Native Shane Lewis Excited about Southern California Return LONG BEACH, Calif., April 5, 2006 -- Shane Lewis is a native Southern Californian who will be living a dream on Saturday. The multi-time winner of Grand American-sanctioned events ...
Native Shane Lewis Excited about Southern California Return
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 5, 2006 -- Shane Lewis is a native Southern Californian who will be living a dream on Saturday. The multi-time winner of Grand American-sanctioned events grew-up in Lancaster, a small desert community not far from Long Beach, but despite racing from Daytona to Le Mans, it was not until this weekend that he has had the chance to race in the premier division at the 1.968-mile street course. While the Grand Prix of Long Beach is the oldest, consecutively running street race in the country, this weekend's Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach is the first time it has played host to a top-level sports car series, the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes. For Lewis, sharing the car for the first time with Bill Auberlen (Redondo Beach, Calif.), the opportunity to drive the No. 3 TrueChoice Motorsports BMW-Riley on the streets of Long Beach is almost like driving it down Main Street in Lancaster.
"Racing at Long Beach is a dream come true for a kid from Lancaster," said Lewis. "This is the kind of stuff you dream of back in high school. I'm feeling good about this weekend. We have a strong BMW motor in the car and a new co-driver with Bill. I've never raced at Long Beach as it is and Bill has raced here three times before. So, he'll have some local knowledge of the track."
The narrow street circuit has changed dramatically over the years as development in Long Beach has grown. However, what has remained constant are the tight turns punctuated by concrete walls on both sides and the long front-straightaway that doglegs right at its middle. The tight confines and limited passing zones put a premium on qualifying well. Learning the track quickly will be of paramount importance for Lewis, now living in Jupiter, Fla.
"This place will be all about qualifying," offered Lewis on the strategy of the event. "If you can start close-enough to the front and keep your nose clean, then you can walk out of here with a good finish. If you start in the back, you can still get a good finish but it means you either stay out of trouble or you go aggressive and put yourself in harms way every corner. We don't have a huge budget and we're looking for a good result so being fast and smooth is the better bet for us. Bill knows his stuff so, together, I feel we can get the job done."
"The Southard Motorsports guys have really been working on the car and we made some pretty good progress at Homestead," continued Lewis. "We didn't get the finish we wanted but we had a car that would run with the leaders and we showed that. We hadn't had that all year. So, everything is starting to come together and we should have a really strong weekend here at Long Beach so Bill and I can show off in front of our hometown crowds."
The Grand Prix of Long Beach will take the green flag at 4 PM (PT) on Saturday, April 8. The race can be seen on a tape delay basis at 9 PM (ET), April 8th on SPEED Channel. Live timing and scoring of all sessions and the race can be found at www.GrandAmerican.com.