Ebben Captures Hometown Trans Am Series Win at Road America

August 20, 2011

Ebben Captures Hometown Trans Am Series Win at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 20, 2011) – Local driver Cliff Ebben, of nearby Appleton, Wis., earned his second-career Trans Am Series win today in front of the hometown crowd at Road America, part of the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase. Daniel Ramoutarsingh, of La Romain, Trinidad, and Carlos de Quesada, of Coral Gables, Fla., completed the podium.
Ebben started second in the No. 36 McMahon Group/StumpfFord/Lamers Ford Mustang and spent much of the race chasing down Trans Am Series Drivers’ Championship point leader Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C. At one point, Ave led by more than seven seconds over Ebben. But twice, Ave’s substantial lead was negated due to two full course cautions. This allowed Ebben to stay within striking distance.
Ave led the first 21 of the 25-lap race. On lap 21, Ave’s No. 4 Lamers/Beebe Racing Optech/PME Chevrolet Corvette ran over some something on the track and the car’s left front tire started to go down.
“We cut a left front tire,” Ave said of why he lost the lead. “By the end of the race, we only had about eight pounds [of pressure] left in it. I could barely drive it. It wouldn’t stop. It wouldn’t turn to the right. I did the best I could. I thought about coming in and changing it after that last yellow, but wasn’t really sure about it. So, I stayed out. It turned out that the tire was essentially flat at the end of the race so I kind of had to limp around at the end.”
Thanks to Ave’s tire issue, Ebben caught and passed him with just four laps to go. Once Ebben got by Ave, he cruised to a 9.318-second win over Ramoutarsingh. Both of Ebben’s two-career Trans Am Series wins (2009 and 2011) have come at Road America.
“The car was perfect the whole race,” Ebben said. “I tried to run consistently and not make any mistakes. I knew there would be a couple of yellows. I was pretty much ready for second place and then Tony [Ave] started slowing down. I was really surprised. I thought he [Ave] had it covered (the win). But, I guess you never know. It feels real good to get my second Trans Am win at my home track.”
“I hate that [to lead that many laps and not win],” Ave said. “It’s really frustrating. But, the one good thing is, one of my other cars that I built for Cliff Ebben won by a lot. The two of us were really a lot faster than everybody. If I couldn’t win, I’m glad he won.”
Starting fourth in the No. 18 Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR, Ramoutarsingh spent most of his race battling Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio for third place. On lap 19, the back-and-forth battle finally ended when Ruman’s No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette made contact with the Turn Six wall and ended her day. At that point, Ramoutarsingh inherited third place. With one lap to go, Ramoutarsingh passed Ave for second, which is where he finished.
“We really did our best,” Ramoutarsingh said. “We had a couple issues with the lower gears – first and second gear. But, it was a great race. Amy [Ruman] got by me on the restart. I wasn’t expecting her to duck to the inside. But, she did and somehow I ended up fourth or fifth. It was a hard fight to move back up. On the second restart, I got hit going into Turn Three and we were fortunate not to spin the car. It was close. But, from then on, we just put the pedal down and went for it. I said, ‘podium or wreck’.
“When I saw Tony [Ave], it really motivated me because I was really struggling with the car. The brakes were gone, and first and second gear were on the way out. I saw Tony and I said, ‘God, let me give it a try.’ I am grateful things turned out the way they did.”
De Quesada rolled off today’s grid sixth in the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports/Vitalz Jaguar XKR and dropped to eighth by lap five. But, that’s when he starting working his way up and was in fifth by lap 10 – a position he would hold until lap 19.
When Ruman’s day ended, de Quesada inherited fourth place. In fact, de Quesada had resigned himself to the fact that was where he was going to finish until he made a last lap pass on Ave for the final podium spot.
“When I got out there for the race, I just let everything settle down,” de Quesada said of his patient approach to today’s race. “I let everyone do their thing. As their cars started to wear down, I was right there. My car handled phenomenally well. [We were] just down on power. Every time we came down the front straight or the back straight, they [the other drivers] were gone. When I passed Ave, I was really surprised. I thought for sure that I had a fifth-place finish. But, it was good to finish third. It was good to be on the podium.”
Ave finished fourth. This was the first time Ave did not finish on the podium this season and it breaks his four-race win streak.
Dave Ruehlow, of Oconomowoc, Wis., finished fifth in the No. 31 McMahon Group/StumpfFord/Lamers Ford Mustang.
