BES: Loudon: Charles Lewandoski preview

Charles Lewandoski Looks To Put Erie Behind Him At New Hampshire 21-Year-Old Looking To Learn This Time Around, Win Next Time At Loudon CONCORD, NC (July 10, 2006) -- Most competitors in the NASCAR Busch East Series will tell people...

Charles Lewandoski Looks To Put Erie Behind Him At New Hampshire
21-Year-Old Looking To Learn This Time Around, Win Next Time At Loudon

CONCORD, NC (July 10, 2006) -- Most competitors in the NASCAR Busch East Series will tell people the same thing; the races at New Hampshire International Speedway are the biggest of the year. They are, in some ways, the "Daytona 500s" of the NASCAR Busch East Series season. Everyone wants to go there and win. Everyone except 21-year-old Charles Lewandowski. At least not quite yet.

"I think we have a car that is capable of going up there and winning," said Lewandoski. "And of course, I'd like to win, but I'm not thinking that way this time around. I want to go up there and use this race as a full-out learning experience before we go up there later in the year and then try and win the race. I just want to go up there, learn from the guys that have been there for years and years, run hard with them and just keep learning."

It's not as if Lewandoski would back off the throttle if he was leading with just five laps to go at Loudon, but Lewandoski is trying to focus on the race the same way that he's focused on the entire season thus far up to this point. It's a season that has been a total turnaround for Lewandoski's racing career. Going into the 2006 campaign, Lewandoski's best-career finish was 11th, coming late in 2005. Heading into the last race at Lake Erie, "ChaLew" had finished no worse than ninth and collected four-straight top-10 finishes, including a career-best of third at Thompson.

Now, Loudon will serve as his biggest challenge to date.

"I'm anxious to get there and get everything gong and get on the track. I'm putting a lot of effort at getting everything 100-percent and going up there, running laps and staying out of trouble. I just want to be in the top-10, have a productive race and keep the car clean. Those guys are always tough up there. Then, in September, it will be more of a bigger deal for me. With Dover being the next week after that race, those are two you want to do well in and win at.

"Our two biggest goals thus far were to get through Lake Erie with the car in one-piece and get out of Loudon with a top-10 finish. We got the car back on one piece, so that is half the battle. If we can get through Loudon with a top-10 or even a top-15, then we can continue on and feel really good about things. I just want to get more laps at Loudon this time around. I want to get laps, learn some stuff and be better and more ready to go after the win in September."

Lewandoski might have gotten through Erie in one piece, but he didn't get the finish he wanted. Charles finished 20th after getting penalized by NASCAR following a mid-race accident.

"We qualified decent again. We were a top-10 car during the race for sure. It was better than what I expected it to be. We were just riding in the top-10. Just past halfway, the 45 car (Brian Hoar) and me were running really hard. He'd given me the outside, which was cool, so I jumped up there and tried to make that work. I was actually better up there than on the bottom. He finally cleared me going into turn one. I jumped toward the bottom to get around him and got on the gas and he didn't go, we hit and he went around. NASCAR decided to hold me one lap for that. Did I deserve a penalty? Yeah, because I was behind the wheel and it is my responsibility to not get into him. I don't think it required a huge penalty. It was just a plain and simple deal where I probably should have been put to the end of the longest line.

"We were sent to the back and I was just racing with a bunch of slower cars trying to get the lucky dog. I was passing people on the outside, then a couple of lapped cars decided to go three-wide and I got spun around. I couldn't get the car fired back up and we ended up 20th. It was a bad night all around.

"We are still in the top-10 in points, just a few more points behind now. I just want to keep finishing in the top 10 and let the points take care of themselves. We should have finished in the top-10 at Erie if we weren't penalized."

Lewandoski currently sits sixth in the point standings.

The New England 125 for the NASCAR Busch East Series is scheduled for 5:10pm on Friday, July 14th at New Hampshire International Speedway.

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Drivers Charles Lewandoski