Cleveland: Michael Lewis race report

Michael Lewis Talks about Cleveland Trans-Am Series Race "We didn't just didn't unload well." Michael Lewis said. Saying that the AmeriSuites Jaguar needed several set-up changes to adjust the car to the Cleveland airport track. "The track was...

Michael Lewis Talks about Cleveland Trans-Am Series Race

"We didn't just didn't unload well." Michael Lewis said. Saying that the AmeriSuites Jaguar needed several set-up changes to adjust the car to the Cleveland airport track. "The track was really dirty and slick, but of course it was that way for everyone. I felt that we did get it (the car) really pretty good for qualifying and we had a good solid sixth qualifying position that could have easily been better if I had gotten a couple of cleaner laps."

"The car was very comfortable and competitive in qualifying but we made some changes for the practice session the morning of the race," Michael explained. "The car was a little faster but wasn't as stable or comfortable, so we went back to a setup closer to what we used for qualifying for the race."

"The race was kind of a strange one," Lewis said. "I started out great and moved from 6th to 4th in the first turn. I really like that turn. There are so many options and lines and places to pass. But the car developed a push (under steer for those of you who are true road racers) and it wasn't long before I slid back to 6th again."

"When the first yellow came out," Lewis continued, "the leaders pitted for fuel, but we decided to stay out to try to get a point for leading the race. That didn't work since Tony Ave stayed out as well. We finally made our stop later during the second yellow but we dropped back to 12th or so and just couldn't get the positions back that late in the race."

"Actually we weren't all that bad at Cleveland," Lewis said. "I really cannot put my finger on what our problems were, but we were pretty much a 5th or 6th place car this at Cleveland. The thing is that there are so many really good teams in the Trans-Am Series right now that there is some pretty good cars and drivers are running in the 7th through 10th positions."

While Michael Lewis feels that his 9th place finish at Cleveland didn't drastically hurt his position in the seasons points chase for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup he felt that he and the AutoCon Racing team won't be thinking about winning any kind of championship this season. Michael is presently tied for sixth in points (with Randy Ruhlman and Stu Hayner each having 90 points) and is two points out of 5th spot presently held by Tony Ave. Justin Bell is lurking one scant point behind this group in 9th position.

"Unless Boris (Said) has some really bad luck in the next few races it will be very difficult for anyone to catch him in the championship," Lewis said. "We have to take it from race to race, since Boris has about a one win points lead right now. "

"Looking ahead to Washington DC, I guess we should be happy to be going back to a street circuit," Michael said philosophically. "I always thought that natural terrain road courses were our strength, but it hasn't seemed to work out that way this year. We had a strong run at Long Beach (also a street track) so hopefully we can have some of that success in the Nation's Capitol!"

Most of the team has already headed on towards Washington while Michael is driving through Pennsylvania on his way to a business meeting on Tuesday. He plans to take in some of the many sights and so some tourist activities to take advantage of this trip to Washington DC.

Cleveland quotes and Notes from AutoCon Team Manager David Steele

David Steele said that choosing a late race pit strategy probably was a mistake, as the AmeriSuites/Benihana/Sprint Jaguar finished 9th in the Trans-Am series race at Cleveland.

"We probably had a 5th or 6th place car today," Steele admitted. "But we didn't pit with the leaders when they came in early. We wound up pitting late, during a caution period, and there were only 6 or 7 laps of green flag laps left."

David said that he couldn't see much of the race from the pits. With the Cleveland track being an airport track laid out on the Burke Lakefront Airfield. But, on most courses the pit area is probably the worst spot to watch a race anyway.

"We had too much push in the car," David said. "The setup wasn't quite as good as what we had for qualifying. The race was fairly uneventful for us and there wasn't a lot of passing out there."

-mlr-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Tony Ave , Justin Bell , Randy Ruhlman , Michael Lewis , Stu Hayner