INDIAN TRAIL, NC ( November 9, 2017) – Following a breakout season in 2016 with his INEX Bandolero race car, 12-year-old Bryson Ruff made the jump to the bigger and faster Legend Car for the 2017 season with the help of Tony Ferguson and his son Carson Ferguson as driver coach.
Success began early for the driver of the Bojangles’ sponsored number 24 Legend car with his first feature win on March 25th at Concord Speedway (NC). Ruff carried that momentum throughout the spring season at his home track by collecting another win and nine podiums to take the Young Lions point lead into the summer break.
Ruff’s next challenge was the grueling two-month battle known as the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout held annually at Charlotte Motor Speedway (NC). With over 25 cars weekly in competition that had drivers from all across the county, Ruff was a top five car week in and week out. Following a mix of bad luck race results in the first few races, Ruff nearly won the round ten finale before he crossed the finish line in second place. In one of the most competitive fields for the Young Lions division in recent years at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Ruff finished 12th in the overall championship points, narrowly missing the top ten.
Bryson not only spends his time at the race track, but he attends many fan festivals to share his story and engage with more youngsters about his career. Bryson brought his race car to several sponsor related events like the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, the 600 Festival in Kannapolis, North Carolina and the Barringer Construction Annual Blues & Brews event held at the headquarters of his sponsor Barringer Construction.
“I really enjoy bringing my car out to the fan events to sign autographs, meet other kids who have the desire to race and represent my sponsors well,” said Ruff about his off-track work. “There are many times that adults are shocked to see that I am the driver of my Bojangles’ / Barringer Construction Legend car because of my age.”
The season was not without its challenges for Ruff and the Bojangles racing team. During qualifying for a weekly race at Concord Speedway in September, Ruff’s car suffered a catastrophic accident with a mechanical issue. Ruff was uninjured in the accident, but the car was a total loss. At the time, Ruff was in the lead of the Young Lions points for the track with just six weekends left in the season. He was able to start a fellow competitor Daniel Wilk’s car in that night’s feature for points, but the team had to look elsewhere to finish the season out.
That is where Mark Nahrstedt, who joined the team over the summer to help tune the race car, stepped in and offered to help out Bryson and his team finish out the season with one of his own race cars. With the help of Nahrstedt and Cameron Lowman, Ruff was able to rack up three more top five finishes on his way to the Concord Speedway Young Lions track championship.
“I cannot thank Mark [Nahrstedt], Carson and Mr. Ferguson and Cameron for all their dedication this year helping me to progress in the Legend car. It was a big change from the Bandolero with the bigger tires, more horsepower and even having to shift gears, unlike the Bandolero,” Ruff on his rookie year. “I was able to get a lot of practice during the winter with the races on the road course and that helped to speed up the learning process before the point season began in March.”
The 2017 rookie season for Bryson Ruff was both a success on and off the race track, and his awards for the accomplishments show his dedication to the sport and his peers. Along with the Young Lions track championship at Concord Speedway, Ruff also took home the Steve Carver Memorial Sportsmanship Award that is given out annually by the officials at that same track. The award signifies a driver’s on track and off track attitude around other racers, officials and representing the track well.
Along with finishing the 2017 INEX point season with a track championship, he also was 3rd place in the North Carolina State INEX Young Lions points and 5th place in the North Carolina INEX road course points with three overall wins and 13 top five finishes in his rookie Legend car season.
The ability for Bryson to go to the race track week in and week out would not be possible without the support of the local sponsors that are behind his dream. Bojangles’ Restaurants have been on Ruff’s car for several years now and the familiar red and yellow can be found on any of his race cars. Bojland Restaurant Group, LLC based in Evans, Georgia, Barringer Construction, located locally here in Charlotte, along with Victory Lane Indoor Karting in Charlotte, Star Graphix out of Lancaster, South Carolina, and Your Pie Pizza in North Augusta, SC help to support Bryson’s racing career and put the #24 on the race track and in the winner’s circle.
When he is not behind the wheel of his Legend car, Bryson can be found at Victory Lane Karting with his friends racing around the indoor go-karting track to help keep his mental focus sharp and in race shape.
Ruff, along with focusing on his 7th grade studies at Sun Valley Middle School, is using his brief offseason from racing to perfect his race craft with iRacing, test sessions at the track and time in the gym to get in even better shape for the stiffer competition that he will find in 2018. The next race for Bryson will be the Winter Heat Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which begins on December 2nd, 2017.
– LegendsNation Press Release