SNOHOMISH, Wash. – Four-time late model touring champion Gary Lewis brings his stellar resume into the 3rd Annual Summer Showdown presented by Coors Light with one item not checked off; a victory in the prestigious race.
Offering a $20,000 payday to the race winner, Lewis aims to add to his nearly $310,000 career earnings this weekend should everything come together. For that to happen the Snohomish native will have to battle challenges that few in the pits will face-his son’s wedding and nearly 60 pre-registered drivers out to accomplish the same goal of winning the race.
Lewis will juggle practicing his Mike Leary’s Shock Shop Chevrolet, qualifying then getting through the positioning races with his son Zach’s nuptials scheduled in between all of Friday’s activities. The wedding is set for just before the Showdown’s qualifying heats get underway so Lewis will have to race back to the track, jump in his car then head out to compete for a spot in the 36-car field.
“We knew this weekend was going to be a little crazy with all the talent coming to Monroe for the race and the chance to win the big money,” Lewis said. “What we have to deal with in going between the track and where Zach is getting married then back to the track to race is something we’re ready to do. His wedding is a once in a lifetime thing. We keep telling ourselves everything will work out, but you’ll never really know until it all starts to come together on Friday.”
With the unusual circumstances Lewis plans to get the most out of his efforts in time trials, he added.
“The key for our SuperGraphics team is to qualify well. If we’re in the front-half of the field or better that’s a great spot to start for the qualifying heats. Having a good starting position in the heats will give me some more time to see what the car will do during the longer runs while looking to finish strong enough for a spot in the front of the field (for Saturday’s main event).”
Handling the sweeping corners will be the focus for the 200-lap Summer Showdown, according to the four-time champion.
“You carry so much speed through the turns at Evergreen that I tap those AP Brakes just a bit to stick in the groove. When it’s sliding up the track or wants to come around you’re scrubbing speed off which costs positions. Our team has a great suspension package from Mike (Leary) on this Lefthander chassis. It has been great at giving me speed to exit the corner with momentum and set-up for the next turn. I feel very confident in what we’re bringing to the Showdown.”
Having faced some tough days in his two previous attempts to win the Summer Showdown, Lewis is ready for a weekend full of excitement, he said.
“We’ve had some tough racing luck in this race. Last year the car was great but we fell out due to a mechanical gremlin. The year before we lost the car in an incident exiting the corner that ended our night. This year the racing luck is throwing a curveball with Zach’s wedding wrapped into everything so we’ll take that as a good luck sign and make every effort to be there at the end of the night. If we can, the win is something we’ll be gunning for that’s for sure with our AR Bodies Chevy SS.”
Keep up with the team’s progress throughout the Summer Showdown by bookmarking and following Gary Lewis Racing’s Facebook page. Near Live will also be available on RacingWest.com throughout the weekend.