Daytona Prototype drivers Ruhlman and Lewis look forward to returning to California at Infineon Raceway
Sonoma, Calif (Aug 23, 2007) -- Heading for California’s fabled wine country and Infineon Raceway, Grand-Am drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis are looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Southard Motorsports No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley. This well-know duo have both called California home and are eager to show their skills on August 25 by taking to the track for the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250, the next to the last round in this season’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
Infineon Raceway will bring back fond memories for both drivers. For Ruhlman, Infineon will always hold a special place, as the track where this popular racer began his career. “I’m really excited about coming back here to race in the Daytona Prototypes,” he smiles. “I’ve always counted this track as my home track. This is where I went to driving school and ran my first race, and where I won my first race. It's a great track for both fans and drivers and I’m excited about getting back on this course.”
“I've driven here in everything from Showroom Stock cars to the high horse-powered Trans-Am cars, and now back here again in the Daytona Prototype," continues Ruhlman. "But before I ever thought of driving, I was a fan here. I was in college at Stanford, studying industrial engineering, when some friends asked me to come up to Sears Point (as the track was called then) and help them crew for a race. It didn’t take much to get me hooked. By the end of the weekend, I knew I had to try my hand at racing.” Ruhlman took that training and experience at Infineon, began setting records and winning Championships, and parlayed it into a career that has spanned two decades behind the wheel.
Equally as pleased to be racing on the West Coast again is co-driver, Shane Lewis. A native Southern Californian, Lewis is also well versed on all the ins-and-outs of Infineon. “I love coming back for this event,” says Lewis, with obvious enthusiasm. “Infineon is such a great track. I've been on the pole here, won races here and even crashed hard here. In fact, just about everything you can do in racing, I've done at this track. This facility has really evolved over the years. With so many new spectator-viewing areas, it will make an amazing event for the fans. Even better for me, much of my family from the West Coast will be coming to see the race and that makes it even more special. I’ve been looking forward to this race for quite some time.”
The Grand-Am drivers take to the track on Thursday, August 23 and practice from 2:00-3:00 p.m. and from 3:30-4:45 p.m. Qualifying will start on Friday, August 24 at 4:20 p.m. and race action for the 400K/99-Lap, two and a half hour race will get underway on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. PDT. Complete, same day delayed race action can be seen on the SPEED Channel on beginning at 8:00 p.m.
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 widely considered to be 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. An instructor at The Mid-Ohio School and always a fan favorite, Shane Lewis, resident of Florida, 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, as well as the IMSA Supercar Championship and the SCCA Pro Series World Challenge. Lewis was the 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing Rising Star award winner.
Randy Ruhlman, a veteran of the popular Trans-Am Series, has extensive racing experience. Ruhlman makes the record books as fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history and 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. He was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year". Concentrating most recently on road racing, Ruhlman spent many years driving the ovals and road courses of the ASA and the NASCAR short track series. In 2006, Ruhlman, a native of Greensboro, NC, drove the No. 40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype for Derhaag Motorsports.
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. The team recently announced an alliance with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to increase visibility and awareness for the Foundation and its programs.
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.