BUSCH: Daytona II: Ashton Lewis preview

Ashton Lewis, Jr. and His No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Racing Team Ready To Make Their Move As Second Half Of 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Season Begins (June 30, 2003, Concord, N.C.) - On July 4, 2003, the NASCAR Busch Series will return to action at...

Ashton Lewis, Jr. and His No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Racing Team Ready To Make Their Move As Second Half Of 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Season Begins

(June 30, 2003, Concord, N.C.) - On July 4, 2003, the NASCAR Busch Series will return to action at Daytona International Speedway for the Winn Dixie 250. The date marks not just our country's Independence Day but also the halfway mark of the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series season. For many, the July event at Daytona International Speedway is a place of mental renewal, a place to recharge their batteries and regain their focus. This is certainly true for Ashton Lewis, Jr., driver of the No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet Monte Carlo, who looks towards the latter half of the season with high expectations and goals that must be accomplished.

The first half of the 2003 season was a roller-coaster ride for the No. 46 Civil Air Patrol team fielded by Lewis Motorsports, as they experienced the a variety of high and lows. After getting off to slow start, things seemingly started coming together at Nashville Superspeedway in April, when Lewis, Jr. posted a third place finish, his first top-five and strongest performance of the season. Since then, Lewis, Jr. has posted three top-10 finishes and earned his first career pole award at Gateway International Raceway. However as is the nature of the sport, a bit of bad luck including two engine failures and two DNF's due to accidents, has hurt the team in the points standings. Presently, they are 15th among the Busch Series competitors.

Despite the bumpy road, Lewis, Jr. is very happy with his team's performance thus far in the 2003 season.

"I have been pleased with our on-track performance each week," added Lewis, Jr. "We have had some bumps in the road, but we have come through them and have gotten better because of them. We have been running consistently in the top-ten for several weeks now and that was one of our goals at the beginning of the season.

As far as our level of competitiveness I think we are right on schedule," added Lewis, Jr. "We have had some really strong runs this year that, unfortunately, don't show up in the record books. On several occasions our problem has been getting to the end of it whether it be getting caught up in accidents or an engine failure or just plain bad luck. However, winning the pole at Gateway, a track we have not been very strong at in the past, proves that we are a contender and we have the ability to run up front and be competitive every week."

Eliminating DNF's and consistency in performance will be the major focus of the Lewis Motorsports team for the remaining 17 races of the season. With a successful test session in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, Lewis, Jr. feels that the team is ready to take it to the next level.

"Our test in Chicago is the first time since the season began that we have been able to dedicate two whole days to evaluating how we can improve our performance. We feel like we stumbled on to some things set-up wise and aerodynamically that are really going to help us in the second half of the season. Our goal is to be in the top-10 in points by the end of the season. As long as we continue on the path that we are on right now, remaining consistent, keeping our focus, and continuing to work improving our cars and bodies, I don't see any reason that we won't meet that goal."

Lewis Motorsports owner, Ashton Lewis, Sr. who furthers his participation in the team by serving as the team's engine tuner, sees great things in store for his team in the future.

"As a team, we are continually evolving and improving," said Lewis. "Looking back at last season, I see how much we have grown and improved on every level. That's what success in this sport is all about, constantly striving for improvement and success. I feel lucky to have the people in place here that we have. Every member of this team is dedicated to our success. With that kind of dedication I don't see how you can't reach your goal. I truly believe that in this last half of the 2003 season, this team is going to prove what we are capable of."

The second half of the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series season begins at the wave of the green flag at 8 pm Saturday, July 4, at Daytona International Speedway. Watch out for the No. 46 Civil Air Patrol team -- they're on the move!

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ashton Lewis