|Kenzie Ruston with her trophy. (Credit goes|
to Kenzie Ruston Racing)
It’s not often in motorsports that a driver can make history, yet alone make history twice in one weekend. That’s exactly what El Reno, Oklahoma’s Kenzie Ruston accomplished at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) this past weekend by qualifying first and going on to win the Seal Wrap 100. With these accomplishments Ruston became the first female to do either in a Champion Racing Association (CRA) event.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old is no stranger to Lucas Oil Raceway as she had previously competed in a CRA event along with an Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event earlier in the 2011 season at the historical racetrack located in beautiful Indianapolis, IN.
With 37 of the best Super Late Models on hand for the Seal Wrap 100, this was going to be no easy task for the young female sensation.
“It’s overwhelming to know that some of the best in the business are here for this race and we have a legitimate shot to win this race,” said Ruston before she went out for qualifying.
Ruston would immediately jump to the top of the charts with a lap of 21.513-seconds in her No.39 MelMark Pipe & Supply, Ankney Trucking, Racing Electronics Toyota, which was good enough to secure her first career pole position qualifying effort along with making history by becoming the first female to ever do so in a CRA event.
“Anytime you can go to a racetrack and make history it means a lot and to become the first female to accomplish this is awesome. I knew we had a great shot at qualifying on the pole and after my first lap, I looked and saw that it was the fastest and I got very excited.”
In the CRA events, the pole qualifier must pull a pill out of a hat to see how many cars will be inverted before the start of the race. In this case, Ruston pulled the seven-pill meaning she would have to start the 100 lap feature from the seventh position.
“We are going to have to work our way back to the front and be careful in doing so,” said the determined Ruston before the start of the race. “This race is normally filled with cautions. If we can keep our nose clean we should be there at the end to give them a run for their money.”
That was exactly the plan that Ruston and her team put into act as the green flag dropped.
She quickly picked up two spots, putting her in the fifth position and looked to be riding there while the other competitors were battling hard for positions one through four. Several cautions would plague the first part of the race including a red flag at lap 33.
Under the red flag, crew chief Nick Easton and spotter Mike Herman coached Ruston on how she was going to pick off the next few cars and put herself in position to win the race. Once the race went back to green flag conditions, Ruston quickly drove her No. 39 machine to the second spot and found a good pace to ride.
“Midway through the race I knew we had a car to win and we could get to the back bumper of the leader, but couldn’t seem to get around him. We got into a decent pace and I knew that I needed to save as much as possible to be able to run with them at the end, so that’s exactly what we did.”
A caution on lap 79 would set up for a 21-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Ruston planned on giving it all she had and by lap 90 she was within striking distance of the leader and looked to be setting him up for a late-race move.
On lap 97, Ruston would take over the lead and she never looked back.
When the checkered flag feel she had claimed her first career Super Late Model victory and made history again by becoming the first female to ever win a CRA Late Model race.
“This is awesome, I was chasing the leader and thought I could catch him in those last few laps, but I did not know if I could pass him or not.Getting to his bumper may have been all." Ruston commented.
"It is just incredible to be the first woman to win a CRA Super Series race, just awesome. I can’t put it into words what this win means to me. This team has stuck behind me and never gave up. We have all worked very hard for this day and it feels so great. I can’t thank everyone enough."
Up next for the 20-year-old Oklahoma native is the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” of Winchester Speedway in Winchester, IN for the 40th Annual Winchester 400 on October 14th – 16th.
You can keep up with everything Kenzie by following her racing on twitter @KenzieRuston or on Facebook @Kenzie Ruston Racing. Visit GoKenzie.com for the latest schedules, news, results, photos, and more. For marketing opportunities please contact John Bowen at 828-446-2698
*Official Kenzie Ruston Racing Press Release*
*Official Kenzie Ruston Racing Press Release*