Utah: Southard Motorsports preview

Eric Lux Joins Shane Lewis in No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley in Grand-Am Finale Southard Motorsports and Lexus Get Engine Boost for Salt Lake City Enduro TOOELE, Utah September 11, 2007 - Eric Lux (Buffalo, NY) will join...

Eric Lux Joins Shane Lewis in No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley in Grand-Am Finale

Southard Motorsports and Lexus Get Engine Boost for Salt Lake City Enduro

TOOELE, Utah September 11, 2007 - Eric Lux (Buffalo, NY) will join lead driver Shane Lewis (Jupiter, Fla.) in the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley of Southard Motorsports this Saturday at the season finale of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. Steve and Martha Southard, owners of one of the longest running programs in Daytona Prototype history, announced Lux's addition to the team for the September 13th Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park as a result of the young drivers impressive race record and longtime relationship with the couple. Despite two seasons competing in the Rolex Series GT class, this will be Lux's debut in a Daytona Prototype, the premier division of the Rolex Series.

In addition to naming the driving duo of Lewis and Lux, Southard Motorsports also announced that their Lexus-powered Riley will enjoy a boost in horsepower. Grand American Road Racing Association officials ruled that a new cylinder head design will be allowed for all the Lexus-powered entries beginning this weekend. The new components will allow the V8 engine greater intake and exhaust airflow thereby generating more horsepower. Like all of the teams running the Lexus motor, Southard Motorsports will benefit from this increase in power down the multiple, long straightaways of the 4.5-mile Tooele, Utah-area track.

Despite being a contender for race victories at every Rolex Series GT event he has entered this year, the 14th race of the 2007 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype season will be Lux's first foray into the elite prototype class. In his young career, Lux has an impressive pedigree despite not yet seeing his 20th birthday. He scored one victory and 13 top-ten finishes in the 2005 KONI Challenge Series finishing fourth in the season- long point standings. In 2006, he made 13 Rolex Series GT class starts with a season-best third place finish. For 2007, he accumulated six top-ten finishes including a podium driving a Porsche 911 in the GT class before his team left the Series. He is the youngest driver to ever take the checkered flag in the Rolex 24 At Daytona (2005 at age 16).

Southard Motorsports' participation in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series dates back to 2003. Lewis joined the Powell, Ohio-based program as lead driver in 2004 and has driven for the team in every event since that time. One of the most sought-after test and development drivers in motorsports, Lewis has helped the team earn multiple top-10 and two podium finishes. He has competed in twenty-four 24 Hour races; among them were nine starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three-times at Le Mans and twice at Nurburgring. Always a fan favorite, Lewis earned two Daytona Prototype podium finishes with Southard Motorsports in 2006, at the Long Beach Grand Prix and in 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.

Most recently, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on August 26th, Lewis charged the No. 3 PLP machine as high as fifth. However, a late race shunt would drop the car to twelfth in the final standings. Southard Motorsports is currently ranked 15th in Team Championship points.

Practice for the Sunchaser 1000 begins on Thursday, September 13 at 10:30 AM (local time). The 15-minute qualifying session is scheduled for Friday at 2:15 PM with the race taking the green flag at 11 AM on Saturday, September 15.

Quotes

Steve Southard, Team Owner: "We are looking forward to have Eric drive for us. Martha and I have known Eric and his parents for probably 15 years. We watched him in his first competitive driving event and have followed his career for the last several years. He has the distinction of being the youngest driver to ever take a checker flag at the 24 Hour race at Daytona. He did that when he was sixteen years old."

Shane Lewis, Driver: "Eric and I have talked quite a bit over the last couple of weeks and I am impressed with his knowledge of data and how to apply it to his racing. The Riley is different than a Porsche and it will take him some time to learn the car, but I'm sure he will adapt very quickly. I look forward to racing with him."

-credit: www.SouthardMotorsports.com

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