Southard Motorsports Returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Ruhlman and Lewis at the helm of No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley

Southard Motorsports Returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Ruhlman and Lewis at the helm of No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley

Lexington, OH (June 20, 2007) – Southard Motorsports returns this weekend to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Round Seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in the Daytona Prototypes.  Both Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis have a wealth of driving experience at the track and hope to capitalize on it, while sharing the seat of the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley for the 250-mile EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank.

Southard Motorsports is also well acquainted with the track at Mid-Ohio; the local Powell, Ohio-based team has competed regularly at the course during its tenure in Grand-Am with driver Shane Lewis, as well as extensively during its early years.  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.  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.

"I've always had a special feeling for racing at Mid-Ohio, says driver Randy Ruhlman.  "Having our Cleveland-based sponsor, Preformed Line Products, host so many guests here at Mid-Ohio each year, as well as growing up in the area myself, has made this track a place I really look forward to coming back to.  We did well here last year, but this is always a very competitive field in the DP cars with strong cars and outstanding driver lineups.  We've been trying hard to get this car to handle well, and here you also need a strong brake package to be able to go in deep into the corners. It should be a good show for the fans and sponsors this year."

Shane Lewis says of returning to Mid-Ohio with the Southard Motorsports No. 3 Daytona Prototype, "I've always enjoyed driving at this track.  It's fast and precise and demands a lot of the driver, and being an instructor here doesn't hurt.  I've won here before, so I am certainly hoping for a good result this weekend.  This race is especially important for our team, which not only is from central Ohio, but also is hosting its new alliance guests from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.  To have locally based, and nationally recognized sponsors and guests, is a huge bonus for our team and we're looking forward to putting on a good show for them."

The team hopes to capitalize on the improvements they have made to provide an even stronger car for Round Seven at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, June 23rd.  The cars take to the pavement on Thursday for a track sponsored test day on the 2.258-mile, 15-turn road course.  Practice and qualifying begin on Friday with race day activities and practice scheduled for Saturday.  The Grand-Am Daytona Prototype cars will take the green flag on Saturday, June 23rd at 5:45 p.m. for the two and one-half hour race, with Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis driving the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley for Southard Motorsports with guests from both Preformed Line Products and the Dave Thomas Foundation in attendance.

Television coverage of Round Seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be same-day tape delayed.  It can be seen on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, June 23rd at 8 p.m. ET.

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 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 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.