Ashton Lewis finishes eighth at Phoenix International Raceway. PHOENIX, AZ (November 9, 2002) -- Driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. piloted the Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet to an eighth place finish at the one mile Phoenix International Raceway in the...
Ashton Lewis finishes eighth at Phoenix International Raceway.
PHOENIX, AZ (November 9, 2002) -- Driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. piloted the Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet to an eighth place finish at the one mile Phoenix International Raceway in the NASCAR Busch Series Bashas' 200. The CAP racing team had a strong car from the beginning of the event weekend, and they were ready to prove it to everyone.
In Thursday's practice session the team was 30th on the time sheet, but they knew that figure did not accurately show what the car was capable of. Later that day, Lewis provided a glimpse of what potential the car had, when he qualified in the 12th position with a time of 27.421 (131.253 mph). Greg Biffle was on the pole with a qualifying time of 27.233. The third place qualifier, the No. 40 of Brian Vickers, was found to have an illegal spring in post qualifying inspection and forced to start of the back of the field, moving Lewis up to the 11th starting position.
In Friday's 'Happy Hour', Lewis and the CAP crew made it clear that they would be competitive when he posted the sixth fastest time of the day.
"I knew Friday that the car was really strong, and I was anxious to show everyone what this team is capable of," Lewis said. "We didn't run that well here last year, and that is the only other time we have run at this track, so I really wasn't sure what to expect."
"I think if there had been just a few more laps, I could have pulled off a top five. The team worked hard preparing this car, and I'm happy with a top ten finish. We plan on having an equally successful weekend in Homestead."
At the beginning of the race, Lewis was having trouble with the car being a little tight when he accelerated off of turns two and four. He lost a few positions, but the lowest he was at any point of the day was 14th. During the third caution flag of the day, which came out for debris from the No. 24 of Jack Sprague, Lewis made his first pit stop. When he pulled into his pit he got too close to the wall, and had a hard time getting out of the pit stall. He lost two positions, but the air pressure adjustment the crew made helped the car, and Lewis quickly gained those spots back.
The second (and final) time Lewis pitted was during the fourth caution flag. Lewis brought the car to his crews attention on lap 104, where they made one more air pressure adjustment, put on four tires, and filled it with enough fuel to make it through the rest of the race.
During the event, Lewis fought several great battles for position. Early in the race, he and the No. 48 of Kenny Wallace raced door to door, lap after lap, each trying to gain the advantage. Later on, he and the No. 6 car of Wally Dallenbach put on quite a show for the fans as they both tried to gain the upper hand.
The CAP racing team will be heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final event of the season. The GNC Live Well 300 will be aired live on NBC and MRN beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 16, 2002. Qualifying for the event will take place Thursday, November 14th at 2:45 pm ET.