Shane Shots -- Shane Lewis Notes
Pork The Other White Meat 400 -- Atlanta Motor Speedway
#13 Capital City Motorsports Ford Taurus
Shane Lewis has only competed in two stock car events in his career. However, the Jupiter, Florida resident is hitting 1,000 in stock cars. Held on November 3 and 4, 2001 at Daytona International Speedway, he won both races in convincing fashion. In his first Historic Stock Car Racing Association (HSCRA) event, driven in a 1993 Chevrolet Lumina once piloted by Joe Nemechek, the stock car rookie charged from 11th on the grid to the win. The following day, after an electronics glitch cost him in qualifying, he raced from 20th to the lead. Lewis dove to the inside of the leader at the famous "Bus-Stop Chicane" in Daytona's infield on the last lap to take his second win for car owner Edgar Otto and the #41 team. He proceeded that with a test of the #38 Greg Sarf-owned Capital City Motorsports Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) on October 30. Lewis, running his first oval test in a stock car, turned the 11th-quick lap of the test with a time of 32.01 seconds despite missing most of the afternoon session with engine problems. Sarf then signed Lewis to race the #13 2001 Ford Taurus in the Pork The Other White Meat 400 at AMS.
Shane Lewis came to racing in a unique fashion. A longtime car enthusiast he bought his first junkyard car in high school to build a racecar. He worked on the car daily until a lack of funding kept him from finishing his first racer. His school's rodeo team then recruited him when no one else had the courage to represent the team in bull riding. His natural competitive desire made him a champion. Eager to return to his desired career as a race driver Lewis decided to end his career at a charity rodeo. He drew the toughest bull in the arena but had a perfect eight-second ride. He dismounted and, in true bull rider/race driver fashion he had a perfect dismount and turned to tip his hat to the crowd. However, the bull made an unusual turn and Lewis would wake in a hospital bed with his jaw wired shut and multiple skin graphs to his face among other injuries. The personable driver-to-be was kicked squarely in the jaw by the massive beast. That event would forever change his life for the better. While in the hospital his dad asked what he could do to get Shane to stop riding bulls. The reply was to help him finish the racecar. Father and son finished the car and the rest is history.
Shortly after the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring in March, Shane Lewis went in for minor surgery on his right leg just below the knee. He was told he would be back on his feet and in the car testing for the June 24-Hours of Le Mans within three weeks. Three weeks came and went after the surgery and the pain from the surgery was not subsiding. A minimum number of laps at Le Mans pre-qualifying assured Lewis that something was indeed wrong. When back in Florida, the pain and the swelling at the incision on his leg grew and he was rushed into emergency surgery. It was determined that a staphylococcal (staph) infection had settled in his right leg and was making its way into the tibia bone. To stop the spreading infection, doctors broke the tibia and fibula bones and drilled a path from his knee to his ankle in the tibia. A titanium rod was hammered and then screwed into place to substitute for the lost bone. The rod remains in his leg and will for life. The fibula remains broken to this day and will not be repaired.
The dramatic surgery was not enough to stop the infection. The only alternative was to begin an intensive campaign of highly toxic antibiotics. However, the infection was so severe that typical methods of dispensing them would not suffice. A tube was placed in Lewis' chest that ran directly to his heart so that the drugs could have the most impact. Two times a day for two weeks Lewis had antibiotics injected into his body through the tube. Had this treatment not been successful, he would have lost his right leg. He underwent an intensive rehabilitation program that included the development of a special weight machine that mimicked the activities in the cockpit of his ALMS entry. He had the tube removed just weeks before returning to the cockpit at Sears Point in Sonoma, California where he raced to a fourth-place in-class finish with a new team in a car he had never driven. At that time he still had the infection! The following race, at Portland International Raceway, he took second. He would go on to five top-five finishes in the final six events.
Shane Lewis, driver
About the Pork The Other White Meat 400:
"This is a good opportunity to do something that I have always wanted to try. 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. I will be out there giving 110%. We will go out and do the very best we can."
About making the move to stock car racing for this event:
"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 try driving a stock car on an oval and when I got the call to try this I knew it was time to see what it was 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 new 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. 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."
About testing the ARCA car at Atlanta Motor Speedway in October:
"I learned a lot in a very few laps that day. 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. Overall, I was just trying to get to know how the car would feel with different inputs and changes. It really takes some getting use to but by the end of the day I felt pretty comfortable. A racecar is a racecar and you have to respect them all."
About debuting in a stock at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
"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 [at AMS]. When I came through the gate out front I was just bowled over by this place. I have raced at some of the greatest racecourses in the world and AMS really fits the bill as one of those. It is a real honor to be racing at the site of so many great races."
Greg Sarf, car owner
About having Shane Lewis in his #13 Ford Taurus:
"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."