Coldwater, MI (Tuesday, December 15, 2020) - A “silly season” of sorts in Michigan short track racing is starting to come to an end as area drivers confirm their plans for the 2021 season. One of the first to confirm with Horsepower Happenings is Coldwater native, Ryan Ruhl, who says he’ll be returning to his Smith Motorsports number 71H for his fourth full-time season.
A multi-time winner with Great Lakes Super Sprints (GLSS) and the former Sprints on Dirt (SOD) tour, Ruhl is an easily recognizable name in sprint car racing in the Great Lakes region. For the past three seasons, Ruhl has spent the majority of his tenure behind the wheel with the Steve Smith owned 71H. A majority of their time has been spent with GLSS, but Ruhl says they aren’t completely tied down with the series, although they plan to support it as much as possible.
“[We’ll race] a lot of the GLSS stuff, any 410 shows that come to the area, and hopefully some more Attica and Fremont stuff,” Ruhl told Horsepower Happenings’, Zach Hiser.
The partnership between Ruhl and Smith Motorsports has historically been a good one. In just his third full-time start in 2018, Ruhl took the 71H to a podium finish at Tri-City Motor Speedway during an early-season SOD show. According to My Race Pass, that first season, Ruhl picked up two wins, four top-five finishes, and five top-10s. In 2019, the stats got even better for Ruhl, who put together five feature wins including three in a row, six top-fives, and three top-10 finishes.
Even with the pandemic affected 2020 season, Ruhl remained strong with Smith
Motorsports, taking on a full GLSS schedule competing for his first Championship. All three of Ruhl’s recorded wins in 2020 came during GLSS sanctioned events at I-96 Speedway, Butler Motor Speedway, and Merritt Speedway. He backed those races up with six more top-fives and a top-10. Despite his efforts, Ruhl would fall short in the Championship battle by 109 points to two-time champion Jared Horstman.
Ruhl says he is excited to get back behind the wheel of the iconic 71H. “I am really looking forward to continuing racing with the Smith Motorsports team,” Ruhl remarked. “They have top-notch equipment and they are continually looking for ways to improve their operation, and I feel like the more we race together the faster we get.”
Ruhl’s fourth season with Smith Motorsports is tentatively set to begin on February 10th at the Winternationals from East Bay Raceway Park.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Randy Ellen