"Dark Clouds" dampen finish for Ashton Lewis, Jr. in Sam'S Town 250. MILLINGTON, TN (October 20, 2002) - Ashton Lewis, Jr. finished the Sam's Town 250 at the Memphis Motorsports Park .75 mile tri-oval in 32nd place, after having a dark cloud...
"Dark Clouds" dampen finish for Ashton Lewis, Jr. in Sam'S Town 250.
MILLINGTON, TN (October 20, 2002) - Ashton Lewis, Jr. finished the Sam's Town 250 at the Memphis Motorsports Park .75 mile tri-oval in 32nd place, after having a dark cloud hang over his car all day. The event was run a day later than scheduled, due to rain throughout the day on Saturday. Sunday morning the sky was overcast, but the dreaded rain held off just long enough to run the race. Lewis' luck however, was short lived.
The Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet took the green flag in the 15th position. On lap 13, the No. 48 of Kenny Wallace spun Lewis, bringing out the first caution flag of the day. The CAP Chevrolet sustained a minimal amount of damage to the left front fender, and pitted under caution. Lewis lost a lot of track position, but he did not lose a lap. Fifteen laps later, the No. 94 of Larry Gunselman made contact with the right side of Lewis' car, causing the right front tire to go flat. The team was forced to pit under the green flag to change tires, and went down two laps.
The second caution flag came out on lap 45, when Clay Dale (No. 09) and Joe Buford (No. 49) spun in turn four. At this point, Lewis made his third pit stop of the day, and the crew made an air pressure adjustment in his rear tires. On lap 57, Lewis radioed his crew to tell them that the car was the best it had been since they had unloaded it three days earlier.
On lap 71 the crew had a brief scare when Lewis told them his brakes were overheating. Luckily the caution came out a few laps later, which probably cooled the brakes down, because he did not have any further problems with them. Lewis was able to continue with a solid run for the next 85 laps, when his luck ran out again. The seventh caution flag of the day came out on lap 156, and Lewis pitted for four tires and fuel. On lap 175 he told the crew that there was something wrong with the tires, the car had a vibration that was getting worse. Four laps later he had to pit under green to replace the tires. Lewis lost another two laps, putting him four laps behind the leaders, but did not lose any track position. He entered the pits in 31st place, and exited in 31st place.
Lewis had worked his way to the 28th position, when on lap 230 the No. 75 of Larry Gunselman spun in turn four directly in front of him. As Gunselman slid up the track, Lewis dove down low to avoid him. At the last minute, Gunselman's car turned directly in front of Lewis, who then had nowhere to go. Both cars were out for the remaining 20 laps of the event.
"This was just a really crazy race,"Lewis said. "All day long people were driving like it was the last lap. There were a lot of really bad choices made on the track today, and unfortunately the poor decisions others made ended up costing us a lot. I felt like there was a black cloud over me, or a target on the car."
"Right now I am just going to put this race behind me, and focus on next week's event."
The next race on the circuit is the Aaron's 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 26th. Qualifying for the event will take place on Friday, October 25th at 1:45 pm ET. The Aaron's 312 will be aired live Saturday on TNT and PRN starting at 12:30 pm ET.