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Taking a Spin for NASCAR

By Doug Stokes, Special to the Independent

Laguna Beach’s Michael Lewis has begun a year of racing and testing that will see him crisscrossing the Atlantic and strapping into two different breeds of racing cars through the end of November.

He’ll also be competing at two tracks stateside: Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and the Las Vegas Bullring. Instead of a nimble 1000-pound, 225-horsepower, single-seat Formula 3 car, he’ll be wrestling a 3,200-pound, 400-horsepower NASCAR Auto Club late model around the Speedway’s half-mile oval and the ultra tight confines of the Vegas Bullring.

Lewis, 20, will be driving car owner Tim Huddleston for five events at Irwindale, beginning June 11, followed by races at Toyota Speedway on June 18 and 25.

“Tim has a great program and I’m looking forward to being able to work with his crew and veteran car builder Jeff Schrader,” Lewis said. “I want to learn what it takes to run up front in every type of racing car that I can.”

“This young man has all the tools,” Huddleston said of Lewis, who tested with him at the Speedway. “Michael is tomorrow’s star. He’s smooth, calculating, and aggressive, he’s the full package.”

A 2009 LBHS graduate, Lewis began racing at 11 in quarter-midgets, scaled-down open-wheelers that circled tiny, banked 1/20-mile tracks. At age 12, he was caught in a scary wreck attempting to lap a slower racer. He was taken to the hospital with some nasty bumps and bruises, but returned to the cockpit two weeks later.

“That’s when we first started to really understand Michael’s inner desire and commitment to racing,” said his, Steve Lewis, who publishes a racing industry magazine.

 

Last year, Lewis traveled internationally to compete in his second season in both the Formula BMW and Formula BMW Pacific Series where he again had excellent results. This year Lewis is focused on a Formula 3 Italia Series title while studying marketing at Cal State University, Fullerton.

Doug Stokes handles public relations for Irwindale’s Toyota Speedway.

 

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