Ashton Lewis, Jr. suffers tire trouble at Bristol Motor Speedway BRISTOL, TN (March 22, 2003) -- The No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet, driven by Ashton Lewis, Jr., was hit by more bad luck at the .533 mile Bristol Motor Speedway. Lewis had...
Ashton Lewis, Jr. suffers tire trouble at Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, TN (March 22, 2003) -- The No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet, driven by Ashton Lewis, Jr., was hit by more bad luck at the .533 mile Bristol Motor Speedway. Lewis had hoped that with the bad weather finally gone from the series (this is the first event this year not altered by rain), that his luck would change too, but this was not to be the case.
Lewis qualified his car in the 14th position with a lap speed of 15.431 seconds. David Green ran a blistering lap of 15.169, which put him comfortably on the pole. During both practice and 'Happy Hour', Lewis was happy with the way his car handled. He told his crew it was the best car they had ever had at the highest banked track on the circuit.
As is typical at Bristol, the race was riddled with cautions. There were five caution periods in the first 65 laps of the race. It was during the fifth caution period that the CAP race team made their first pit stop on lap 62. They put on four tires, fueled the car and made a minor air pressure adjustment. There was also some minor damage to the car so the crew pulled out the left front fender and valance.
Lewis was steadily and cautiously working his way through the field and was running in fifth place on lap 92. On lap 104 Lewis radioed his crew that he thought his right rear tire had gone down. His spotter, Tab Boyd, confirmed the tire was flat and Lewis pitted on lap 106 under green flag conditions to take on right side tires and top off the fuel. The right rear tire did indeed have a large hole in it. This pit stop put Lewis two laps down, and only two laps later a caution flag came out, which is just what the No. 46 crew had been praying would not happen.
Lewis was not able to regain the two lost laps, and he finished the race in the 18th position. This finish moved Lewis up two position in drivers points to 22nd.
The race lasted for one hour and 57 minutes, had 13 cautions for 78 laps, and ran at an average speed of 68.304. There was one red flag at the end of the race on lap 242. The red flag was put out so the race could be finished under green flag conditions instead of under caution.
"I just don't know what we have to do to get this monkey off our back," said Lewis. "The team keeps on giving me great cars, and I'm able to get them towards the front when something out of our control ruins the top ten finishes we know we have earned. Hopefully Texas will bless us with some good luck for a change."
The next race is the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be aired live on Fox and broadcast live on PRN beginning at 1:30 ET on Saturday, March 29, 2003. Qualifying for the event will take place Thursday, March 27 at 4:30 pm ET and will be aired live on Speedchannel.