lost points to Paul, who managed to survive the melee and take the win, I’m determined to work hard the next five races and keep fighting for the Championship. Just like I didn’t give up today, even without the power steering, I will not give up on this Championship.”
“To McNichols Company who has been with us the whole season, and those sponsors that came on board for this weekend’s race, Don Sitts Auto Group, FirstEnergy, and Quicklane Tire and Auto, I am very grateful for your support and I am truly sorry this nonsense took us out of winning contention,” said Ruman.
Ruman’s 2015 Trans Am Championship quest is tougher now, she heads into Round 8 at Road America still in first place in the point’s battle but with a smaller gap of 22 points. Ruman stands in the lead with 209 and Fix in second with 187.
The Mid-Ohio races will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, with the Next Dimension 100, presented by FirstEnergy, featuring TA/TA3, airing on Saturday, August 29 at 12:00 p.m. ET, and the FirstEnergy Muscle Car Challenge, presented by 3-Dimensional Services, featuring TA2, airing on Saturday, September 5, at 10:00 a.m. EST.
Sponsors: McNICHOLS CO. is the nation’s largest distributor of Perforated and Expanded Metals; Wire Mesh; Bar, Plank, and Safety Gratings; Stair Treads; Matting; and more. Products are carried in all styles and materials–stocked for 24 hour shipment. “Inspired to Serve”™ 800.237.3820 mcnichols.com.
Don Sitts Auto Sales, Inc. is a family owned and operated dealership in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. Stop in for all your vehicle needs, over 200 cars in stock – for more info and inventory list, visit DonSitts.com.
Quicklane Tire and Auto at Valley Ford Truck in Cleveland is a proud sponsor of The Ruman Racing team and welcomes Amy back to her home track Mid Ohio. Come see why life is better in the Quicklane. All makes and models are welcome—find out more here: Quicklane.com/valleyfordtruck
For quick news and updates during race weekends, please follow Ruman Racing and the Trans Am Series on Twitter: @rumanracing and @gotransam. Be sure to “Like” our official pages on Facebook: Ruman Racing, Amy Ruman (Official Fan Page), McNichols Company, and Go Trans Am.