Southard Motorsports Keeps Battling, as Heat Challenges Teams at Barber Motorsports Park BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 24, 2007) --Southard Motorsports came to Barber Motorsports Park in search of a second consecutive top ten Grand-Am Daytona...
Southard Motorsports Keeps Battling, as Heat Challenges Teams at Barber Motorsports Park
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 24, 2007) --Southard Motorsports came to Barber Motorsports Park in search of a second consecutive top ten Grand-Am Daytona Prototype finish. Starting ninth, in the team's best qualifying position of the year, the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus-Riley fought a determined battle for a top finish. Running as high as sixth in the race, the team and drivers struggled determinedly with track conditions and heat throughout the two and one-half hours of racing in the Grand-Am Road Racing Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
Sunday, July 22nd, began on a high note when the team picked up the SunTrust Hard Charger Award for the eighth place finish at Iowa Speedway and continued as team driver Shane Lewis moved the car from a ninth place start up to an early sixth overall. Lewis avoided several early race crashes and kept a consistent pace behind the leaders through the first, early mandatory pit stop and then, skillfully piloted the car until about half way when Guy Cosmo took over to finish the race. Cosmo settled into a good rhythm, turning fast laps throughout the final stint of the Porsche 250 Presented By Bradley Arant.
The final pit stops and restarts reshuffled the cars and the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley dropped back to thirteenth, as the race began to wind down. The team worked hard through extremely difficult and hot conditions, but could not recapture the earlier momentum or reclaim their earlier positions. The team never gave up the chase and kept challenging for its second straight top-ten finish, but came up just short by the end of the 250-mile race at Barber Motorsports Park.
"We had a good, consistent car," says Shane Lewis. "This was a race track where we hadn't tested. We had a decent race car, it just wasn't quite fast enough to keep pace with the leaders. The crew did an awesome job with the pit stops for us. They also did a fantastic job of fighting the heat and a great job considering all the circumstances. Guy did a great job subbing for us today, a big thanks to him. And we've got an unscathed car, ready to head to Montreal, where I think we'll do great."
"This was great opportunity for me this weekend to drive with Southard Motorsports. I'm glad we finally had the chance to make it happen. Shane and I worked with the team on set-up, and although we made great improvements to the car during practice, we just ran out of time to continue that progress before the race. Shane did an outstanding job in qualifying and during his stint in the race, and I think the both of us gave her all she had. It may not have been enough against the competition today, but this team has a lot of potential and I really enjoyed working with this great group. I thank them for the opportunity."
Shane Lewis was joined by Daytona Prototype driver Guy Cosmo for Round Ten of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal at Barber Motorsports Park. Cosmo substituted for the team's regular driver Randy Ruhlman, who had last-minute scheduling conflicts.
Ruhlman will return to the No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley in two weeks, when the Grand-Am Series heads north for Rounds Eleven and Twelve of competition at Montreal and Watkins Glen. The Montreal race is scheduled for Friday, Aug 3 at 4:15 p.m. for a weekend event that will be held in conjunction with the NASCAR Busch Series. Neither Series has ever run on the Montreal Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve before. The following weekend at Watkins Glen will be Round 12 for the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype cars. The Watkins Glen event will also feature the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series races. The Grand Am Daytona Prototypes will run on Friday, Aug 10th at 6:30 p.m. for a 2-hour race.