Angela Ruch is ready to prove all the doubters wrong. The NASCAR driver entered the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2019 after competing in the Xfinity Series part-time. She made history in February 2019, becoming the first female in NASCAR Truck Series history to lead laps at Daytona International Speedway. This year, Ruch is competing in the NASCAR Truck Series on a full-time basis which is new territory for her, but she's ready for the challenge.
"It's my first year running a full season which is amazing," she told Popculture.com exclusively. It's all about getting behind the wheel as much as you possibly can. For me being in my first year running every single weekend is a dream come true for me and I'm very thankful."
With Ruch being a female in a male-dominated sport, she knows that she has put in a lot of work to earn the respect of the other drivers and she's confident the 2020 season will be a memorable one.
"I worked my butt off to be where I am to have what I have," she added. It's only going to get better from here."
Along with racing full-time, she is a mother of two infant children which she and her husband Mike both adopted. And because of that, having a balanced schedule can be challenging.
"It's definitely been tough," she said. "It's definitely hard to make your own time when you have two little ones. I get up early and I train for a few hours. My timing has definitely changed with kids. But I do have a great support system behind me that helps me allows me to do these great things. Without my family, I couldn't do it without them."
Ruch's family is all about racing. She's a third-generation driver as her grandfather and father competed. Also, her uncle Derrike Cope, was a NASCAR star, winning the Daytona 500 in 1990. Ruch and her twin sister, Amber Cope, starting racing at the age of 9 and they both got some good advice from their family when it comes to racing.
"You can never give up in such a tough sport," Ruch said. "Getting in this industry is never easy. It definitely takes a village to get there. You can't get there on your own. It takes people that believe in you, sponsors that believe in you to help you get to where you are."
Ruch and Cope gained a lot of attention when they first entered the NASCAR scene in 2011, and looked like they were going to take the racing world by storm. But Cope hasn't competed since 2012 after an incident with Kevin Harvick. During a Nationwide Series race in New Hampshire, Harvick was on his way to a win but he got caught up in traffic with Cope, which led to Brad Keselowski taking the lead. Harvick lashed out at Cope after the race, who continued to attack her the following day.
"It's very emotional for Amber and I to hear a driver could saw those type of negative comments towards a woman," Ruch said. "Being a woman in the sport is tough enough and then you quit on top of that and the stripper comments and get your boots and get on a pole and go to your night job."
Ruch continued: "Someone such a big name in the sport would be allowed to say something like that on TV with no repercussions. It's horrible. Because he doesn't know how demeaning to a woman. It’s not right. It's definitely been tough for Amber and I. I can hardly get her out to a race. I think she only came out to one which was last year. I'm hoping she’ll come around a little more this year."0comments
Right now, NASCAR has postponed their races due to the coronavirus pandemic. But when the drivers get back on the track, Ruch's focus will be being one of the top drivers in the Truck Series. No matter what happens this year, Ruch is living her best life.
"I've grown up watching it my whole life," she stated. "I've dreamed of being in the Daytona 500, racing against my uncle at one point in my life. " I'm absolutely living that dream today."