Michael Lewis takes Nazareth win

NAZARETH, Pa. -- Michael Lewis won the third round of the USAC Midget Car Series this morning on a cold and blustery spring day at Nazareth Speedway. Lewis, who started second, dropped to fourth at the start of the race but passed J.J. Yeley for...

NAZARETH, Pa. -- Michael Lewis won the third round of the USAC Midget Car Series this morning on a cold and blustery spring day at Nazareth Speedway. Lewis, who started second, dropped to fourth at the start of the race but passed J.J. Yeley for third on lap 11.

"I was a little slow on the start and the restart, but once we got going and the tires came in we were pretty good," Lewis explained.

As soon as he had put Yeley behind him, he set his sights on the leader, Dave Darland. After making several runs on Darland going into turn three, Lewis finally wrestled the lead from Darland as the two exited turn three on lap 14.

"Turn three is about the only place to pass here," Darland said. "The guy you're passing has to know you there before you get too deep into the corner. I got loose in turn two and down in turns three and four too, so my car was a little weak in those two spots, but Michael got a nose under me."

After Lewis worked his way past Darland, he pulled away from the rest of the 26-car field and lead the final 10 laps en route to winning the third Midget Car Series race of his career.

"The lapped traffic was pretty easy to deal with, they gave us the groove and they pointed where they wanted for us to go, so it really wasn't too much of a problem," Lewis stated.

As Lewis worked his way through lapped traffic, Darland capitalized on his experience here at Nazareth to hold off Dave Steele for second.

"We ran both Silver Crown races here before and those laps around the track really helped us -- even though there's quite a bit of difference between the Silver Crown cars and the midgets. The laps helped us learn the track a little bit. Plus, we came here and tested two about a week and a half ago. But running the Silver Crown car definitely helped me learn the track."

The cold weather didn't faze Darland, either. "We race under these conditions a lot in Indiana, where it's cool early in the season and late in the season, so we're kind of used to it. My crew chief just told me go out and the tires as warm as I could before we got lined up to go green. The cars were pretty warmed up when it was time to go."

Apparently, some of the other drivers in the race didn't take the same precautions. The race was halted for more than 20 minutes after Aaron Pollock, James Chesson, and Steve Paden crashed in turn three on the race's second lap. Pollock was treated and released from the infield car center, while Chesson and Paden were taken for precautionary CAT scans.

Aaron Fike and John Nervo rounded out the top-five.

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Series USAC
Drivers Michael Lewis , John Nervo , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , James Chesson , Dave Steele , Aaron Fike , Steve Paden