Southard Motorsports ready for Grand Prix of Miami Daytona Prototype race with drivers Ruhlman and Lewis at the wheel
Homestead, FL (March 20, 2007) – The Southard Motorsports team is back on the road and headed to Homestead, Florida with the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley for this weekend's Round Three of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The team showed their strength at the Mexico City race where they qualified tenth and battled as one of the front running cars in the Daytona Prototype field. With Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman once again at the helm, the No. 3 Lexus-Riley will be ready for Saturday's race action at the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Team owner Steve Southard says, "We made some significant changes this year and we've had a great start to the year. At Daytona, we debuted both our new Lexus power plant and a brand new Riley chassis. The team showed how well it could come together and prepare a new car for the Rolex 24 At Daytona; and then at Mexico City, we definitely proved that we could run competitively. Each time we get on track we've been steadily progressing and it shows. Both Shane and Randy have had great races in the past here at Homestead, so we're confident that we'll be able to go out there and put on another outstanding show for the fans and sponsors."
Practice begins on Thursday, March 22nd and qualifying is scheduled for Friday at 2:20 p.m. for the field of 46 Grand-Am cars. The 400K/109-lap race will start Saturday, March 24th at 2 p.m. at the Grand Prix of Miami, sponsored by Linder Industrial Machinery Company and Komatsu, on the 2.3-mile Miami-Homestead Speedway and will be broadcast Live on the SPEED Channel.
The No. 3 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype is campaigned by Southard Motorsports of Powell, Ohio. The Riley chassis is powered by Lexus engines with technical expertise by TRD Engineering and carries sponsorship from Preformed Line Products from Mayfield Village, Ohio. Shane Lewis is a four-year veteran of the Southard Motorsports and part of the team's two Grand-Am podium finishes last year. Randy Ruhlman joined the team this year after running last year in Daytona Prototypes and following a successful career in the Trans-Am Series.
Randy 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.
Lewis is widely considered one of the sports leading development drivers and has competed in twenty-four 24 Hour Races--nine-times in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, three-times at Le Mans and twice at Nürburgring. Always a fan favorite, Shane 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.
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 only two teams to have competed in every Grand American Rolex Daytona Prototype Sports Car event since 2004, they have shown the continuity and commitment that are hallmark to all winning programs and the team was pivotal in winning the inaugural Jim Truman Driver's Award. Southard Motorsports' experience and knowledge was highlighted by last year's successful Daytona Prototype season, as they 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.