Amy Ruman, in the #23 McNichols Chevrolet Corvette, started on pole position at New Jersey Motorsports for the RacingJunk.com 100, Round 5 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship.
Ruman was able to hold that position for the duration of the race, despite multiple challenges from defending Champion Doug Peterson. The win is her first since the 2012 season, places Ruman within 2 points of Peterson for the Championship lead going into the rest of the 2014 season.
“This week has been all about my team, my mom, my dad, everyone that works so hard for me, McNichols, everyone that lets me do what I do,” said Ruman. “I can’t thank everyone enough for all the effort they give me week in and week out. It felt great to start on pole and lead the race, back-to-back wins in New Jersey is pretty cool too—so I guess I really like Thunderbolt track here.”
The race began with Ruman on pole with Peterson, also in a Corvette, alongside and the #59 Simon Gregg in third position. Amy was quick to build a lead during the early laps; but it was Jim McAleese, starting fourth in the #03 Corvette who put on a show during the early laps. McAleese set a crazy pace, shooting up through the field, passing both Gregg and Peterson on the restart on lap 9, the consequence of a brief full course yellow during the start of the race.
McAleese would hold the position for nine laps but was never able to pursue Ruman; busy in a battle with Peterson for the position. Peterson who ran nose-to-tail with McAleese often attempted to overtake McAleese through turn one, only to have the window closed on multiple occasions.
The three would hold their position up to lap 26, when the course went under yellow once more due to a large oil slick in turn six. On the restart, Peterson closed the gap between himself and Ruman, with each driver running their best times of the race.
Ruman was able to fend off Peterson until the checkered flag, in turn capturing her second consecutive victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park, despite finishing the last eight laps of the race without power steering.
“It was an endurance race,” said Ruman. “I knew Peterson would be there when we got the yellow, he was probably being conservative with his tires; I was trying to be as conservative as possible with mine too. At the end, I knew he’d be gunning for me; I didn’t anticipate the power steering problems. I was ok on the straights; but in the corners he caught up with me, so I had to get back on the gas as fast as I could. I don’t know how much longer I could have done that; but you know, I’ve been working out, so we’re good!”
Peterson would finish second, enough to retain his points lead, but only just; as Ruman now remains only two points down from the reigning TA Champion.
“We’re focusing on trying to win this Championship; it’s really a goal of ours,” said Ruman. “I’m excited that we’re back in the hunt for it. It’s basically a new season; I think it’s going to be exciting for the fans and exciting for us. There are six races to go and anything can happen!”
McAleese held on to finish third in the race, his highest finish on the year, while Simon Gregg would come in fourth and Kerry Hitt, in the #19 Advanced Composite Products, finished fifth.
Going into Round 6 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship, the 3Dimensional Services Group Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Doug Peterson remains the TA class points leader with 132 points, followed by Ruman with 130 and Gregg with 122. In TA2, Lawrence increased his tally to 155, with Andretti in second with 125 and Poitras in third with 115. Russ Snow holds the International Group lead with 113 to Tim Gray’s 75 and Berkeley’s 70, while Cassaro continues to lead the American Muscle Group with 128 to Ernie Francis, Jr.’s 116 and Rob Bodle’s 99.
To keep up with Trans Am at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com and on Twitter at @Gotransam.
For more information about Amy Ruman visit her website: www.rumanracing.com