Southard Motorsports has announced that will not take part in the final round of the Grand Am Rolex Series at Miller Motorsports Park.
Team owners Steve and Martha Southard made the decision to miss the Salt Lake City event in order to focus on pursuing marketing opportunities for the 2009 season, with the team's 2008 budget having been hit by a number of costly incidents over the course of the campaign.
The announcement brings to an end a run that had seen the team take part in 74 consecutive Rolex Series races stretching back to 2003, with drivers Shane Lewis and Bill Lester having been released to chase drives with other teams for the Discount Tire Sunchaser.
"To withdraw from Miller was the most difficult decision that Martha and I have had to make in the last five years,” Steve Southard said. “This season has been very frustrating for us, starting with the crash at the 24 Hour at Daytona and culminating at New Jersey.
“Our budget is gone and it's not just the on- track expenses that depleted it. Fuel expenses are up almost 75 percent from last year. Travel, lodging and food expenses have also risen dramatically. The economy has made it difficult for potential sponsors to make the move. Now it's time to put all of our efforts toward securing funding for next year. We can't thank our dedicated crew enough for all the hours they have put in and Bill and Shane have done a remarkable job with the car.
“We also sincerely appreciate all of our fans who have supported us as we turn our attention toward the 2009 season."