BES: Charles Lewandoski All-Star Showdown preview

Charles Lewandoski Ready To Wrap Up 2006 "California Style" Northeast Youngster Hopes To Fit In With The West Coast Surfers CONCORD, NC (October 12, 2006) -- The Northeast: it's cold in the winters, people are friendly but demanding, it's ...

Charles Lewandoski Ready To Wrap Up 2006 "California Style"
Northeast Youngster Hopes To Fit In With The West Coast Surfers

CONCORD, NC (October 12, 2006) -- The Northeast: it's cold in the winters, people are friendly but demanding, it's famous for tourists seeing leaves changing colors and its home to some of the greatest sports teams and some great racecars drivers. California: it's a laid back lifestyle, warm in the winters, famous for movie stars and rock singers, tourists wanting to surf and fine wines.

It's quite the contrast in cultures, but 21-year-old Connecticut-native Charles Lewandoski isn't worried about that because racing is racing. It's all the same no matter what part of the country you are in.

Lewandoski will make his first trip to the "left" coast on November 20-21 for the fourth running of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. The Showdown pits the best-of-the-best from the four Elite Divisions and the two Grand National Divisions in an all-out "winner take all" race that is shown live nationwide on SPEED Channel.

"I've never been to California. I'll probably fit in if I grow my hair out longer and carry a surf board on my Woody," joked Lewandoski. "Besides that, I'm sure I'll fit in. It's totally different out there. It's just like being down south is different than being home on Connecticut. Every region is a little different, but I'm not going out there to shop on Rodeo Drive. I'm going to race and win."

"ChaLew" qualified for the event by finishing 10th in the final NASCAR Busch East Series point standings. The top 15 points guys from the Busch East Division will compete against the top 15 points guys from the West Division at Irwindale. ChaLew finished with one to-five finish and five top-10s in 11 races in the 2006 season. He best was a third-place finish at Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, CT early in the year.

"I think we're going to have a good car for Irwindale. The track is totally different that what we run, yet its totally the same as a lot of tracks too. So a lot of the stuff and the setups we'll have on the car should be good for out there. One of the good things about the NASCAR Busch East Series is that a lot of the tracks are relatively the same. Most are flat tracks or in the middle. Things you learn throughout the course of the year, you'll be able to use in Irwindale. I've got some West Coast friends that will help me out.

"It's a big, expensive trip. With it being on SPEED Channel and XM radio, it's a big deal. The thing that really strikes me and makes me really excited to go is how everyone watches the Showdown. It's a big deal. Everyone in the motorsports community has a connection to someone in the field, whether it's a chassis builder, body hanger, friend that is racing, friend that is crewing or whatever. There is always a connection there, so their TV is on the race."

In the last three years, the Busch East Series teams have competed successfully against the West Series teams which actually run at Irwindale during their regular season. However, all three previous years of the Showdown, the Busch East Series has actually beaten the West Series in the head-to-head team competition.

"Yeah, those (West Series) guys have a little bit of an advantage," added Lewandoski. "It's the same thing when a touring series goes to a track where there are weekly competitors running with the touring series guys. They are going to have somewhat of an advantage. You just need to stay on top of things. If you can stay on top of things, you are going to be better no matter how much you run at a racetrack. I know what I'm going with out there and it's not much different than we've run all year long. We have a little advantage being on the East Coast. We know a little more of what's going on and we hear more and know more."

The schedule for the Toyota All-Star Showdown begins Friday, Oct. 20 with an afternoon practice session for both divisions, followed by twin 50-lap qualifying races on Friday evening. The results of Friday's races will determine the starting lineups for the main events on Saturday. SPEED will televise both nights of racing while NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio will also provide play-by-play coverage.


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Drivers Charles Lewandoski