Southard Motorsports completes successful weekend at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, OH(June 27, 2007) – Southard Motorsports made a huge impression at Saturday's Emco Gears Classic presented by Key Bank Daytona Prototype race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as it introduced the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to the racing scene. Drivers Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman piloted the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley through power steering problems to finish fifteenth in the 400K race. But the spotlight was on the Southard Motorsports team, as they embodied the saying "Success isn't always measured on the track."
Southard Motorsports recently formed an alliance with The Dave Thomas Foundation for adoption. The team entertained over 100 guests of the charity at the track, while another 150 guests of sponsor, Cleveland-based Preformed Line Products, enjoyed the race from their corporate hospitality suite. Introducing the organization to the racing community with a weekend full of unique opportunities, adopted families and guests had the opportunity to meet the drivers and team and take part in a never to be forgotten experience. Several adoptive families, as well as Foundation executives wore special blue Dave Thomas shirts, as they paraded out onto the track carrying the starting grid banners. Robin Campbell, system communications manager for the Foundation, got the race started with “Drivers, start your engines” and Rita Soronen, the Foundation's executive director, was in the starter's stand and waved the green flag.
On the driving front, Lewis and Ruhlman hoped to capitalize on their experience at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley for Round Seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, but their driving experience proved needed in a different way. Lewis, and then Ruhlman, were called to use their physical strength to hustle the car around the 2.258-mile, 15-turn road course track, when the power steering failed early in the first stint of the two and one-half hour 250-mile EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank.
The team hopes to continue building on the many successes of the weekend at Mid-Ohio as it heads next to Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida for the Brumos Porsche 250. Round Eight of the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype series will be held on Thursday, July 5th, as part of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Pepsi 400 weekend. Television coverage of the Grand-Am race will be on the SPEED Channel and can be seen on Live from Daytona on Thursday, July 5th at 8 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 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, a veteran of the popular Trans-Am Series, has also had a great deal success at the Mid-Ohio track, where he has driven each year in a variety of cars, as well as last year's Daytona Prototype event. Randy Ruhlman, a Cleveland, Ohio native, 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, an instructor at The Mid-Ohio School, has won multiple events at the track, from the IMSA Supercar Championship to the SCCA Pro Series World Challenge. 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. 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.