Charles Lewandoski Continues Has Car To Beat; Finishes Seventh Late-Race Contact Costs Lewandoski a Shot at the Win CONCORD, NC (June 26, 2006) -- The start of the 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series season has provided for the emergence of ...
Charles Lewandoski Continues Has Car To Beat; Finishes Seventh
Late-Race Contact Costs Lewandoski a Shot at the Win
CONCORD, NC (June 26, 2006) -- The start of the 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series season has provided for the emergence of 21-year-old Charles Lewandoski as one of the elite drivers in the series. The Connecticut-native who now calls the Charlotte, NC-area home scored top-10 finishes in the first two races of the season at Greenville and Stafford. That streak continued Saturday night at Holland International Speedway (NY).
But the young driver didn't just take a routine top-10. He had the kind of car that was among the favorites to win the Fucillo Auto Park HUGE 150 at Holland. Lewandoski was among the top-10 speeds in practice and he was able to back that up with a career-best starting spot of second.
"We unloaded and we didn't touch a thing," said Lewandoski. "We did the normal at-track stuff, but we didn't change a thing in practice. I could put the car pretty much anywhere I wanted to. I tried the bottom and the car was good. I went up to the top and it was still good up there. We set the car up with more of a race setup for practice and qualifying going off of what we learned at Holland last year. I knew we were just as good as anyone, so I knew we were good because we didn't have to make any changes."
"I was pretty disappointed to hear that I was starting second for the most part only because I would've really liked to win my first Busch Pole Award. I was talking with some of the other drivers after my lap and they were saying that I had a good lap. I figured we'd just have another good top-10 starting spot and we'll go from there. I didn't know that I held the pole for a long time. There were only a couple of threats left, so I thought maybe I'd get the pole from what the other guys were saying. One of the guys down there had a stopwatch and said that we still might have had it. After time trials they lined us up as if I was on the pole but then I saw on the board that I was going to start second. My lap was real comfortable, I didn't drive it too crazy to pick up speed so I might have left something out there and maybe I could've gotten the pole. Still, I was happy with starting second because my car was going to be good in the race."
Lewandoski started from the outside of the front row and settled in among the top five in the early stages of the race. Setting lap times that were among the fastest in the field, Lewandoski worked his way back to a battle for third late in the race. However, another competitor made contact that sent Lewandoski's #01 towards the outside retaining wall, ruining his chances for what could've been a career-best finish.
"There were about 15 laps to go and I started fourth on the outside. That was perfect for me. The only other place I would've liked to have been was second on the outside. I knew I was faster than all the guys ahead of me all night, so I thought we'd have a good shot. Before that caution, I ran with the guy side-by-side for a bunch of laps but never touched him. Then on the restart going into turn one he pretty much drove straight and didn't turn. I was headed straight for the fence, but I was able to stop the car just before I hit it. I fell back to 10th and had to keep digging from there. The last restart with about six to go I just picked off as many spots as I could to get back to seventh."
With his third-straight top-10 finish to start off the 2006 BES season, Lewandoski sits fifth in the series' points standings as he heads to Thompson International Speedway (CT) for a special Thursday night 100-lap event on June 29th. Before this season's string of top-10 finishes, Lewandoski scored his previous career-best finish at Thompson last season with an 11th place run, so add that to this season's success and Lewandoski has plenty of confidence going into Thompson.
"We ran well at Thompson in the World Series last year. I'll be very surprised if we can't pick up where we left off at Holland. We had a top-five car there all night and I'd like to do the same thing at Thompson. I'd like to qualify well and I think we're going to be a contender up there. We'll be a car to beat. It's a 100 lap race, so if we can qualify up front then we'll have a good shot in the race."