LEXINGTON, OH, Saturday, August 25, 2001- The first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was every bit as dramatic for Shane Lewis as he had hoped. However, it was due to a spectacular accident rather than a return to...
LEXINGTON, OH, Saturday, August 25, 2001- The first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was every bit as dramatic for Shane Lewis as he had hoped. However, it was due to a spectacular accident rather than a return to Mid-Ohio's victory podium that induced the drama. The driver of the #45 ESP American Viperacing Dodge Viper GTS-R overcame a major qualifying accident to bring the V10-powered car home fourth in class for the third time in his four races with the team, 18th overall. For the second ALMS event in a row, Lewis co-drove with David Donohue. However, Lewis put in the most time behind the wheel racing for the final two hours of the event.
"Man, it was just awesome out there," said the resident of Jupiter, Florida. "The #45 ESP American Viperacing car is just an awesome car. The crew guys did just an awesome job putting it back together before the race. Everything went our way! It might seem odd being so excited about a fourth-place finish but it was a long, hard-fought fourth place. We ran it hard the entire time. I got in after David (Donohue) started the car and he asked me to just stay in it the rest of the race. I think I was in the car like two hours. My feet are on fire, I'm cooking hot but I had just an awesome time. The guys gave us a great car."
Lewis was able to put a massive qualifying accident behind him to earn the fourth-place finish, behind the two, factory Corvettes and the ultra-sophisticated Saleen S7. The incident, caused by rear brake failure when the brake-bias bar locked into place, in Friday's qualification session had resulted in a heavy impact with the turn-one tire barrier. The American Viperacing team had to work throughout the night and morning to repair the damage. The #45 missed the morning warm-up session as the crew completed detail work to the front of the car. However, the whole affair proved how strong a combination Lewis and American Viperacing are.
At this point it is unclear when Lewis will again return to the cockpit of an ALMS car. The team continues to search additional support to keep Lewis in the car at Laguna Seca in two weeks. However, nothing is definite at this point and Lewis is pursuing opportunities with other ALMS teams as well.
"We worked hard for this one," commented an enthusiastic Lewis. "I have been working out hard to overcome the time out of the cockpit because of the surgery. It really paid off here. I am in the best shape of my career and it showed out there today. This is one hot car and I am proud to have brought it home for American Viperacing. If the world needed proof that Shane Lewis is back physically, I think they just got it!"