Laguna Seca: Lewis, Stanton race report

Shane Lewis and Craig Stanton Again Show Strength of Southard BMW, Incident Drops Duo Out of Contention MONTEREY, Calif., May 7, 2006 -- Shane Lewis (Jupiter, Fla.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) once again showed that the No.

Shane Lewis and Craig Stanton Again Show Strength of Southard BMW, Incident Drops Duo Out of Contention

MONTEREY, Calif., May 7, 2006 -- Shane Lewis (Jupiter, Fla.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) once again showed that the No. 3 TrueChoice/ PAP-Parts BMW-Riley is a car to contend with in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The duo teamed for the second time in the Southard Motorsports entry in today's U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to finish 12th. The finish was, again, not representative of how the Powell, Ohio-based team has raced. At one point the Steve and Martha Southard-owned entry ran as high as third with Stanton behind the wheel and Lewis was able to go from as low as 20th to as high as ninth, and gaining, during his 52 laps in the car. Stanton started the event and drove for 36 laps.

Suffering from a tired engine all weekend, and with no powerplant available to make a change, they started 17th in the 27 car Daytona Prototype field following Saturday's 30-minute qualifying race. However, Stanton, the 2004 Grand-Am Cup and 2005 Rolex Series GT Champion, had a spectacular run in only his second Daytona Prototype start. He moved-up to third by lap 30 and held it for several laps through strong driving and pit strategy. Lewis took over driving chores on lap 36 in fifth-place but pit stops cycled him down to 20th. The multi-time winner of Grand American-sanctioned events fought his way back to ninth by lap 64 of the race despite seven caution flags slowing his progress. On lap 68, as he was closing on a string of cars, the sixth caution came out. On the re-start, a competitor pushed Lewis wide entering the final turn hairpin as the leaders took the green flag. The contact tore off the nose of Lewis' red, white and blue BMW-powered Riley chassis and slowed his in-lap for a replacement. He would fall from ninth to 16th to make repairs. Not giving-up, Lewis went on the attack taking the final green flag on lap 77 of the 88 lap event in 16th. In the ensuing 11 laps, Lewis would make up four more positions to finish 12th overall and in class.

"It was wild out there today," said Lewis. "I'm just glad we made it to the finish. The setup was pretty good but we just had too many miles on this motor to really run the lap times that the car was capable of. I honestly didn't know if the engine was going to make it through the first practice and we got it all the way through the race. We'll have a brand new Dinan BMW in it for Phoenix. Craig did a great job this weekend. We're looking forward to getting to Phoenix. That one is going to be really wild."

"It was a good race," commented Stanton. "Not the result we wanted but we knew with the motor it was going to be a long race. I'm definitely learning every time I'm in the car. We got to run towards the front and that was the place to be with all the carnage out there. With the new motor the Southard team will be ready for Phoenix. It is really awesome to be in this car. We're all really starting to click."

Lewis and Stanton will again team behind the wheel of the No. 3 Southard car next Saturday evening at Phoenix International Raceway. A re-broadcast of today's U.S. Sports Car Invitational can be seen on SPEED at Noon (EDT) on Monday, May 8.

For more on Shane Lewis please see www.ShaneLewis.com.

Information on Craig Stanton is at www.CraigStanton.com.

Southard Motorsports can be found at www.SouthardMotorsports.com.

-slr/csm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Craig Stanton