Ruch leads underdog charge at Daytona, posts second-best NGOTS finish for woman
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Carnage was the name of Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series opener. For the fortunate few to avoid the multiple melees at Daytona International Speedway, personal-bests and history were the reward.
Angela Ruch clinched the second-highest finish by a woman in series history with an eighth-place effort in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. Spencer Boyd and Josh Reaume also turned their stories of survival into jubilant celebrations of career-best results, with Boyd placing fourth and Reaume sixth.
Ruch’s feat came in only her second Truck Series start and her first since 2010, marking the first race of a partnership for a part-time schedule with NEMCO Motorsports. Jennifer Jo Cobb’s sixth place at Daytona in 2011 still stands as the series’ all-time record.
RELATED: Full race results
But Ruch’s performance also signified another Daytona underdog story for the family; Ruch is the twin niece of former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, who shocked the field to win “The Great American Race” in 1990.
“For me to carry in his footsteps and to walk away with a top 10, I’m ecstatic,” said Ruch, who led two laps and eked out a top-10 finish despite her No. 8 Chevrolet losing a cylinder late. “I’m so proud of myself.”
Boyd is entering his second full-time Truck Series season, and Friday night’s event marked his first appearance with Young’s Motorsports. He credited his spotter, Freddie Kraft (who spots for Bubba Wallace in the Monster Energy Series), for helping him through the chaos. Even more remarkable, he says he’d never met Kraft until this race weekend.
“This is something you dream of forever,” Boyd said on pit road. “You just always ask for that shot.”
Reaume started last and methodically avoided the pitfalls that sidelined 23 of the 32 starters. The owner-driver has competed part-time in the Truck Series the last two seasons. Friday’s outing marked his first top-10 finish in 28 starts.
“It’s huge. It’s a boost of confidence,” said Reaume, who also led the first lap of his career. “If anybody had any idea, I pulled three all-nighters to make it here. The most sleep I got the last week was at the race track because they actually kick you out of the garage area and make you go home. To be able to come away from here with a sixth-place finish, you couldn’t have told me I was going to do that a week ago. Thrilled.”
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