Ruman wins at Road Atlanta

A girl, easily beats the flaccid men of Trans-Am
A girl, Amy Ruman, easily beats the men of Trans-Am, deflating their male egos

BRASELTON, GA. – Amy Ruman secured her third career victory at Road Atlanta today as she powered the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette around the 2.54-mile Georgia track in a flag-to-flag victory over a bunch of flaccid men. The win was Ruman’s first of the year as she continues her title defense of the TA class Championship. Ruman was joined on the TA class podium by John Baucom, in the No. 86 Baucom Motorsports/ Roadraceparts.com Ford Mustang, and by Trans Am veteran Greg Pickett, in the No. 68 Flavor Insights Jaguar XKR, who finished second and third, respectively.

Class victories were also secured by Randy Mueller, driver of the No. 0 Epic Motorsports BMW M3, in TA3; by Ernie Francis, Jr., driver of the No. 98 Beta Tools/ Liquid Performance Ford Mustang, in TA4; and by Connor Flynn, driver of the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Automotive Porsche 997, in TA5.

Ruman’s performance neared dominance at times, building up a ten second lead over the first 14 laps of the race before the first of three yellows, and showing shades of a similar performance on the Road Atlanta track in 2015 that also yielded a victory.

“My dad (Bob Ruman) just has the setup dialed in here at Road Atlanta," said Ruman. “We were fast right off the trailer this weekend, led every session, and last year we had a dominant race as well. I don’t really know, I just like this track and we have the setup working–we changed a few things but it was for the better. We laid down a really good lap at the end of the race, a 1:21.744, so I was pretty happy about that. The McNichols 23 today was on fire. I’m glad that we’ve rebounded like we have from Sebring–we should have had that win; I just made an error and that happens sometimes. Hopefully that’s done and over-with, and we’ll move on with more wins and get the ball rolling from here."

For Ruman, her title defense goes on, but the driver of the No. 23 insists she’s focused on addressing each race individually and not looking too far ahead, despite taking the TA class points lead, 54, with today’s victory.

“The season is so long and so much can happen," said Ruman. “We had a nice lead last year, and it dwindled away midseason. I’m just taking each race one at a time. If we have a bad race, we’ll move on from it; if we have a good one, we’re just going to try and continue the momentum and persevere. We’re chasing our second championship, and I’m here to defend that title–hopefully we’ll wrap that up and do it again this year."

John Baucom, who finished second to Ruman, made his first podium appearance of the year after a career drive from the back of the field after missing qualifying due to mechanical issues. The finish is tied for Baucom’s career best and also saw his crew awarded the Pitboxes.com Crew of the Race for their efforts in getting the No. 86 to the grid in time for the race.

Trans Am veteran and former champion Greg Pickett finished second in his first race of the 2016 Trans Am season as he made his 180th career Trans Am start and captured his 92nd top-five appearance. Pickett began the race in sixth position and made it as high as second position before being overtaken by Baucom on the first restart.

The TA class top five was completed by Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and David Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Chevrolet Corvette.

In TA3, Randy Mueller secured his third Trans Am win after starting the race in third position, securing first position on the second lap and leading the rest of the race, out running more powerful Dodge Vipers and Chevrolet Corvettes with his more nimble BMW M3. The second year TA3 driver was quick to credit his team’s preparation and work off-track as a difference maker.

“We’re putting in a lot of time back in the shop," said Mueller. “The preparation is making a big impact–I feel like we’re definitely the underdog in the class when it comes to power, so we have to get our racing done in the turns and that’s tough because on the straightaways they can drive right by us. But our consistency, that’s what’s important."

Mueller was joined on the TA3 podium by 2014 Champion Jason Berkeley, in the No. 67 BMG Management Chevrolet Corvette, who finished second and 2015 Champion Lee Saunders, driver of the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper ACRX. The TA3 top five was completed by Mueller’s teammate Michael Camus, in the No. 08 Epic Motorsports BMW M3, and Mel Shaw, in the No. 22 Bay Commercial Group Chevrolet Corvette.

