TOP SHOWING FROM RYAN LEWIS
Ryan Lewis drove an impressive first stint in the Momentum Race Group Chevrolet Camaro GS.R from 11th to second to challenge for the lead of his debut Grand Am Continental Tire race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Starting from the outside of row five Ryan picked off several places on the opening two laps from where he began to chase down the leading six cars.
"I made up two places in turn one in the mandatory first lap chaos. I just knew I had to get with the top five pack before I lost too much time to them. Once I was with them and things calmed down a bit I just worked on figuring out where I was quicker than other people and where the opportunities where. Fortunately there were a few cautions early on which made life a bit easier."
After making two passes on the subsequent restarts Ryan was in fifth, last in a three car train of Chevy Camaros.
"I kept the pressure on the Mitchum car who in turn was working on the Stevenson Camaro. They were both pushing hard and making mistakes so I just had to pick my moment. I had a few good runs where if I had really taken a chance I could have made it stick but in a 2hr 45 race it's about survival. When the Mitchum car caught fire and brought out the caution Stevenson decided to pit which put me into third and a shot at the lead of the race."
On the restart Ryan made another bold pass of the Automatic Racing BMW M3 into turn one leaving him within striking distance of the leading Roush Mustang.
"After I made the pass for second I got my head down and chased the Mustang. Over the next couple of laps I made up some ground and got within a few car lengths but it was asking a lot of the car. The tyres were beyond their best and it seemed like the Mustang was using it's tyres a little better. At the same time the Automatic BMW was keeping the pressure on me, having a look now and then in traffic. He got alongside a couple of times and I have to say raced me really fair. Plenty of other people may have helped me out of the way in the same situation but he kept it clean. Unfortunately this gave the Mustang a chance to build a lead which I never really could gain back."
At the 1hr 15 mark Ryan pitted under caution to hand over the car to team mate Jordon Musser. At that point the car had logged the third fastest lap of the race and was locked in for a top five finish. Unfortunately shortly after handing the car over to Jordon the car suffered a catastrophic and uncharacteristic engine failure.
"It was such a shame that the race ended early for us. We were certainly on for a top five finish if not a podium. It would have been great to finish my first Grand Am Continental Tire race with a strong finish. Myself and the team can still take some big positives away form the race though. We ended up with the fifth fastest lap of the race, had a car that in the race allowed us to make passes and run at the front. I can't thank everyone at Momentum Race Group enough for the opportunity to run with them. I just hope we can get back out there again soon and bring home the finish we deserve."
-source: ryan lewis PR