FONTANA, Calif., Sunday, March 24, 2002 - Shane Lewis, a native Californian, returned home to earn another top-ten finish in the second Grand-Am Cup race of the season. The ...
FONTANA, Calif., Sunday, March 24, 2002 - Shane Lewis, a native Californian, returned home to earn another top-ten finish in the second Grand-Am Cup race of the season. The #43 Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette qualified seventh and Lewis charged to the lead before the final re-start of today's three-hour event. However, Lewis would finish ninth here at California Speedway as an unknown problem began sapping horsepower from the Jupiter, Florida-resident's car.
"This is just so disappointing," Lewis commented while shaking his head after sliding from the cockpit of the Vette. "We changed drivers early in the race and that allowed us to just come in and do standard stops when everyone else was switching drivers. That let me get into a good groove and we cut through the field until the engine started to fall off. We had the lead going into that last re-start but I called into the pits and warned them that we were going to start falling back. I tried everything I knew short of blocking but, without the power, there was just no way for me to hold them back."
The team had suffered from engine problems on Friday's initial practice and qualifying day. In an effort to correct the problem the crew went through the massive task of changing the big V8 engine on Saturday. However, the engine change did not correct the problem and, while running well, the blue and green Vette continued to lose power, slowly getting worse until Lewis had no power to compete.
Lewis continued about his last lap aggravation, "That last lap I had two Integras from the lower classes go by me! It was just so frustrating. Joe (Nonnamaker, co-driver) and everyone on the team did a great job. We are going to win one of these pretty soon."
Shane Lewis has been racing since 1989. He is the 1998 Professional Sports Car Rising Star award winner and has multiple race wins in the IMSA Supercar and SCCA Pro series. Lewis has American Le Mans Series (ALMS) podium finishes at Silverstone, Nurburgring and last season at Portland. This former Daytona Endurance Champion has driven in 16 24-hour races including two 24 Hours of Le Mans, six 24 Hours of Daytona and six 12 Hours of Sebring.
Shane Lewis will next run the #43 Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette April 20 at Phoenix International Raceway. He returns to the ALMS on May 19 at Sears Point Raceway in the #45 American Viperacing Dodge Viper.