In TA4, two-time defending Champion Ernie Francis, Jr., secured a second consecutive victory following up a retroactively awarded win at Sebring with a flag-to-flag win at Road Atlanta, this time dueling with Dean Martin, driver of the No. 52 Picture Cars East Ford Mustang, for the top spot for the vast majority of the race.

“This race was especially tough," said Francis, Jr. “We had Dean Martin out here who’s a multiple-time Champion in pretty much everything he has ever raced in–he put on a really good race with us. We were able to keep him behind us with other traffic, but I’m hoping he keeps coming out the rest of the season and we can have some better battles with a little less yellow."

Martin would finish second to Francis in his Trans Am return, making his first appearance in the Series since the 2015 Season Finale in Daytona. Rookie Brian Kleeman, in the No. 07 DWW Motorsports Ford Mustang, would finish third–securing his second podium finish in as many starts. Trans Am rookies Nate Stacy, in the No. 51 Forgeline Racing Wheels Ford Mustang, and Tristian Herbert, in the No. 33 Tilton Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, secured fourth and fifth in TA4, respectively.

In TA5, Connor Flynn, driver of the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Automotive Porsche 997, captured his first pro win after a race-long battle with Milton Grant, driver of the No. 5 Sentry Self/Courtyard by Marriott Porsche 997. For Flynn, the win marked not only a career first but the also a first step in the right direction; as he and others continue to build the recently introduced Porsche exclusive class.

“It’s really exciting to have the opportunity with Porsche here in Trans Am," said Flynn. “We’ve been welcomed into Trans Am with open arms, and everyone’s been incredibly friendly. Learning the traffic here has been a big challenge–getting a feel for going into the tight turns with other classes has been interesting. We’re looking forward to seeing this class grow; Watkins Glen is next and we’re expecting a big TA5 turnout there. We want to grow with this Series, to be here when TA5 is just as big as TA2. This is a learning experience– I’m absolutely a rookie and this is my first pro win ever, but we’re aiming for championship contention this year."

The multiclass race saw 37 cars take the green flag and go under a full course caution three times for a total of 10 laps of the 34-lap race. The race was forced to end prematurely after a collision between the No. 39 car of Todd Napieralski and the tire wall in turn five– race control assessed the situation and determined repairs would take longer than the remaining time would allow.

The Trans Am Series will return to the track on May 15th at Watkins Glen International for Round 3 of the 2016 Trans Am Championship as it continues its 50th Anniversary Season.

