BUSCH: Richmond: Ashton Lewis race notes

Lewis suffers late race crash at Richmond. RICHMOND, VA (May 2, 2003) -- Driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. suffered a roller coasters ride of ups and downs during the events at Richmond International Raceway. When Lewis first piloted the Civil Air ...

Lewis suffers late race crash at Richmond.

RICHMOND, VA (May 2, 2003) -- Driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. suffered a roller coasters ride of ups and downs during the events at Richmond International Raceway. When Lewis first piloted the Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet onto the track for practice, he was pleased with the car and knew he had a good chance to win.

During the first practice session, Lewis was ninth on the time sheet with a speed of 21.749. Kevin Harvick in the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet had the fastest time of 21.527. Qualifying was scheduled to begin at 4:00 PM ET, but after the first two cars to attempt qualifying both spun and wrecked in turn two, qualifying was put on hold. Officials found that the track was seeping water from a rain shower the previous evening. Qualifying was delayed for four hours while crews fixed the problem.

When qualifying resumed, Lewis was prepared to make a strong run for the pole. He was the 25th car out but unfortunately, when Lewis was heading into turn three, the car bottomed out and Lewis spun and hit the wall. He was unable to finish his qualifying effort, and was forced to use his first provisional to make the race.

The Civil Air Patrol crew quickly unloaded their backup car and prepared it for 'Happy Hour'. They only had the opportunity to run 19 laps, but Lewis had a good feel for the car and knew it would be strong in the race.

As Friday evening approached, the drivers anxiously approached their vehicles and prepared to begin the Hardee's 250, the first night race of the season. As the command to start engines was given, Lewis was in the 37th position, but ready to quickly improve upon that.

The first caution came out quickly, on lap seven, and unfortunately set the pace for a caution riddled event. As the cautions continued to fly, Lewis took advantage of the green flag spurts to constantly improve his position. By lap 20 he was in 33rd, lap 43 in 29th, and by lap 74 he was in 17th place. Lewis was happy with the cars handling, and during pit stops the team only made minor air pressure, wedge and tape adjustments.

As the race began to wind down, Lewis was in the sixth position when he was caught up in a four car accident in turn four. The crew thought they would be able to get the car back on the track to finish the race, but the radiator was broken and there was not enough time left to replace it.

A disappointed CAP race team finished in the 30th position and fell to 18th in owner's points. The next race on the Busch schedule is the Charter Pipeline 250 at Gateway Raceway. The race will be aired live on FX and broadcast live on MRN beginning at 3:00 ET on Saturday, May 10, 2003. Qualifying for the event will take place Friday, May 9 at 5:35 pm ET and will be aired on Speedchannel.

-lm/cap-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ashton Lewis