Ryan Ruhl masters SOD season opener at Crystal

Chad Blonde (2nd), Ryan Ruhl(1st), Zane DeVault (3rd)

ERIE, MI (May 5, 2019) – The Lane Automotive Sprints On Dirt powered by King Engine Bearings / MSD Ignition / Motul traditional season opener at Crystal Motor Speedway, rained out a week ago, went off under a sunny day Saturday. Ryan Ruhl was impressive in winning his Engler Machine & Tool heat race and the twenty-five-lap feature.

In the feature, Ruhl took the lead from the pole at the start, but the caution flag came out causing a complete restart.  On the second start Ruhl and Joshua Turner (Osseo, MI) battled side by side with Turner using the top of the track to grab the early lead.  But Ruhl (Coldwater, MI) had his Smith Motorsports Krieger-powered, Maxim hooked up on the lower groove and quickly moved into the lead.  As the race went on, Ruhl got stronger and stronger, turning laps near 98 mph on the Crystal oval.

2018 SOD champion Chad Blonde (Litchfield, MI) used a slight miscue by Turner to take second.  Blonde had a couple shots at Ruhl on the high side on restarts, but Ruhl was just too strong and motored away to win by a wide margin.  Blonde held on for second while Zane DeVault (Plymouth, IN), last year’s SOD opener winner, was impressive in finishing third in former SOD competitor, now car owner Greg Wheeler’s 360 ride.  Turner took fourth and second-generation driver Ricky Ferkel (Mt. Pleasant, MI) had a strong showing to finish fifth.  Tyler Gunn (Napoleon, OH), easy winner of the King Engine Bearings heat race, recovered from a spin and charged from last to finish sixth.

Gremlins made the night difficult for some veteran drivers as former SOD champions Brett Mann (Goshen, IN) and Steve Irwin (Fenton, MI) both had engine problems.  Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame member Jason Blonde (Litchfield, MI) suffered the same fate.

Garrett Saunders (Lakeville, IN), a standout in Plymouth (IN) Speedway crate Pro Sprints, made his unlimited sprint car debut as team mate to Zane DeVault.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kent Gardner (Fenton, MI) returned to SOD competition after a twenty-six-year absence!

Crystal owner/promoter Ron Flinn, new SOD owner Dave Muzzillo, and their staffs did a great job to kick off the 2019 season in front of a great crowd.

Qualifying – Benic Enterprises Fast Masters (fast qualifiers)

Group Time # Driver
Engler Machine & Tool Heat     13.836 16C Zane DeVault
King Engine Bearings Heat     14.334 5b Chad Blonde

Heat Races

Engler Machine & Tool Heat #1
  # Driver Contingency
1 71H Ryan Ruhl  
2 4 Joshua Turner Ti22 Performance
3 16C Zane DeVault Racing Optics
4 46 Robert Huisken  
5 10S Jay Steinebach  
6 10XS Robert Bulloch  
7 16W Garrett Saunders  
8 24 Eric Smith  
9 0 Steve Irwin  
DNS 19 Brett Mann  
King Engine Bearings Heat #2
  # Driver Contingency
1 68G Tyler Gunn  
2 5b Chad Blonde Ti22 Performance
3 1a Mark Aldrich Racing Optics
4 0 Ricky Ferkel  
5 8 Justin Ward  
6 81 John Gall  
7 52 Zac Broughman  
8 6 Tyler Bearden  
9 41 Kent Gardner  
10 27K Jason Blonde  


  # Driver Contingencies
1 71H Ryan Ruhl Rod End Supply
2 5b Chad Blonde Rod End Supply
3 16C Zane DeVault Rod End Supply
4 4 Joshua Turner Schoenfeld Headers
5 0 Ricky Ferkel Saldana Racing Products
6 68G Tyler Gunn Pyrotect Racing Cells
7 10S Jay Steinebach King Racing Products
8 46 Robert Huisken Keizer Aluminum Wheels
9 81 John Gall  
10 8 Justin Ward  
11 16W Garrett Saunders  
12 52 Zac Broughman  
13 6 Tyler Bearden  
14 1a Mark Aldrich  
15 10XS Robert Bulloch  
16 0 Steve Irwin  
17 41 Kent Gardner  
18 24 Eric Smith  
19 27K Jason Blonde  

MAHLE Aftermarket Hard Charger – 4 drivers (3)
KSE Racing Products Hard Charger – 4 drivers (3)
BR Motorsports Contingency (feature top 10 draw) – TylerGunn
DMI Contingency (feature 12-16 draw) –Tyler Bearden
COMP Cams Lucky Dog – Tyler Bearden
Allstar Performance Better Luck Next Time – Brett Mann
Allstar Performance Better Luck Next Time – Jason Blonde

Check out Crystal Motor Speedway at www.crystalmotorspeedway.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CMSpeedway.

For more information, check out these websites:
Lane Automotive – www.laneautomotive.com
King Engine Bearings – www.kingbearings.com
MSD Ignition – www.msdperformance.com
Motul – www.motul.com/us/en-US
Sprints On Dirt – www.sprintsondirt.com