Laguna Seca: Southard Motorsports race report

Experienced drivers help Southard Motorsports Daytona Prototype take twelfth at Laguna Seca Salinas, CA (May 23, 2007) -- Experience paid off this weekend for Southard Motorsports' Daytona Prototype drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis at...

Experienced drivers help Southard Motorsports Daytona Prototype take twelfth at Laguna Seca

Salinas, CA (May 23, 2007) -- Experience paid off this weekend for Southard Motorsports' Daytona Prototype drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Round Five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal. While able to take advantage of lucky timing to finish in twelfth place overall, the race was made more than challenging for the drivers of the Southard Motorsports No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley as they suffered brake problems throughout the race.

The weekend found the Southard Motorsports team working hard to find a set up for the car at the hilly, 2.238-mile, 11-turn track outside of beautiful Monterey, California. By race day, the team was able to find a drivable set-up, but Ruhlman and Lewis, who both have career wins at Laguna Seca Raceway, were forced to use their race car and track experience as they struggled with failing brakes and an intermittent pedal throughout Sunday's two and one-half hour race.

Just six laps into the 91-lap race with the car heading into one of the fastest parts of the track at Turn Two, Randy Ruhlman was suddenly faced with complete brake failure when the pedal went to the floor. With the car not stopping, Ruhlman's experience got the car safely to the gravel and kept the car out of trouble on track.

Getting back on track and now two laps down to the field, the car pitted, making its compulsory first pit stop. Ruhlman went back on track to circulate with the brakes continuing to be tricky and unpredictable. Several yellow flag periods enabled the No. 3 Daytona Prototype to pick up its lost laps and get back on the lap with the leaders.

Following the mid-race pit stop for fuel and tires, the team changed drivers and Shane Lewis took over the driver's seat. Using his familiarity with the Daytona Prototype cars and experience at the Laguna Seca track, Lewis tried to keep the No. 3 car in the competition in the face of the unpredictable braking and pedal level. Lewis was able to maintain the car on the lead lap and take advantage of caution laps to bring the car home in twelfth place in the nineteen-car Daytona Prototype field.

This weekend's two and one-half hour Grand-Am Daytona Prototype race began at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 20th and full coverage of the race was featured live on the SPEED Channel.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Randy Ruhlman