Mid-Ohio: Michael Lewis pre-race notes

Lexington, Ohio (June 29th, 2002): "I feel pretty good about things right now," Michael said after the morning session. "We went out on old tires and went faster. We were the only car in the top three to actually go faster in this session. ...

Lexington, Ohio (June 29th, 2002):

"I feel pretty good about things right now," Michael said after the morning session. "We went out on old tires and went faster. We were the only car in the top three to actually go faster in this session. Some other guys did improve their time too, but they had more room to improve. This is the best car I have ever had here!"

The morning session had gone well. The AutoCon crew had made some minor chassis setup changes and everything seemed to be working well. Everything, that is, except for a fuel pickup problem. During the session the team had planned to check fuel pickup to see how little fuel they could run without an engine miss and do a test fuel stop. Michael reported a miss and best estimates were that there should be about 4 gallons still in the fuel cell.

The AmeriSuites Jaguar was brought in early and Joe and Tim started to go over the wall to dump in the fuel. They were stopped in their tracks by the pit marshal because the officials in the tower didn't see David Steele covering the refueling with the fire bottle (a mandatory part of any re-fueling stop in Trans-Am and every other form of auto racing for that matter). David was not visible because our pit area was under a canopy setup for the ALMS team that shared this pit space.

Joe and Tim then executed the refueling and off went Michael. But they had only put in a half of a can of fuel and it was pretty much decided that Michael didn't have enough fuel to finish the session. So off ran Tim, back to the paddock to get more fuel. Yes, ran! The 4-wheeler was off on another errand at the time so Tim had to make the half-mile round trip on foot, and carry the fuel can back.

Did I say that the session went well? The car and driver were fast, but more problems ensued on the next stop when the crew couldn't seem to get the rear body panel back on the car after making a quick tweak on the shocks. It might have been funny if it wasn't happening to you. But as Joe said, it was a good thing it wasn't during the race.

Anyway, other than those things the session was great and at least Michael faired better than Boris Said did. Boris not only had an oil leek but he lost a wheel as well, so the ACS Panoz got nothing accomplished in the session.

The car was given the usual pre-race checks and scale check while Michael attended the drivers meeting and then the autograph session. It seemed that the AutoCon guys were a bit more uptight than usual. Even compared to Mosport where everything seemed to go wrong.

"No one wants to be the guy who makes a mistake that costs us a good finish," summed up Tim.

The car was then brought to tech, one of the first cars through the line, and the only delay there was getting the car on the tech scales. Something about suntan lotion and pictures. Ask Joe about it next time you see him!

At any rate this is a time when racing gets boring and tedious. The car is ready to go and yet it will be almost two hours before it will be driven on the track. Usually work goes at a rapid pace with too many things to do in too little time. But right now everyone is filled with nervous anticipation and just killing time. Thank heavens for fans, because it gives everyone something to do and someone to talk to.

While the car was waiting on the false grid I asked Joe why there would be a fuel starvation issue using fuel injection while they could run the car virtually dry using a carburetor. The difference, Joe explained was that the carburetor has the two float bowls that act as a fuel cache that keeps the fuel flow constant to the engine. The injectors do not.

The usual ceremony started about 1 PM and American Spirit Racing's own Jon Lewis spoke over the PA system. Good job Jon, you got all the corporate names mentioned! The young lady who sang the national anthem did great job. I never heard her name but she had a beautiful voice.

Finally the race is about to start! See the race report for information about the race.

-mlr-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Michael Lewis