1100458-938045-thumbnail.jpgGuy Cosmo takes over for Randy Ruhlman At Barber Motorsports Park
Last-minute race schedule conflicts prevented regular driver Randy Ruhlman from joining the Southard Motorsports team this past weekend at Barber Motorsports Park for the Grand Am Rolex Series.  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 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.

“Well, another weekend with a new team,” laughed Guy Cosmo. “Steve and Martha Southard are two of the nicest people in the paddock, and we've had several conversations about my joining the program, but had never had the proper opportunity to do so.”

Cosmo will be sharing the driving duties with Ruhlman’s regular co-driver, Shane Lewis.

“Shane and I are great friends,” said an enthusiastic Cosmo. “We have often talked about driving together, so we were both looking forward to sharing the wheel.  And, we're almost the same height and weight, which is a huge benefit when you have to share a seat and do quick driver changes.”

“The Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley started the weekend a bit off the pace,” noted Guy. “But Shane and I worked with the team really well to target the areas that needed tweaking. We were able to make significant progress just before qualifying and Shane qualified the car 9th.”

“Unfortunately, our race pace just wasn't a match for the competition over the long haul,” said Guy. “Shane had a great start and worked his way up to 6th,  but we lost a few positions through the pit rotation. He handed the car over to me running in 10th. I jumped in and on the restart. And though my pace was exactly as fast as Shane's,  I fell victim to an increasingly faster pace by the competition. And, even though I set our fastest race lap and ran a very consistent pace,  everyone else seemed to get faster. That relegated me to 13th while reeling in Burt Frisselle in a great chase to the finish.”

“It was extremely hot and humid this weekend in Alabama,” continued Guy. “It was tough and physical. Thanks to Paul Booth and Performance Drink, though, I felt better than ever when I climbed out of the Daytona Prototype - I won't leave home without it!”

“It's been fun playing musical chairs in the series,” said Guy, “and I was glad to fill in for Randy and represent Preformed Line Products, TrueChoice and Southard Motorsports. Plus, I finally got to share a car with Shane instead of racing against him. In the end, it was another great weekend and driving for the Southards was a nice surprise. Who knows what team I'll drive for next!”

During the past few seasons, Cosmo has brought his talent and services to several of the top-tier prototype teams in the Grand American paddock. In 2006 Cosmo joined up with Finlay Motorsports filling in for an injured Memo Gidley in the #19 Playboy Uniden car. He was also instrumental in giving the Spirit of Daytona car it’s best run ever at Watkins Glen. And, of course there was the popular 2nd place finish garnered by Guy, Memo and Michael McDowell at Utah to close out the season. And, just last week Cosmo got his first chance to drive the Riley/Porsche combination filling in for JC France in the Brumos Porsche.

Cosmo's extensive background with open-wheel formula cars and sports prototypes has earned him a reputation as one of the most successful and versatile young racing drivers in North America. The 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year ranks among the top-level road racers in the world. He has earned overall racing titles and major success in many disciplines including karting, Formula Ford, Formula 2000, Star Mazda, Toyota Atlantic, Grand American and American Le Mans. You can learn more about Guy Cosmo at www.guycosmo.com.

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. The team recently announced an alliance with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to increase visibility and awareness for the Foundation and its programs.

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.

The Grand American Road Racing Association, which operates and sanctions the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve and the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, is the premier road racing organization in North America. The 15-race 2007 Rolex Series schedule and the 12-race KONI Challenge Series calendar will deliver professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America. All 2007 Rolex Series events will be televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA and presenting sponsorship from Crown Royal Special Reserve, the Rolex Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand-Am at www.grand-am.com.