Southard Motorsports heads South to Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 3, 2007) -- Heading for Daytona International Speedway for the Brumos Porsche 250 is the Southard Motorsports No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley with co-drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis. Geared up for Round 8 of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, Thursday, July 5, these standout competitors are ready to challenge the field.
This will be a busy day of racing for Grand-Am at the famed track, as part of the NASCAR Pepsi 400 weekend at Daytona. Fortunately, both Lewis and Ruhlman are well versed in the ins-and-outs of the historic Daytona 3.56-mile road course. The pair drove here earlier this year in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Graham Rahal and Elliott Forbes-Robinson, and now they are back in sprint race form. Having both been on Daytona's podium during their careers, they also know precisely what it takes to do well here.
“Daytona is a great track and a fan friendly facility,” says Lewis. “When we kick off our season here with the 24 Hour race, the teams and drivers are in endurance mode. This time, we get to come here for a flat-out sprint race…. same track, same car, but a completely different mindset. The other great thing is that we are sharing the weekend with both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch drivers and teams. The fans will have an amazing show watching the best of Grand-Am and the best of NASCAR.”
“When we were here for the race in January, it was with a brand new car,” says Ruhlman. "We've been working on developing the car and we're looking forward to this race being another turning point. This race is tough. It's a one-day affair, an all-out sprint race. You practice, you qualify, and then you race, all within a 15-hours. It tests the expertise of your crew. Teamwork definitely comes into play and the Southard Motorsports crew is up for the job here at Daytona."
The series kicks into high gear with the running at Daytona and the competition will get fierce, as the teams run six races over the next eight weeks. The on-track battles in this year’s series are incredibly tough and any number of drivers can take the Checkered. The points are tight, and the action will be fast and furious for the remainder of the season.
Qualifying for the 70-lap, Brumos Porsche 250 gets underway, July 5, at 1:45 p.m. (ET). The race starts later that evening with the cars taking the Green Flag at 8:00 p.m. for 2 3/4 hours of racing action. The race will be broadcast live beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on SPEED TV.
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. Randy Ruhlman joined the team this year after running last year in Daytona Prototypes and following a successful career in the Trans-Am Series. 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, 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. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, 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, he 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. He 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.