Michael Lewis Looks To Gobble The Fields On Turkey Night At Irwindale IRWINDALE, Cal (Wednesday, November 23, 2005) - - USAC ace Michael Lewis is familiar with victory lane at the famed Irwindale Speedway and as the United States Auto Club tour...
Michael Lewis Looks To Gobble The Fields On Turkey Night At Irwindale
IRWINDALE, Cal (Wednesday, November 23, 2005) - - USAC ace Michael Lewis is familiar with victory lane at the famed Irwindale Speedway and as the United States Auto Club tour heads to the track this week, Lewis is one of the pre-race favorites for one of the most prestigious events on the 2005 schedule, the 65th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix.
Michael aims to add more first-place finishes to his resume in this event, as the Noblesville, Indiana native has three prior victories on this Thanksgiving night tradition, one in the midget event, while gobbling up two wins in the sprint car race. This year, Lewis will have two chances to score triumph as he'll compete in the midget series, the main feature and the sprint car event, the prelude to the main attraction, which Michael thunders in as the defending champion.
"I'm really looking forward to Thursday night," said a calm Michael Lewis Tuesday evening. "I've won these events before, I'm looking to go back and do the same. This is a big weekend, not only for me, but my team and family as well."
There's another reason why a victory would mean more to Lewis. Michael's car owner Rick Gerhardt's father, Fred won the same event fifty years ago Thursday. "Winning on the night that Rick's father won the same event would be something I don't think anyone would ever forget. It would be huge. Rick has done a lot for me and my career and it would be a special way of giving an extra thanks," explained Lewis who has been competing in this event since 1999.
Western Speed Racing, Wirtgen Group America, Hoosier Tire and Esslinger Engineering will all serve as sponsors on Lewis's No. 40 in both series. "Before we turn all of our attention toward the races, I just want to thank all of our sponsors for their support. We have our goals set high, but I know we can achieve them. We just need a little luck and the wins are ours."
Before Michael climbs into his cockpit, he'll cheer on his younger brother Billy who will compete in the Ford Focus Series event, the first event of the night. The week has already started off on a downfall for the young gun as his trailer; racecar, equipment and clothing were stolen from their hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this week.
Quickly learning of the tragedy, big brother Michael stepped up to the plate and begun hunting another vehicle for Billy to pilot. Luckily they found one and have spent a majority of the week getting it ready for racing conditions.
"It's a real shame what happened to Billy," Michael spoke dejectedly. "I mean, my family and my brother worked hard preparing his car and to have it taken right from underneath them is just disgusting. We haven't had any luck retrieving anything but we were able to get Billy another car and he'll go racing on Thursday night and do his best. I am really proud of his accomplishments already and maybe we can have a Lewis-family sweep. That would be cool."
As the 2005 year draws to a close, Michael Lewis has recorded stellar stats. In just 24 races, he captured three fast times, qualified 15 times in the top-five, hustled to six wins, an astounding eleven top-five finishes and an amazing 16 top-ten runs. Lewis also continues to lead the Earl's fast qualifying award for the USAC National Midget Series.
Following this weekend, Michael will head to Covington, Kentucky in early December where he has been invited as a guest to attend the 53rd annual ARCA RE/MAX Series banquet. "I'm really excited about heading to the banquet. It will be a chance to meet some people, and see up close what the series is all about. We're working on some opportunities that could have me racing in a few ARCA events in 2006," Lewis said.
Following the season's conclusion Lewis plans to regroup and plan ahead for the 2006 racing season. Michael Lewis would like to begin a winning and long-lasting career in the stock car industry while continuing to race in the USAC ranks.