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VIR Race Report, by Shane Lewis

Race Report from Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia:

Well, my race ended way too early for me today. I had been working hard with the team all week to get this car ready for the wet conditions.

We started the race single file after an extra pace lap to give all the competitors a chance to see where the largest amounts of water were. For the race start, I knew I just had to maintain my spot through the first few corners and keep it clean. You couldn’t see a thing as the green flag dropped. I couldn’t even see the flag actually through all the spray and water.

Our lead group caught the back of the TA1 field in less than a lap. Getting through the back of the TA1 field was more of a challenge than anyone expected. I got hung up badly by several of them which was letting the leaders in my class get away. But I knew there would be full course cautions and hopefully that would work it back my way.

At one point, I just couldn’t get around a TA1 car through the entire back section. Tony Ave capitalized on that one and got around me just under braking. Then the full course caution came out just like expected and what I needed.

All bunched up and back to green, all three classes of cars were intermixed in places they really didn’t belong. Cars several laps down were even trying to race us at the green. Go figure. It caused all kinds of problems out there. One of them, I wont mention who, several laps down raced me through the super tight turns 4 and 5. Side by side he ran me. Laps down and I am in the lead pack. Really? Tommy Archer coming fast behind me must have been laughing his ass off. It gave him all the time he needed to catch up and put him just inside me to take that position. Nice “polite” hip check you gave me to get by, Tommy. You learn that in ice racing? :-)

So now that I have cleared the driving mess around me, it’s time to set my sights back to Tommy and Tony. I finally get a good shot onto the back straight, and I’m hauling the mail through the rain. Hard braking at the top of the hill, catching even more TA1 cars with my rivals in class dispersed amongst them. As I come down the hill, all I can see are cars everywhere. A TA1 car is sideways in the middle of the track. Everyone is hard on the brakes and I am coming down the hill fast. By the time I get there, it’s almost too late for me. I am doing everything I can to slow my car down. I have to make a split second decision, hit the car directly in the back or take my chances to the right of me through the grass. I know if I can just slide through the grass, the track turns and is just on the other side. No walls to hit, just grass.

As my car leaves the track, parts of me pucker up tight but still totally focused and confident on making it through.

Then it happened. My front splitter dug into the grass. Like a shovel it dug in. Hard, deep, dig. So hard was the stopping force that it tore the entire bottom of the car off while launching me up into the air. The car came down hard and so did I.

My day was done. I had a good car. I was on my game. It just didn’t go my way. I will be sore for a few days and the crew will be tired from cleaning all the grass out of it and trying to find a way to put it back together. They are the best guys. Not one disappointment in my or the team’s efforts. Makes me want to work harder every time, every lap.

— Shane Lewis


Round #9 of the Trans Am Series was held on September 27, 2015, at Virginia International Raceway. In the #72 Chevrolet Camaro, Shane Lewis finished P24 while his teammate Gar Robinson placed 13th in the #74 Chevrolet Camaro for Robinson Racing.

After 9 Rounds in the 2015 Chase for the Trigon Trophy, presented by 3-Dimensional Services Group, Gar Robinson maintains his second place standing with 206 points, 30 points behind the leader in the TA2 Class. Shane Lewis is in 5th place with 176 points.

In the 2015 Rookie of the Year standings in the TA2 Class, presented by Wilwood Disc Brakes, Gar Robinson is in first place with Shane Lewis in third.


 

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