Year in Review - Amy Ruman Has Stellar 2012 Racing Season
November 29, 2012
Munroe Falls, Ohio (29 November 2012) – After making history as the first woman to win a Trans-Am race with her breakthrough victory in the 2011 season-finale race at Road Atlanta, Amy Ruman looked to build on that record-setting accomplishment as she set her sights on a successful 2012 season.
Those ambitions were met as Amy Ruman and her Ruman Racing squad posted a stellar season of results in 2012.
Entering Ruman’s sixth year of Trans Am competition and looking to build on the strong third place points finish to 2011, the Ruman Racing squad took ownership of a new C6 Corvette sponsored by McNichols Co., Goodyear, and Cenweld Corp.
Though the new machinery brought a learning curve for the team, the Bob Ruman-led group quickly got acquainted with the new chassis early in the season and put those lessons to work.
The performance of the new Corvette, the knowledge and expertise of Ruman Racing, and Amy’s stout talents behind the wheel combined for a brilliant 2012 season which saw Ruman fighting for the Trans Am championship title all year long.
Ruman amassed an impressive seven podium results in 10 races – including two victories at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Brainerd International Raceway.
Those results saw Ruman finish the Trans Am season runner-up in the championship – just 11 points shy of the title. In addition to Trans Am, she also picked up three wins and two pole positions in SCCA GT-1 National competition. She went on to finish fourth in the highly competitive SCCA GT-1 National Championship Runoffs held at historic Road America.
After finishing sixth in the season opening event at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Ruman first stood on the podium at Lime Rock Park - the second stop on the Trans Am schedule. It was Ruman’s debut at the quick 1.5-mile Connecticut road course but she wasted no time finding the fast way around the track. Looking like a Lime Rock veteran at the high-speed circuit, she opened the race from fourth on the grid before driving to third at the finish.
Next up was Ruman’s home track of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course located just a couple of hours south of the Ruman Racing shop in Munroe Falls, Ohio. With a large crowd of family, friends, and Ohio fans in attendance, Ruman started third and immediately moved into second at the start. She would take over the lead following a restart to lead her first-ever Trans Am laps at her home track. Despite a drink bottle failure during the 100-mile race held under the extremely hot Midwest summer conditions, Ruman remained busy behind the wheel making the most of the available in-car adjustments to compensate for the continuous changes in handling due to the extreme heat. The changes helped but were not enough to hold off a hard-charging Simon Gregg. After a valiant side-by-side battle for the lead, Ruman ultimately ceded first place and took second at the checkered flag.
Following her two consecutive podium finishes, Ruman was ready to stand on the top step as she continued to gain ground in the championship points. And she did just that in Round 4 at New Jersey Motorsports Park as Ruman dominated the final stages of the race and crossed the finish line with a 20.090-second gap over the rest of the field. But the win didn’t come easy for Ruman when unfortunate contact with Tony Ave jeopardized her shot at victory and the No. 23 McNichols Co./Goodyear/Cenweld Corvette machine sustained a flat tire forcing her to pit lane for a tire change. But luck was on Ruman’s side and the track went yellow while the No. 23 was on pit lane. Ruman managed to stay on the lead lap and the No. 23 lined up third with just seven laps to go. Ruman improved to second with five laps to go and regained the lead on the following lap and never looked back to claim her first Trans Am victory of the season.
Ruman followed up that effort with a run to second place at historic Watkins Glen for her fourth consecutive podium as Trans Am marked the half-way point of its race season.
It was a busy weekend of on-track action at the Glen with Ruman also competing in SCCA GT-1 competition. A mechanical issue saw the No. 23 McNichols Co./Goodyear/Cenweld Corvette start from 19th on the GT-1 grid but Ruman made it look easy as she maneuvered from the rear of the field to claim her third GT-1 victory of the year.
Heading into Round 6 at Road America, Ruman entered the weekend second in the championship and had hoped to keep her podium streak going.
But a strong run was cut short when contact with the No. 87 of Doug Peterson saw the No. 23 sustain damage forcing Ruman to pit for repairs. Great work from the Ruman Racing crew kept the No. 23 McNichols Co./Goodyear/Cenweld Corvette on the lead lap and Ruman restarted 17th with 10 laps to go – the No. 23 running without its hood. Ruman made the most of the restart to move up six spots to run 11th with nine laps to go and ultimately took ninth at the checkered flag.
Focused forward, Ruman Racing set their eyes on the next race – a double header event at Brainerd International Raceway. While tire issues prevented Ruman from adding to her podium tally when she scored fourth in Race 1, she seamlessly drove to victory in Race 2. Holding a 16-second advantage over the rest of the field at one point in the race, she defended against a late-race charge from Simon Gregg to claim her second win of the year with a .673-second advantage.
With a two-month break between the Brainerd International Raceway rounds and the season-finale event, Ruman Racing was well-prepared for the final two rounds as they returned to the site of Ruman’s breakthrough victory at Road Atlanta. Once again at the controls of the No. 23 McNichols Co./Goodyear/Cenweld Corvette which had proven to be quick all season long, Ruman capped off an incredible 2012 season with a double podium weekend of two third place results.
In Race 1, Ruman started third before taking over second in the early stages of the race. She would run second for most of the event before contact with nine laps to go saw the No. 23 sustain damage but rally to third at the finish. With Race 2’s qualifying order set by the results of Race 1, Ruman opened Sunday’s race from third on the grid. Unfortunately, a quick spin on Lap 1 saw Ruman playing catch up for most of the race. Running lap times faster than the leaders, Ruman began to dig into the nearly 30-second gap between her and the lead pack of cars. Ruman Racing welcomed a late-race caution as the field bunched back up. Running second at the restart, the stage was set for an eight-lap dash to the finish making a valiant battle between Peterson, Ruman and Ave for the win. Ruman eventually relinquished second place to finish third for her seventh podium of the year.
A very impressive season combined with the strong results in the season-finale saw Ruman solidify her runner-up finish in the 2012 Trans Am Championship.
“We made a big commitment this season to go to the new car, and I think the results backed up our decision,” said Ruman. “It can be a risk any time you change equipment, but my team did a fantastic job learning the car and the preparation was outstanding all year long. I’m really grateful to have this kind of group–a great family around me. We had another very strong year, and I think the new management of the Trans Am Race Company did an outstanding job as well. I’m looking forward to continuing to see the Series grow and to keep getting stronger in the future. I can’t believe the season is already over, but we are already working on our plans for 2013!"