Late Fuel Stop Costs Southard Motorsports Daytona Top-10 Shane Lewis and Craig Stanton Start 18th, Finish 11th in Daytona 250 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 29, 2006 -- Southard Motorsports again flexed some muscle on the Grand American Rolex...
Late Fuel Stop Costs Southard Motorsports Daytona Top-10
Shane Lewis and Craig Stanton Start 18th, Finish 11th in Daytona 250
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 29, 2006 -- Southard Motorsports again flexed some muscle on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve schedule tonight at Daytona International Raceway (DIS). Making the second appearance of the season on the 3.56-mile road course, the No. 3 Truechoice/PAP-Parts.com BMW-Riley ran consistently within the top-ten in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona before a stop for fuel dropped drivers Shane Lewis (Jupiter, Fla.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) to 11th at the checkered flag. The stop came with ten laps to go as Lewis ran ninth and was closing on eighth-place in the Daytona Prototype class. Despite an all-out attack to regain at least one position in the closing stages, Lewis was not able to break back into the top-ten finishing one lap down to the winner. The result adds to a list of strong finishes for the team which includes two podium finishes in 2006.
"That was a good run for the Southard car," said Lewis at the conclusion of the race in his home state of Florida. "We ran in the top-ten all night but that stop for fuel absolutely killed us. There wasn't anything we could do about it. We just weren't getting the mileage those guys up front were getting. The Southard BMW ran great all night long. We started 18th and it is really hard to work your way up through the field but Craig did a great job. He was really turning some hot laps at the end of his stint. At the end of the race, I was hustling it as hard as I could to catch Oz [Oswaldo Negri who finished tenth] but we just ran out of time."
Because of a communications issue, Grand American and track official canceled qualifying. Therefore, after practicing seventh in the final session of the one-day event, Stanton started the race 18th after the grid was set by team points. The Daytona Prototype rookie, but 2004 Grand-Am Cup and 2005 Rolex GT Series Champion, fought his way through the 47-car field-- 27 of which were the premier Daytona Prototypes-- turning very quick times. He handed the car over the Lewis near the race's mid-point. Lewis would then position the car in the top-ten before the second pit stop for fuel late in the going.
"We're starting to find some momentum, our groove, as a team," offered Stanton. "We had a good run at Phoenix but haven't been where we wanted the last few races. This was a good track for the BMW and Riley combination that the Southard team has put together. We still are just that little bit off of the guys at the front but we're getting really close; really, really close. These Southard guys are just busting their tails and I think we'll get there. Shane really put in a good run there at the end. He was pushing really hard and that was cool to watch. There was just nothing we could do. When you have to stop for fuel, you have to stop."
"It was a great crowd tonight," said Lewis. "It was a huge autograph session. That was really great to see and I think the fans got to see some great racing. In this 250 mile race you can treat them to a little more of an all-out charge than what you can for the Rolex 24. Hopefully, they liked what they saw and they'll be back next year for the 24 Hour. We had a lot of local corner workers out here and a lot of them had on their 'Go Shane, Go!!!' t-shirts. That was really cool. It was a good day. I know everyone on the team is ready to get to Barber to try and keep moving back to the front."
The Steve and Martha Southard-owned team has earned podium finishes twice this year in the Daytona Prototype class. The first third-place came at the Long Beach Grand Prix where Lewis was joined by Bill Auberlen (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in the No. 3. Stanton joined the team for another third at Phoenix International Raceway on May 13. The Powell, Ohio-based team now moves to Birmingham, Ala. and the Barber Motorsports Park on July 30 for another 250-mile event.