Randy Ruhlman will be returning to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, this year with Southard Motorsports, combining the team's experience with some new additions for the 2007 season. Southard Motorsports is one of the only teams to have competed in every Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event since 2004, and announced the signing of top drivers Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman to pilot its newly designed Southard Motorsports No. 3 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype.
Randy Ruhlman, returns to the Daytona Prototypes following a successful career in the Trans-Am Series, bringing along long-time Daytona Prototype and Trans-Am sponsor Preformed Line Products of Mayfield Village, Ohio. Shane Lewis, already a four-year veteran of the team, was a part of Southard Motorsports' two podium finishes last year.
"We're very excited about our team's growth and prospects for the 2007 season," says team owner Steve Southard. "Last year, we had good success on track and we're building on that to accomplish even more. We're excited to have such a great driver lineup for this year, with Shane and Randy as our full time drivers for 2007. We're expanding all aspects of the team, to give our sponsors the best package possible. From the car and its performance, to our new driver line up, and a new updated marketing image, we'll continue to develop our program to stay one of the top teams in Grand American racing. We are very enthusiastic about the upcoming season!"
“I'm pleased Southard Motorsports has given me the opportunity to run with them in 2007," says Ruhlman. "This will be a great experience for me to work with a new team, after having been at Derhaag Motorsports for so many years. Southard Motorsports did a great job last year. They've made the commitment to becoming a top team in the series and give their drivers every chance of winning. I'm also really excited to be teamed up with a driver of Shane's caliber. We both excel at keeping the car going for the long-term, and that's what it takes to succeed at these endurance races. Shane's proven that he knows the way to the front, and together, I think we'll be able to give the team what they are looking for in 2007.”
"I'm really looking forward to being back with the Southard team for a fourth season. They're like family to me," says veteran driver Shane Lewis. "We had some really strong runs last year, and now with Randy on the team for this year-it's going to be great. He and I have spent some time together and have already clicked. He comes with a lot of experience and success from his Trans-Am days, which will be a huge help. And he ran Daytona Prototypes last year, so all of that means--we should be pretty quick right out of the box. We have a lot of great things planned for this year, and one of them is standing on top of the podium."
The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve is the nation's hottest sports car series around, with a who's who of driving talent from former Formula 1 drivers to the top sedan and NASCAR talent. And last year, Southard Motorsports scored two podium finishes in the impressive field of Daytona Prototypes, a third at the infamous Long Beach Grand Prix and another third at Phoenix International Raceway.
Ruhlman has been a professional driver since 1990 and has extensive racing experience, predominantly in road racing in the Trans-Am Series, as well as in IMSA, ASA and the NASCAR short track series. Last year, Ruhlman drove the No. 40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype for Derhaag Motorsports. Ruhlman was the top American driver in the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship, holding the points lead throughout the season and scoring a pair of wins--the season opener at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Cleveland Grand Prix. Ruhlman was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year" and makes the record books as fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history.
Shane Lewis is widely considered one of the sports leading development drivers and has competed in twenty-two 24 Hour Races--eight-times in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, three-times at Le Mans and twice at Nürburgring. Always a fan favorite, Lewis earned two Daytona Prototype podium finishes with Southard Motorsports in 2006, at the Long Beach Grand Prix and Phoenix. He has multiple wins in the Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series and was the 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing Rising Star award winner. Along with co-driving the Southard Motorsports Daytona Prototype, Lewis will compete for the Honda America Racing Team in the 2007 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series.
Based in Powell, Ohio, Southard Motorsports reflects the goals and dedication of its owners, Steve and Martha Southard, both former drivers themselves in Historic and Professional racing. One of the only teams to have competed in every Grand American Rolex Sports Car event since 2004, they have shown the continuity and commitment that are hallmark to all winning programs. This experience was highlighted in last year's successful Daytona Prototype season, when the team captured two podium finishes, a third at the prestigious Long Beach Grand Prix and another third at Phoenix.
Preformed Line Products (PLP) is an international manufacturer and supplier of hardware and support systems for the communications and energy industries. Products include COYOTE® Fiber Optics and VORTEX® Vibration Dampers used in the telecommunications, cable and energy industries. Manufacturing facilities are located worldwide in the USA, Canada, China, Brazil, Mexico, England, Spain, South Africa, Australia and Thailand.