SALINAS, Calif., Thursday, September 6, 2001- Shane Lewis will control the brute horsepower of the V10 ESP American Viperacing Dodge Viper GTS-R at this weekend's Monterey Sports Car Championships. The event marks a homecoming for the ...
SALINAS, Calif., Thursday, September 6, 2001- Shane Lewis will control the brute horsepower of the V10 ESP American Viperacing Dodge Viper GTS-R at this weekend's Monterey Sports Car Championships. The event marks a homecoming for the Lancaster-native and a return to the site of his first professional race win. Lewis has competed in seven professional races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 1993.
"It is great to be back out here racing in California again," said the Jupiter, Florida-resident. "I grew-up here and started my racing career here in California. Returning to race here always means a lot to me. Coming to Laguna Seca has so much meaning for me. I have had great success at this track including my first professional victory. To be back here and with American Viperacing I have a very good feeling about this weekend. I love the track and being back in California racing."
Lewis' first race win as a professional came in the 1994 IMSA Supercar Championships here at Laguna Seca driving a Chevrolet Corvette LT-1. Lewis charged to victory, from the pole position, over David Donohue in second and Andy Pilgrim in third in that event. He would go on to win two other IMSA Supercar races and the series' Championship Rising Star Award in his career.
"That race really sticks out in my mind," reminisced Lewis on his first victory. "It was the most intense racing I have ever done. The competition in that race was the strongest I have ever gone up against. It wasn't just every lap you were fighting but it was every turn. The cars were all amazingly close with the same tires and about the same performance. The drivers were also among the best. David [Donohue] and Andy [Pilgrim] finished right behind me, and I mean right behind me, and they are racing here in the ALMS now. That was probably the most satisfying victory of my career. Laguna always brings back great memories for me."
Darren Law will co-drive with Lewis in Monterey. The two teamed together at Laguna for Aspen Knolls Racing in ALMS GT class in 2000 finishing sixth in a Porsche 911.
"Being back with Darren is the first constant I have had," offered Lewis about the team this weekend. "The American Viperacing crew has gained so much in the last few races that every time I get into the car it is substantially better. Things are starting to click and this is a great place for me. I can't think of a better place to get back on the victory podium."
Shane Lewis continues rehabilitation from serious leg surgery complications earlier in the year. A titanium rod, stretching from his knee to his ankle, was inserted to replace bone lost when doctors worked to kill a serious staph infection in his tibia. Lewis returned to the track at Sears Point Raceway in July where he raced to fourth. He has followed that with two more fourths and a second-place finish.
The #45 ESP American Viperacing Dodge Viper will roll onto the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for first practice on Friday, September 7 with qualifications on Saturday. The Monterey Sports Car Championships' 2 hour and 45 minute ALMS race will begin at noon (PCT) on Sunday.