Shane Lewis to Make ARCA Debut in Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga., Monday, November 12, 2001 -- Shane Lewis, of Jupiter, Fla., will make his professional stock car racing debut with ARCA on Saturday, November 17th in the "Pork The Other White Meat 400" at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Lewis, long known for his skill behind the wheel of the world's fastest sports cars, will strap himself into the #13 Ford Taurus of Capital City Motorsports. The entry will be owned and prepared by longtime ARCA competitor Greg Sarf of Powell, Ohio.
"This is a good opportunity to do something that I have always wanted to try," enthused Lewis. "We know it will be a challenge just to make the show. Greg (Sarf, owner) puts together a good, safe car but the competition may have a leg-up on us when it comes to equipment. Still, there comes a time in everyone's life that you want to break the routine and try something different. I have always wanted the opportunity to drive a stock car on an oval and when I got the call I knew it was time to see what it is all about. I have driven nearly every kind of car on a road course and won a lot of races but this is a new challenge and life is about facing and overcoming challenges. There are a lot of differences between this and what I am use to but some things are always the same. The people, the thrill and the desire to beat the competition never changes anywhere you go. A racecar is a racecar and you have to respect them all."
Lewis is not a total newcomer to stock car racing. The highly sought-after driver won the first two stock car races he entered. The wins came in a Chevrolet Lumina -- originally piloted by Joe Nemechek -- with the Historic Stock Car Racing Association (HSCRA) at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month. Atlanta will be his first oval-track race in a stock car. He is considered one of sports car racing's premier racing and development drivers having competed in every class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and winning multiple International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events. He has competed in 15 24-hour events including two 24 Hours of Le Mans and four 24 Hours of Daytona. He has raced in four Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and was named the 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing Rising Star. Lewis has successfully raced for Riley & Scott Europe, Mosler Automotive, Saleen and BMW. His first racing experiences came in SCCA Formula Fords where he was regional and Formula Ford Festival champion.
Team owner Greg Sarf looks forward to having Lewis in one of his cars. "We brought Shane in to test our car a few weeks ago. I was immediately impressed with his driving and, even more so, with his ability to tell us what the car was doing. We know this particular car may not be the best or fastest car in the field. However, we are working towards something greater for next year with Shane and we wanted to get race-one under our belt."
Lewis turned some exploratory laps at AMS during an ARCA open test on October 30th. "I learned a lot in a very few laps that day," said Lewis who ran 11th-quick -- with a time of 32.01 seconds -- despite missing most of the afternoon session with engine problems. "We know we still need to work on the seat and a few things to make me physically more comfortable in the car and I think that those changes would help the lap times. I really enjoyed the track, however. I can't think of a better place to make my start than here. AMS is such a great track. It is fast and smooth and I am really looking forward to racing here. But, I am under no delusions that this will be easy because it won't be. This will be tough, very tough. ARCA has a tremendous history and there are an awful lot of guys in the Cup garage that raced here. I appreciate Greg giving me this shot and ARCA for inviting me to race here in Atlanta. I will be out there giving 110%. We will go out and do the very best we can."