Michael Lewis Collects Top-Ten Finishes In Orlando ORLANDO,Fla (December 05, 2005) - - Noblesville, Indiana's Michael Lewis wasn't sure what to expect in this past Friday's "Mopar-PRI Sprint & Midget Classic". A new race and a new track meant...
Michael Lewis Collects Top-Ten Finishes In Orlando
ORLANDO,Fla (December 05, 2005) - - Noblesville, Indiana's Michael Lewis wasn't sure what to expect in this past Friday's "Mopar-PRI Sprint & Midget Classic". A new race and a new track meant some certain unknowns for the Western Speed Racing team. However, the team's mentality remained the same, victory lane.
The United States Auto Club (USAC) held time trials efforts on Thursday, December 1st in preparation for the first annual "Mopar-PRI Sprint & Midget Classic", a special addition to the 53rd annual Performance Racing Industry trade show. Michael was slated to compete in both the midget and sprint car events driving the familar No. 40.
Lewis qualified 12th in his No. 40 Western Speed machine with a time of 13.471 seconds in the midget series, while Michael pulled together a fast lap of 13.590 seconds in the sprint series good enough for 13th on the starting grid. By qualifying inside the top-14 Thursday evening, Lewis didn't have to participate in Friday's "last chance" event for the main attraction. "We didn't qualify as well as we would have liked to, but at least we made the events on time," said Michael Lewis, the 2002 winner of the "Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale, California.
In the first event Friday night, Lewis started 12th and patiently remained there for a majority of the 40-lap session. As the event began to wind down, Lewis began his march towards the front. The lack of ability to pass and some handling issues forced Michael to only gain three positions during the midget event, despite an intense and exciting battle with Darren Hagen with Michael unable to pass him and settling for ninth. "I just couldn't pass. This track is really one of the hardest tracks I have ever had to pass on, so to get a top-ten finish, I am satisfied, but not really happy."
With one top-ten finish under his belt, Lewis was heading into the sprint car event looking to improve on his qualifying effort. At the start of the event, Lewis again used patience while trying to proceed to the front in the event officials called "one of the most competitive of the year". Michael, who won his first USAC Western States Sprint Car Championship in 2003 narrowly avoided disaster when a spinning machine in front of him nearly took him out of contention.
Despite not being a threat to the dominating Dave Steele, Lewis was able to break into the top-ten and stayed there, garnishing him two top-ten finishes Friday evening. "Again, I can't say I am really happy with the finish, but it looks good on paper. I just couldn't get the car working the way I needed to and passing is pretty much impossible. You either have to pass them on the start or restart or if someone in front of you has a problem. I hate it for the team, but I appreciate their hard work this weekend."
Western Speed Racing, Wirtgen Group America, Hoosier Tire, Esslinger Engineering, ASA Speed Truck Challenge, Loy Loy Restaurant, and Performance Trailers all served as sponsors on Lewis's No. 40 in both series. "I just want to thank all of our sponsors for their support this year. We had a good year, but of course, we'll head into the new season looking to surpass this year's stats."
As the 2005 year officially comes to a close, Michael Lewis has recorded stellar stats. In just 28 races, he captured three fast times, qualified 16 times in the top-five, hustled to six wins, an astounding eleven top-five finishes and capturing 20 top-ten runs. Lewis also captured the Earl's fast qualifying award for the season in the USAC National Midget Series.
Next weekend, Michael will head to Covington, Kentucky in early December where he has been invited as a guest to attend the 53rd annual ARCA RE/MAX Series banquet. "I'm really excited about heading to the banquet. It will be a chance to meet some people, and see up close what the series is all about. We're working on some opportunities that could have me racing in a few ARCA events in 2006," Lewis said.
Following the holiday season, Lewis plans to regroup and plan ahead for the 2006 racing season. Michael Lewis would like to begin a winning and long-lasting career in the stock car industry while continuing to race in the USAC ranks.