Results

Pos No. PIC Driver Sponsor/Ca Laps Best Tm Pts
1 23 TA 1 Amy Ruman / Kent OH McNichols Co./Chevrolet Corvette 34 01:21.744 35
2 86 TA 2 John Baucom / Waxhaw NC BaucomMtrspts/roadraceparts.com/Ford Mustang 34 01:22.284 27
3 68 TA 3 Greg Pickett / Crystal Bay NV Flavor Insights/Jaguar XKR 34 01:22.149 25
4 59 TA 4 Simon Gregg / Ponte Verde FL Derhaag Motorsports/Chevrolet Corvette 34 01:22.577 23
5 57 TA 5 David Pintaric / Canfield OH Kryderacing/Chevrolet Corvette 34 01:23.125 21
6 36 TA 6 Cliff Ebben / Appleton WI Stumpf Ford/McMahon Gr/LamersRcg/Ford Mustang 34 01:22.385 22
7 03 TA 7 Jim McAleese / Leesburg VA McAleese & Associates//Chevrolet Corvette 34 01:24.258 19
8 19 TA 8 Kerry Hitt / Harrisburg PA Advanced Composite Products Inc./Cadillac CTS­V 34 01:24.637 18
9 15 TA 9 Allan Lewis / New Dundee Ont Canada BC Race Cars/Chevrolet Corvette 34 01:25.419 17
10 82 TA 10 Joseph Freda / Auburn AL ERALab.com/Chevrolet Corvette 34 01:25.752 16
11 18 TA 11 Jon Leavy / Sunrise FL info@MORprinting.com/Chevrolet Camaro 34 01:27.468 15
12 6 TA 12 Mickey Wright / Clearwater FL Derhaag Motorsports/Chevrolet Corvette 33 01:27.574 14
13 77 TA 13 Tim Rubright / Kutztown PA BlueKnobAuto.com/Ford Mustang 33 01:27.985 13
14 0 TA3 1 Randy Mueller / Miami FL Epic Motorsports/BMW M3 33 01:30.008 33
15 98 TA4 1 Ernie Francis Jr / Miami FL BetaTools/LiquidPerformance/Ford Mustang 33 01:30.223 35
16 52 TA4 2 Dean Martin / Westland MI Picture Cars East/Ford Mustang 33 01:30.351 29
17 67 TA3 2 Jason Berkeley / New York NY BMG Management/Chevrolet Corvette 33 01:31.145 27
18 84 TA3 3 Lee Saunders / Lakeland FL Landsearch LLC/Dodge Viper ACRX 33 01:30.468 27
19 07 TA4 3 Brian Kleeman (R) / Baltimore MD DWW Motorsports/Ford Mustang 33 01:32.060 26
20 95 TA5 1 Conor Flynn (R) / Eustis FL Irish Mike's Automotive/Porsche 997 33 01:29.778 35
21 5 TA5 2 Milton Grant / Germantown TN SentrySelf/CourtyardByMarriott/Porsche 997 33 01:32.356 29
22 51 TA4 4 Nate Stacy (R) / Owasso OK Forgeline Racing Wheels/Ford Mustang 33 01:32.275 23
23 33 TA4 5 Tristan Herbert (R) / Ashburn VA Tilton Motorsports/Chevrolet Camaro 33 01:32.206 21
24 08 TA3 4 Michael Camus / Miami Lakes FL Epic Motorsports/BMW M3 32 01:30.275 23
25 22 TA3 5 Mel Shaw / Voorhees NJ Bay Commercial Group/BETA/Chevrolet Corvette 32 01:34.755 21
26 64 TA3 6 Larry Funk (R) / Oberlin OH Business Advisory Services/BMW M3 32 01:34.092 20
27 1 TA4 6 Chris DeSalvo / Charlotte NC Baucom Motorsports/Ford Mustang 32 01:34.804 20
28 28 TA3 7 Fernando Seferlis / Republic of Panama Compulab Panama/Aston Martin Vantage GT4 32 01:34.584 19
29 37 TA4 7 Rich Jones / Carrolton OH Jomac Aluminum Bodies & Cranes/Ford Mustang 32 01:35.742 19
30 97 TA4 8 Chris Outzen (R) / Sudbury MA DWW Motorsports/Ford Mustang 32 01:35.767 18
31 16 TA4 9 Rob Bodle / New Bern NC Caribbean Food Delights/Ford Mustang 30 01:38.960 17
32 20 TA3 8 Russ Snow / Eden NC Guardian Services/Chevrolet Corvette 29 01:29.755 18
33 39 TA4 10 Todd Napieralski / Chelsea MI Tremec/SKF/BackstreetPerformnc/Chevrolet Camaro 29 01:31.865 16
34 50 TA 14 Paul Fix / Williamsville NY Tony Ave Racing/Chevrolet Corvette 23 01:22.480 13
35 27 TA4 11 Ted Hight III (R) / Alpharetta GA Bank of North Georgia/Ford Mustang 15 01:40.656 15
36 7 TA 15 Claudio Burtin / Atlanta GA Burtin Racing/Chevrolet Corvette 12 01:24.019 11
37 30 TA 16 Richard Grant / Germantown TN Grant Racing/Chevrolet Corvette 10
DNS 41 TA DNS Vincent Allegretta (R) / Hampton Bays NY TASightsAndSounds/VA Electrical/Chevrolet Corvette 0
DNS 80 TA DNS Kenny Bupp / Ft. Lauderdale FL Hamilton Safe Security/Chevrolet Camaro 0
DNS 11 TA3 DNS Randy Kinsland (R) / Whittier NC Crossland Motorsports/Chevrolet Corvette 3

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