Lewis and Ruhlman Show Well at Infineon Raceway in Daytona Prototype
Sonoma, Calif (Aug 27, 2007) – The No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley of Southard Motorsports showed well this past weekend at Infineon Raceway with Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman at the wheel. The exciting, Saturday, Aug 25th Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 race featured the Daytona Prototypes is the next to last round of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
Making significant progress towards a good car setup by morning practice on Friday, both drivers were pleased with the results and felt they had a strong car for qualifying and the race. The team decided to have Lewis make the qualifying run and he was able to put it into seventh for the 99-Lap race on the 2.52-mile, natural terrain road course.
Pulling off the starting grid, Lewis ran as high as sixth during the early part of the race, though gradually losing track position to the leaders. The team took their second fast pit stop late in the race for gas, tires and driver change, but ended up dropping a lap when the leaders came around as the car came out of the pits. Ruhlman was able to keep the car in the top ten, but with just 13-laps to go in the race, the No.3 car got hit by another competitor as it turned in at Turn Seven. A quick pit stop under green for damage on the right rear (a broken wheel and valve stem and damage to the spoiler) dropped them another lap to the leaders. Ruhlman was able to finish the race and take the No. 3 car to a twelfth place finish as the race ended just one lap short of its scheduled 99-laps at the two and a half hour time limit.
“It was a long day,” said Ruhlman. "And it was really a shame. After that hit and having to stop under green, we went a couple laps down. There wasn't much we could do, but ride it out and bring it home. It's too bad, because the guys worked hard all weekend long and the car was really good for the start of the race. Shane did two stints just flawlessly and kept the car up in the top. It's just real disappointing to have it end up like this.”
“This was a good race,” summed up Lewis. ““I was really pleased with our starting position. I love this place, it's definitely one of the most demanding tracks on the circuit and passing is very difficult. Starting seventh was definitely a Plus. What happened to Randy wasn’t his fault. It may be what they call 'part of racing' and there isn’t anything you can do, but you don't have to like it. Our entire team did a great job. Today, I think we definitely ran out here much better than the results show.”
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.