Michael Ruff has racked up many notable drag racing achievements, but other than his NHRA Summit Racing Series National Championship with his regular Super Street ride, the majority of his biggest wins, including last year's triumph at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, have been with cars owned by others. To reach the winner's circle, Ruff had to rely not only on his driving talents, but also his tuning abilities.
SUPER GAS — 4th annual NHRA Virginia Nationals, Oct. 9-11, Richmond Ruff scores first national event win with own car by John Jodauga scored an impressive win Michael Ruff (left) followed up last year’s at the NHRA Virginia big U.S. Nationals victory by driving the ichael Ruff has racked up many notable drag Nationals. ’67 Camaro that he debuted this year to a M racing achievements, but other than his NHRA Summit Racing Series National To reach the winner’s circle, Ruff had to rely 9.887 to 9.882 double-breakout victory over Greg Slack’s ’70 Maverick. Ruff Championship with his regular Super Street ride, not only on his driving aided his cause with a slight .004 to .011 the majority of his biggest wins, including last talents, but also his starting-line advantage. year’s triumph at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals tuning abilities. “It was presented by Lucas Oil, have been with cars pretty warm when we had 598-cid engine. “I had it built that size owned by others. our three time-trial runs for extra speed so that I could be the He won last year’s U.S. Nationals with Vince on Friday,” said Ruff. chaser more often,” said Ruff. “I Costa’s ’70 Nova while his current ’67 Camaro “But because of the rain [don’t have] the fastest car in Super was being built. “I drove it all of last year and for delays on Saturday, we Gas right now, but I get to play catch the first two races that I participated in this only got in one round up most of the time.” Ruff said that season before I began running the Camaro,” said that night. Then when we speed differences of as much as 20 Ruff. It didn’t take too long for Ruff to earn his had to run the rest of mph do not cause him any problems first victory with his own Super Gas ride when he eliminations on Sunday, with making snap-second decisions at the air became much the finish line. “It’s only when you cooler, and I had to slow come up against a car that’s in the About the winning car the car down quite a bit.” 130-mph range that it becomes aklash Racecraft built Michael Ruff’s ’67 The quicker conditions were especially difficult, and there aren’t too many cars left in T Camaro with an extended 112-inch wheelbase to provide extra stability under less than ideal prevalent in round three, when nine of the 10 contestants went under the 9.90 index. Two races Super Gas these days that run that slow.” conditions. It is motivated by a 598-cid big-block were decided on red-lights, and two were double- The key race: “I guess the race that made the engine assembled by Pete Wheeler Power breakout affairs. Ruff won double-breakout difference for me was in the fourth round when I Products, the shop that has done Ruff’s previous contests in the semi’s and the final, and he had to go up against Jason Kenny,” said Ruff. Super Street powerplants. It is equipped with a credited part of his success to his relatively large “Jason is always a very consistent competitor, and Dart block, heads and intake manifold from Pro- Filer Performance Products, a 1050cfm Holley Dominator prepped by AED, Comp Cams camshaft, MSD ignition, Moroso oil pan, and Dyna Tech headers. The drivetrain includes a Powerglide transmission and converter from Greg Samuel at FTI, a Ford 9-inch-type rear-end housing with Strange axles, spool, center section, and brakes, and Mickey Thompson wheels and tires. Ruff thanked his wife, Shari, daughter Brittany, and brother-in-law Larry Hamby, who serves as a crewmember. Ruff also acknowledged Carl Robinson and Tom Khundrick of M/T, Don Higgins of Crew Chief Pro, Bob Harris of K&N, Marc Erickson of Auto Meter, Bearden Oil Co., CSR, AFCO, ART, BLP Products Inc., and Aurora Bearing Co. Ruff advanced to the final with a 9.87 to 9.86 double-breakout decision over Matt Cooke’s ’67 Corvette. 48 ✦ National DRAGSTER Super Gas Qualifying (Top 16 of 19 first-round winners) 1. Pete Luciano, Malvern, Pa. (’68 Camaro) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.901 (0.001) 2. Alan Kenny, Kingston, Ont. (’03 Corvette). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.903 (0.003) 3. John Stover, Lock Haven, Pa. (’06 Corvette). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.904 (0.004) 4. Mike Sawyer, Leominster, Mass. (’03 Cavalier) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.905 (0.005) 5. Chris DePascale, Parlin, N.J. (’04 Corvette) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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