Lewis enters Saturday's race fresh off his best career Busch Series finish. He placed second in the Hardee's 250 at Richmond International Raceway. He has one top-five and two top-10 finishes this season entering Saturday's race. Lewis started...
Lewis enters Saturday's race fresh off his best career Busch Series finish. He placed second in the Hardee's 250 at Richmond International Raceway. He has one top-five and two top-10 finishes this season entering Saturday's race. Lewis started 28th and finished 29th in last year's race at New Hampshire International Speedway and was running at the finish of the event.
ASHTON LEWIS, NO. 46 CIVIL AIR PATROL CHEVROLET:
"New Hampshire has always been a challenge for us as a team. We've always had decent cars in practice. It's always been that transition from practice to qualifying. New Hampshire was one of those tracks where you could get the car right at the end of practice and you got to qualify and with the sun baking on that racetrack it got a lot looser. The first time we were there I about wrecked it. We learned from it last year and we still didn't go quite far enough so this year we've got that second page of notes to where we can go back and say 'All right, this is where we were last time. We tightened it up this much and it still wasn't enough. Let's go with just a little bit more.'
"It worked for us at Milwaukee. We qualified 15th at Milwaukee which isn't what we wanted but we knew we were headed in the right direction at figuring out how to tighten the setups up for these flat tracks for qualifying.
"Race-wise there (New Hampshire) we also had a good car. We've got a good set of notes on what we felt like we should have done for race trim and what felt like we should have done for qualifying trim. Based off of that and the notes we've used this year from last year's experience had paid off and gotten us closer for this year so it should work."
LEWIS SAID THE TEAM PLANS TO TAKE THE SAME CAR TO NEW HAMPSHIRE THAT HE RAN EARLIER THIS YEAR AT BRISTOL.
"We had our best qualifying effort with that car this year. Wesley Mills did the body on it so it's not one of our in-house bodies, but it's the same kind of body that was on the car at Nashville. It should be a good car and it definitely ran well at Bristol. It should work real well there (at New Hampshire)."
THE BOTTOM OF THE TRACK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE HAS BEEN WIDENED OUT. WILL THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN WE GO BACK?
"It will probably change the line a little bit. We really won't know until we get there. To me that's more of what they have really done to the race in the corners. If it hasn't changed the race in the corner it's not going to make that big of an effect on it. If it makes it to where you can run in a different spot on that racetrack then, yes, we'll probably have to make some adjustments for it. With them doing just a little bit of work there it shouldn't drastically change the setups. It's not like they added a bunch of banking or something to it."
WILL EVERYONE STILL BE FIGHTING TO GET AS LOW ON THE TRACK AS THEY CAN?
"I think so. That's something that we definitely learned last year. Looking back at the notes That was one of the places where you need to get in the corner and get it turned quickly and you need to get as much forward bit as you could coming up off. As long as you can get back in that gas good and hard, the earlier you could get back in it the faster you were. You're carrying that speed all the way down that straightaway. We'll make sure we get that car where I can drive it up off the bottom. That's where all the passing is going to be done and that's where all the speed is anyway."
IS IT HARD TO PASS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE?
"It's kind of like a stretched out Martinsville. You know that guy is going to be down there and he's going to be doing everything he can to keep it down at the bottom to get that drive off. The only thing is that if you're close, it's going to make it really tough. If you're a car that is quite a bit better, and he's fighting being tight off or he's fighting being loose off, then as long as you're not you'll still be able to get that run off. If you can get your nose up underneath him coming up off, he isn't going to be able to run you down off into that corner and you'll be able to make the pass.
"We didn't have a lot of problems last year passing people. We had the electrical problem early on in that race and that kind of put us behind. We weren't really fighting anybody tooth and nail."
WHAT WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH AT NEW HAMPSHIRE?
"A top-10. I think qualifying wise we want to qualify better than 15th. That has been our best qualifying effort on the flat racetrack, other than Homestead, which isn't really anywhere near like what a New Hampshire or Milwaukee is. We want to qualify better than 15th and just be there all day long and be able to work our way up inside the top-10. A top-five for us at those racetracks right now would be like winning."
DO YOU LIKE RACING ON THE FLATRACKS?
"I do. Langley Speedway was a four-tenths of a mile flat racetrack; it was like running in a parking lot. That's one thing that has kind of always frustrated me is I grew up on tracks like that and we should be a lot better that that at those places. We've had good race setups there; we just haven't had good qualifying efforts. I think if we could get that qualifying effort where we needed it to be we'll make the race that much better."