Amy Ruman, Tony Ave – All Americans
December 9, 2011
MIAMI, Fla. –Two Trans Am drivers, Amy Ruman and Tony Ave, are among the racers earning honors from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) following their outstanding 2011 seasons.
Ruman, driver of the McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette, won AARWBA’s Rising Star award, following her breakout year. Ruman, age 37, won the season finale at Road Atlanta, to become the first woman ever to win a Trans Am Series race in the series’ 45-year history.
“Wow what a surprise. I was thrilled to hear that I had been selected for the Rising Star Award by AARWBA,” stated Ruman. “What a honor to be named among some of racing's finest drivers! The auto racing broadcasters and journalists have a unique perspective in that they are following all forms of auto racing across the country. So to have been chosen for this award from among all the racers they follow is just incredible. Their vote of confidence is inspiring.
“ I'm still very excited about our McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Trans Am team’s accomplishments in 2011, but we are already focused on next year,” added Ruman. “I love racing and want to continue to build my competition portfolio in every way I can. Congrats to Tony (Ave) for being named to the All-America 2nd Team. What great recognition for the Trans-Am Series in road racing competition.”
Winning a Trans Am race was a feat that eluded all woman competitors that came before Ruman, including the likes of Lynn St. James and Deborah Gregg, arguably the two most accomplished woman drivers in Trans Am history.
Gregg, who drove a Lincoln Mercury Capri for Roush Racing from 1985-1994 (58 career starts), earned back to back 3rd place finishes at Road America and Memphis in 1987 in her best ever showings, en route to a fifth place finish in the series that year.
St. James, a Trans Am competitor from 1983-1990 (53 career starts), drove her Roush Merkur XR4Ti, to 3rd place at Long Beach on her way to seventh place that year.
Ruman finished the 2011 campaign with three podium finishes (another woman best) and placed third overall in the Trans Am Series Championship, the highest finish ever for a woman. Ruman has achieved this success in a relatively short career. She debuted at Cleveland in 2005, and the Road Atlanta win was only her 22nd career race.
Ave, who drove the Lamers Racing/Beebe Racing/Optech/PME Chevrolet Corvette, was named to the Second Team in the Road Racing category, following his dominating season in which he grabbed six wins and two runner-up finishes en route to his second consecutive Trans Am Series Driver’s championship. He earned five Clean Sweeps (winning the pole and race, earning the fast lap and leading the most laps) in what was a truly spectacular season.
“It’s good to see that Trans Am itself is getting recognized as a valuable pro series,” Ave said. “I feel the award speaks as much to the series I am racing in as to what we do. I am happy for both my team and the series itself to get the recognition and hopefully we can do it again next year. I have always loved Trans Am and I think we will go long into the future. Anytime someone gets put into the category of other racing greats and a series that has been around this long, it definitely makes you feel good.”
Ave now ranks 14th in Trans Am history in all-time wins, with 12, and is in easy reach of the top-10 in 2012. He is just the 11th driver in Trans Am history to earn multiple drivers’ titles, and just the seventh to do the feat back to back. He joins a very select group -- Tommy Kendall, Mark Donohue, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., Paul Gentilozzi, Peter Gregg and Bob Tullius -- as the only drivers to have ever earned back to back titles.
Ave and Ruman’s achievements and those of all honorees will be celebrated at the 42nd AARWBA All-America Team Banquet, which takes place on January 8, 2012 in the Grand Hall at the Train Station of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Indianapolis, IN. Tickets are available to the public at www.aarwba.org., 817-668-5433.