VIR: Shane Lewis preview

Shane Lewis Rides Wave of Confidence Into Virginia ALTON, Vir., April 18, 2006 -- Shane Lewis is riding a wave of confidence as he enters Sunday's VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The Jupiter, Fla.-resident scored his highest...

Shane Lewis Rides Wave of Confidence Into Virginia

ALTON, Vir., April 18, 2006 -- Shane Lewis is riding a wave of confidence as he enters Sunday's VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The Jupiter, Fla.-resident scored his highest Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype finish, third, at the most recent round of the Series, the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 8. VIR was the site of Lewis and Southard Motorsports best finish, sixth, of the 2005 Rolex Series season. When these two facts are matched with a tremendous surge in the on-track performance of the No. 3 TrueChoice/ PAP-Parts BMW-Riley, Lewis is drawing confidence from it and drawing the attention of his competitors because of it.

"In 2005, VIR was our best finish and we are coming here after our best finish ever in the Rolex Series at Long Beach," commented Lewis. "So, the whole Southard team is looking forward to this weekend. Past success doesn't mean much when you get on track, it's what you're doing now that matters, but it puts you in a good frame of mind going into the weekend. Right now, the Southard team is working better together than ever before. That is what success does for you. It helps inspire more confidence and even better performance."

Virginia International has long been a favorite of Lewis. Not only did he earn the top-ten finish here in '05, but he and Southard Motorsports also took a ninth-place in Daytona Prototypes in 2004. In 2003, he set the Grand-Am Cup ST class track record here driving the BMW-built Mini Cooper S. Lewis has been racing at the 3.27-mile, South Virginia road course since 2002.

"I love this track and the people of Virginia," continued Lewis. "I'm not sure what it is; the water, the air, the hospitality or what but I seem to get just a little more out of the car here than it really wants to give. The track fits me really well, I guess, and the history of the track and the area is pretty inspiring. We'd love to keep the momentum we started building in Long Beach growing. VIR probably couldn't have come at a better time for Southard Motorsports."

The timing of this momentum shift came at an ideal time for the Powell, Ohio-based team. The Steve and Martha Southard-owned operation is actively seeking the marketing program to back the effort. Recent results have gone to show that the team, which always performs well off the track, is as equally strong on it.

"The Southard's commitment to this program has been top-level," said Lewis. "But, with the competition growing every weekend, it has reached the point that a privateer owner is going to have a tough time. Steve and Martha have really stepped it up the last few months and that is showing. With the right support this team can race with anyone on the grid. As a driver, that is a really good feeling."

The VIR 400 can be seen live on SPEED at 1 PM (ET) on Sunday, April 23. Live timing and scoring of all sessions and the race can be found at www.GrandAmerican.com.

-www.ShaneLewis.com.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis