Stuck Throttle Ends Laguna Weekend For Lewis SALINAS, Calif., Monday, September 10, 2001- Shane Lewis dove into the first turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time of the weekend among 27 other cars that had had ample time to prepare...
Stuck Throttle Ends Laguna Weekend For Lewis
SALINAS, Calif., Monday, September 10, 2001- Shane Lewis dove into the first turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time of the weekend among 27 other cars that had had ample time to prepare for Sunday's Monterey Sports Car Championships. The #45 ESP American Viperacing Dodge Viper GTS-R would run another 81 times through that turn until, on lap 82, he would crest the hill going towards turn-one, lift off the throttle and find it stuck wide-open. He was able to get the car stopped but that would mark the end of the day for the popular Jupiter Florida-resident. He would finish 20th, fifth in class, his lowest class finish of the year, credited with 83-laps.
"I crested the hill on the front-straightaway and was lifting off the throttle to make the left-hander into [turn] one," reviewed Lewis. "The only problem was, when I lifted, the engine didn't. The throttle had stuck wide open! Having that V10 powering you is an awesome feeling until you know it isn't your right foot controlling all that power! I got it cut off before I stuffed it into the wall. I figured out how to correct the problem long enough to make it back to the pits but that was only temporary. There was no way to fix it and return to the race. That was it for the day."
The American Viperacing team did extensive work to the #45 Viper to ready it for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) penultimate round this weekend and was unable to complete the modifications in time for Lewis, or co-driver Darren Law, to practice or qualify the car. Starting 28th in the 28-car field Lewis moved the V10-powered car up through the field until turning it over to Law. Lewis would return to the car with plans to take the checkered flag. However, those plans came to an abrupt end with the stuck throttle.
The finish was Lewis' lowest since returning from serious leg surgery complications in July. Entering into Laguna's race the three-time IMSA Supercar race winner had finished no lower than fourth with a season-high of second in class. He has scored points in both GT-class with the Aspen Knolls Callaway C12-R and in the GTS-class ESP American Viperacing Viper.
"It is too bad the way things turned out here," commented Lewis who won his first professional victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1994. "The guys had their backs to the wall all weekend trying to get the new intake manifold on and then modify the hood. Laguna has been awfully good to me in the past but this weekend it was just plain awful to me. I am ready to go to Road Atlanta next month and run my first endurance race since Sebring back in March. We are working on our plans right now and we'll let everyone know what we'll be racing there soon."
For more on Shane Lewis please see www.ShaneLewis.com.