Ruman Scores Third in Sebring Season-Opener
March 5, 2013
Sebring, Fla. (5 March 2013) – Amy Ruman kicked off the 2013 Trans Am championship with a run to the podium in the season-opening event, driving the No. 23 McNichols Corvette to third in the 27-lap, 100-mile race held at Sebring International Raceway.
Though many anticipated some warm Florida weather to open up the season, the area experienced unseasonably cool temperatures which made for some challenges in set up as teams chased the handling of the cars.
But Ruman Racing’s hard work over the off-season showed when Ruman qualified the No. 23 Corvette fifth on the 16-car Trans Am grid on Saturday. The qualifying session not only saw the pole sitter set a new track record but several others in the field setting very competitive lap times with the third through fifth positions separated by only seven hundredths of a second. Ruman’s time of 2:01.650-seconds saw her set the fifth fastest time - just behind Cliff Ebben whose lap was a mere three-one-thousandths of a second quicker.
The No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette lined up on the inside of Row 3 for the start and immediately moved up to third position on the opening lap. But Ruman’s forward momentum was halted when the track went yellow just three laps into the race.
Ruman slipped into fourth on the restart as the top-five battled for position. She stuck right with the lead group of cars as the No. 23 ran fourth in line through a stint of green flag laps.
A lengthy yellow was displayed on Lap 12 when a car caught fire and rescue crews responded to extinguish the blaze. The Trans Am field circled under caution for five long laps prior to a final 11-lap green flag run to the finish.
On the restart, the No. 36 of Ebben edged by Ruman and then made his way around Simon Gregg. Ruman hounded Gregg’s No. 1 machine for several laps before finally making her way by and setting her sights back on Ebben. But, with so much time spent fighting for the third position, there were not enough laps left in the race for Ruman to catch back up to the frontrunners despite her strong late-race pace and she brought the No. 23 to the checkered flag third in line.
“It was a great start to the season,” said Ruman. “It would have been nice to get by Gregg a little earlier than I did because I think we could have challenged for second. Unfortunately, we just lost too much time there, so I'm happy with the third. It was a good warm up to the season and the car was mechanically great all weekend. Too bad we have to wait so long until the next race, I was just getting back into the groove!”
Ruman Racing sees over a two-month long break in race action before Trans Am travels to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario on May 19 for Round 2 of the championship.