Ruff takes IHRA Super Rod title

It is an old proverb, but its words couldn’t ring any more true – “for every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile.”

It is safe to say no one understands that saying more than Super Rod racer Michael Ruff.

Ruff had about as rough of a first day of racing as any one man could possibly have at the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway on Oct. 12-14. After blowing a tire on his motor home on his way to Memphis driving over 900 miles from his home in Orlando, Fla., Ruff began his big weekend with a first round loss in the Sportsman Spectacular followed by an even bigger loss in the re-entry round of that same race -- all on opening day.

With an 0-2 start to the weekend and the biggest race still yet to come, Ruff wasn’t exactly high on his chances to be competitive during the Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL later in the weekend with the biggest prize – a world championship – still on the line.

“It certainly wasn’t the start we had hoped for. After 900 miles and blowing a tire on our way here we go out first round, bought back in and then get whooped bad by (Steve) Furr,” Ruff said. “That first day really took the wind out of my sails. It was really frustrating because I knew I had laid down good runs, I just got beat. I wasn’t mad at the cars performance or my performance, I just got beat.”

But that is where the storm began to subside.

On day two Ruff finally saw some light when he picked up his first round win of the weekend – using a perfect triple zero light to get around fellow Division 2 racer Jason McCandless – setting up an improbable run to the finish that concluded with Ruff holding the biggest prize in the game, an IHRA championship Ironman trophy.

“To come back the next day after a disastrous start and get a win light in the first round, that just helped build the adrenaline and get the next day off on the right foot,” Ruff said. “From there things just took off.”

And boy did it ever.

After defeating McCandless in round one Ruff found his groove and followed that up with wins over Jeff Estep and Shannon Brinkley before meeting Hamlin, Texas’ Joe Collier in the final.