Charles Lewandoski's Huge Year Honored at Busch East Banquet Young Driver's Achievements In '06 Recognized As He Searches for '07 Opportunities CONCORD, NC (December 18, 2006) -- Growing up watching several members of his family compete ...
Charles Lewandoski's Huge Year Honored at Busch East Banquet
Young Driver's Achievements In '06 Recognized As He Searches for '07 Opportunities
CONCORD, NC (December 18, 2006) -- Growing up watching several members of his family compete week-to-week at short tracks throughout the Northeast, Charles Lewandoski knew that he was going to be a racecar driver. When the day finally came when he could strap on a helmet and compete for himself, the then eight-year-old from Stafford Springs, Connecticut wanted nothing short of victory in his first-ever Quarter Midget race.
Instead of victory, Lewandoski ended his first-ever race on his roof. That race taught Lewandoski a valuable lesson that he has been following throughout his racing career.
Since then, he has set a goal to improve each and every time he puts that helmet back on. Through success in Quarter Midgets, Sprint Cars, Late Models and even the NASCAR Busch East Series, Lewandoski has always tried to do a little bit better than the last time in every race.
In 2006, Lewandoski took that old lesson and turned it into the most successful season he has ever had. The 21-year-old finished 10th in Busch East Series points with consistent top-five and top-10 finishes that were rewarded by the NASCAR Officials who voted him for the "Driver Achievement Award" as the series' most improved driver over last season. The honor was handed to "ChaLew" during the year-end awards banquet at Mohegan Sun Resort in Connecticut on December 15th.
"The first half of the year, we ran good and finished good," said Lewandoski. "We ran really well in the second half of the year too. Even though we didn't get the finishes we wanted late in the year, it set in throughout the year how good of a year we were having. We always knew that we could run in the top-10 and finish in the top-10 as well, and more often than not we proved it. I'm now at a place where if we finish outside the top-10, I'm extremely disappointed. Running good is always a positive, but finishing there is what keeps you motivated.
"You never stop learning in racing and I've learned a lot in the three years that I've been in the Busch East Series. Personally, I think I grew more as a racecar driver this year. I matured a little bit and learned a lot. Obviously, every year behind the wheel you learn a little more. That was a very important thing for me; to learn from the struggles that we had in 2005 and make things better in 2006. I feel like I'm a better driver than I was last year, but I also surrounded myself with better people, which was a big factor in running better."
Five top-10 finishes, including a career-best third-place finish at Thompson International Speedway in late June, earned Lewandoski his 10th place in final series points, but his "Driver Achievement Award" was earned with consistency that even the NASCAR Officials could not ignore.
"The part that meant the most to me was that the officials voted on the award. There are a lot of guys who had a great year compared to what they did in '05. The officials have always been very supportive of me in my three years on the series. The majority of the officials are friends and almost like extended family members to me."
Rather than sitting back and enjoying the spoils of his new title as the most improved driver in the Busch East Series, Lewandoski is already hard at work making 2007 an even bigger season. In order to do that, however, he is actively pursuing opportunities to ensure that he continues to grow from a consistently strong finisher to a championship contender at any level of the sport.
"We did a lot of good things on the track in 2006, but now I'm excited to build on it in 2007. I want to run for a championship in the Busch East Series in 2007, or even run in the Hooters Pro Cup, ARCA or Trucks, but with our family team's plans, that may not be possible. I've been talking to some people about some opportunities for next year, but we need marketing partners or organizations to help us make those goals possible."