Keeping Pace

LEWIS HEADS TO YAKIMA WITH A QUIET CONFINDENCE

Gary Lewis leads the iRacing.com ASA Northwest Late Model Tour points standings as he chase touring championship number four. A bigger prize is sweeping the Montana and Idaho 200's for a third straight season. (Photo courtesy of M.E. Wright) (The Spokesman-Review)
Gary Lewis leads the iRacing.com ASA Northwest Late Model Tour points standings as he chase touring championship number four. A bigger prize is sweeping the Montana and Idaho 200's for a third straight season. (Photo courtesy of M.E. Wright) (The Spokesman-Review)

This season with strong runs on the ASA Northwest Late Model Tour matched by Brent Harris at every turn, Lewis sits two points ahead of the East Wenatchee, Wash. driver with 150-laps of racing left in the touring season.

Courtesy: Gary Lewis Racing LLC

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (September 17, 2009)–Gary Lewis has been in this position before–heading into the final points race of a touring season with a slim margin between him and competitors for a coveted championship.

In 2000 Garrett Evans, Ken Kaltschmidt and Lewis were separated by a handful of points with the final race of that season at Yakima Speedway. Lewis went out and led the most laps of the night only to have a failing tire drop him to second as Evans went by with a few laps remaining and a title in hand.

This season with strong runs on the ASA Northwest Late Model Tour matched by Brent Harris at every turn, Lewis sits two points ahead of the East Wenatchee, Wash. driver with 150-laps of racing left in the touring season.

Lewis is unfazed by the points race or the whispers that this might not be the year for a fourth touring championship, he said.

“Sure (the championship chase) adds some pressure going into the weekend–I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. Things have been pretty laid back in the shop this week so I don’t think anybody is stressing out over this whole deal as we get ready for Yakima.

“We will just keep doing what we do and it will all work itself out Saturday night.”

Drawing from past championship battles with Evans, Jeff Jefferson and Kevin Hamlin will be helpful heading towards a potential fourth championship, Lewis added. Should the championship trophy end up in Lewis’ Snohomish shop Sunday morning the team will be happy with the overall outcome, but sees it as just another step in an outstanding season and career, he added.

“They (the previous three championships) all mean a lot to this team and there have been many great drivers we’ve had to out run each year. Having a tight battle like this is what racing is all about so we are looking forward to the challenge”

To get another championship the Sign Factory USA team will need to rebound from a sixth place finish last weekend in Wenatchee that allowed their competitors to close the points gap to such a slim margin, according to Lewis.

“We cut some corners in Wenatchee last week by trying to set the car up on really old and missed matched tires. It was not a good idea at all as the results showed. This sport is very expensive and when things are tight you do the best you can with what you’ve got. Our Shocked By Mike Leary Racing Products Chevrolet will be ready to go in Yakima I am sure of that.”
With wins in the Montana and Idaho 200, an ARCA West Can-Am victory and ASA wins in Spokane, Roseburg and Pacific Raceway the ARP Bodies crew sees plenty of optimism for this weekend’s run at Yakima, Lewis noted.

“We just have to keep doing what we do. Sure we have had a couple of bad races this year but we’ve had many very good races to draw upon. I guess the experiences from the past championship battles and this season just helps out so we don’t get wrapped up in the moment and lose our focus.”

The Better-Haul 150 is the final race of the 2009 ASA Northwest Late Model Tour season with the green flag scheduled to fly at 9 p.m. on Saturday night at Yakima Speedway. Race information can be found at www.yakimaspeedway.us

For more information on Gary Lewis Racing check out the teams website at www.garylewisracing.com or Gary Lewis Racing LLC on Facebook.




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.






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