Endurance will be key for theNo. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley
Watkins Glen, NY (June 6, 2007) – The Daytona Prototype cars will do battle on the historic long course at Watkins Glen International Raceway for Round Six of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. Driving in the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley, for Southard Motorsports, will be Daytona Prototype drivers Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman.
The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen will be the first race, since Homestead, that the Daytona Prototypes and GT cars will run together in the feature race. This will make for heated racing within the classes, but with a long, multiple pit stop race, traffic from the slower GT cars will make things interesting on the historic 11-turn, 3.4-mile long course at Watkins Glen.
In addition, the elimination of traction control for 2007, along with a new tire, has made each race a challenge for the entire field, but for Southard Motorsports there have been many other changes. Along with debuting a new chassis, with a new Lexus engine and body package, at the 24 Hours At Daytona, the team has undergone many changes from last year's outing at Watkins Glen. These changes have brought with them the task of overcoming growing pains. Though they finished an encouraging twelfth at the last race, at Laguna Seca, the team has had to deal with persistent brake related issues. The team has taken steps to remedy the situation and looks forward to a smooth six hours of racing.
Saturday's six-hour feature race follows a weekend full of racing activity. A promoter's test day, on Thursday, is followed by two practice sessions prior to qualifying on Friday. The Saturday, June 9th race begins at 11 a.m. EDT and is scheduled for 6-hours at the 11-turn, 3.4-mile long course at Watkins Glen International Raceway in Watkins Glen, New York. Full coverage of the race begins Live at 11 a.m. EDT and 2:30 p.m. on the SPEED Channel.
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.
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.
Randy 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, 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.
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.
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.