Lewis Runs Strong In AMS ARCA Debut HAMPTON, Ga., Monday, November 19, 2001 -- Jupiter, Florida's Shane Lewis made his professional stock car racing debut this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in the Pork The Other White Meat 400...
Lewis Runs Strong In AMS ARCA Debut
HAMPTON, Ga., Monday, November 19, 2001 -- Jupiter, Florida's Shane Lewis made his professional stock car racing debut this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in the Pork The Other White Meat 400 ARCA event. Lewis gained 15 positions in the race though he had never turned more than 30 laps on an oval in a stock car prior to the green flag. The sports car racing favorite charged through the field to take 16th spot after qualifying the #13 Capital City Motorsports Ford Taurus 31st in the 40-car field. Lewis, who won the first stock car race he ever entered just two weeks ago at the Daytona International Speedway road course, fought a weak engine throughout the race running as high as 13th before the powerplant began to lose strength in the final circuits of the 162-lap season-finale.
"We ran well," enthused Lewis while sitting in the window of the black #13 following the event. "We came here with a few goals and with all the problems we were facing with the car I was wondering if we would have a chance to meet any of them! We were down on power all weekend and then when the engine let go in the final practice I thought 'that's it.' But, the Capital City crew did just an amazing job getting the engine switched over from Greg's (Sarf, team owner) car and it really held together. I could barely see towards the end because we had an oil leak that was causing clouds of smoke to come into the car when I'd go into turn-one. I let off the engine some so we could finish the last ten laps and lost two positions but we got to the checkered flag. I am not sure how much longer that engine would have run but it got us what we needed. Finishing was one of our goals and we did that and I was able to pass some guys and get a feel for traffic and turbulence off the other cars. I definitely want to thank the guys at Capital City Motorsports for all their effort. It was a tough weekend but we brought it home. It gives us some things to think about. "
When Lewis blew the engine in practice it left a patch of oil that Sarf, who was following immediately behind Lewis, drove into and crashed. That opened up owner's engine, a short track unit with hundreds of miles already on it, to the #13 team. The team completed the engine change shortly before Lewis was due on the grid. The short-track engine was severely down on power to the superspeedway engines utilized by most of the ARCA field but Lewis drove a smart race to charge towards the front. Lewis' run made him a contender for ARCA's "Hard Charger Award"^× given to the driver gaining the most positions throughout an event. Had the engine woes not hindered him, he would have likely won the award in his first race.
Lewis is considered one of sports car racing's premier racing and development drivers. He has raced for Riley & Scott Europe, Mosler Automotive, Saleen and BMW, competed in 15 24-hour events including two 24 Hours of Le Mans and four 24 Hours of Daytona and was named the 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing Rising Star.
"I learned a lot out there but I also found out that I have a lot more to learn," reflected Lewis. "Driving-wise, I felt good in the car. It was a long weekend with a lot of the mechanical problems we had to face and I would have liked more laps of practice before qualifying and before the race but considering we had so few laps I think we did a good job. There are some things to work on before the next time but I feel like I can certainly compete with these guys. That was the main goal of the weekend -- to see if I could be competitive and feel comfortable in a series so different that what I am use to. That mission was accomplished. Now on to the next step."