In the TA2 class, Scott Tucker, of Overland Park, Kan., captured his first-career Trans Am Series victory in his first attempt. Driving the No. 55 Level 5 Motorsports Porsche 997, Tucker battled TA2 pole winner Gary Stewart, of York, Pa., and Bob Stretch, of Arlington Texas, for position during the race’s first 10 laps. All three drivers swapped the top spot, until lap 11 when Stretch fell back in the pack due to a mechanical issue (he finished fifth). At that point, it was really a two-car race between Tucker and Stewart, with Tucker coming out on the winning end.
“I knew there was going to be some pretty tough competition,” Tucker said of the TA2 field. “The Porsche that Gary [Stewart] has has been prepped for this series. We took our Cup car and brought it over here. He was quite a bit stronger under braking in some areas. But, I think I had a little more horsepower in the straights than he did.
“Overall, this was good race. It was a really great experience for me. There was some good tough racing – clean racing. Today was my 55th race win and my car number is 55, so this win is going to be memorable.”
Stewart finished second in the No. 92 Apple Motorsports Porsche 996, while Ricky Sanders, of Fayetteville, Ga., finished third in the No. 19 Pitboxes.com/Racetrailersales.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Gregg Rodgers, of Southlake, Texas, was fourth in the No. 40 PinnacleAutosports.com/Eagles Chevrolet Camaro.
Ave leads the Trans Am Drivers’ Point Championship with 774 points, followed by Simon Gregg (598 points), David Jans (486), Doug Harrington (425), and Ruman (420).
Stretch leads the Trans Am 2 Drivers’ Point Championship with 516 points, followed by Rodgers (465 points), Bill Prietzel (423), Sanders (308), and J. Thomas Graham (184).
The SCCA Pro Racing Trans Am Series next heads to Brainerd International Raceway for the Coca-Cola Muscle Car Shootout Sept. 2-4.
For more information, visit www.Trans Amracing.com.
Follow the SCCA Pro Trans Am Series on Twitter @TransAmSeries.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Results from Saturday’s 25-lap, 101.2-mile SCCA Pro Racing Trans Am Series Round Six race, part of the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. TA, (2), Cliff Ebben, Appleton, Wis., Ford Mustang, 25.
2. TA, (4), Daniel Ramoutarsingh, La Romain Trinidad, , Jaguar XKR, 25, -9.318.
3. TA, (6), Carlos deQuesada(R), Coral Gables, Fla., Jaguar XKR, 25, -13.171.
4. TA, (1), Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 25, -18.687.
5. TA, (12), Dave Ruehlow(R), Oconomowoc, Wis., Ford Mustang, 25, -48.440.
6. TA2, (15), Scott Tucker(R), Overland Park, Kansas, Porsche 997, 25, -1:24.190.
7. TA2, (14), Gary Stewart(R), York, Pa., Porsche 996, 25, -1:26.149.
8. TA2, (18), Ricky Sanders(R), Fayetteville, Ga., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 24, -1 lap.
9. TA, (9), John Baucom, Charlotte, N.C., Ford Mustang, 22, -3 laps.
10. TA, (5), Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 21, -4 laps.
11. TA, (3), Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 19, Crash.
12. TA, (11), David Jans(R), Mundelein, Ill., Ford Mustang, 19, Mech.
13. TA2, (17), Gregg Rodgers(R), Southlake, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 18, Susp.
14. TA, (10), Denny Lamers, Appleton, Wis., Ford Mustang, 13, Crash.
15. TA2, (16), Bob Stretch(R), Arlington, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 13, Mech.
16. TA, (8), Doug Harrington(R), Kemah, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 12, Mech.
17. TA, (13), Jim Bradley, Gaston, Ind., Chevrolet Corvette, 12, Mech.
18. TA2, (19), Bill Prietzel(R), Richfield, Wis., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 6, Mech.
19. TA, (7), Doug Peterson(R), Rochester Hills, Mich., Jaguar XKR, 0, Mech.
20. TA2, (20), Tom Sheehan(R), Auburn, N.H., Chevrolet Camaro, 0, DNS.
Time of race: 1 hours, 2 minutes, 00.483 seconds.
Average speed: 97.922 mph
Margin of victory: 9.318 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-21, #4 Tony Ave; laps 22-25, #36 Cliff Ebben
Fastest race lap: #4 Tony Ave, 2:07.710 (114.108 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #4 Tony Ave, 2:05.171 (116.423 mph)
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