Wild show in Saturday’s TCR Race with Lewis taking second by just 0.221 seconds
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Michael Lewis did all he could Saturday afternoon at Watkins Glen International in the Pirelli World Challenge 40-minute TCR race, but the driver of the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai i30 N TCR driver had to settle for second at the checkered flag.
But it was close. How about 0.221 of a second for the young California racer?
Starting third in the Round 11 lineup, Lewis applied pressure to pole sitter Ryan Eversley the entire 18 laps before having to take the runner-up finish at the historic 3.4-mile, 11-turn road circuit.
Running special decals for Hyundai Hope On Wheels and their friend ‘Reese the Beast,” Lewis’ No. 98 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR machine looked to be in position to make the important move to the lead with just a few laps remaining Saturday. Michael worked the low line and the high line and actually pulled ahead briefly of Eversley in his attempt to grab the lead. However, Eversley was able to hold off Lewis at the finish line for the victory.
Lewis did set the fastest race lap Saturday and will start from the pole in Sunday’s event scheduled for 3:25 p.m. EDT. The race will be shown live on www.world-challenge.com and the World Challenge YouTube channel.
Lewis’s BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR teammate Mark Wilkins took fourth in Saturday’s TCR feature in his No. 99 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR car.
Lewis entered the penultimate race of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge road racing series just seven points from the TCR point lead. Now, Michael goes into Sunday’s final event with a nine-point deficit to Eversley in the TCR Drivers’ championship.
In the Team points, Bryan Herta Autosport holds a 20-point advantage over RealTime Racing, 267-247, while Hyundai tops the Manufacturers’ standings, 109-93, entering Sunday’s contest.
“That was a fun race,” said Lewis. “It was a really good time to race that way against Ryan (Eversley) and have that level of trust between us, especially going into some brake zones. So congratulations to him and his team. For us, the Bryan Herta Autosport team was definitely working hard during practice to get the car set up well. Mark (Wilkins) was also chiming in to help get the setup right for the race. We had the first objective to get one point for fastest lap and we did that. The next item on the list was to try to win the race.
“That was a little bit harder and I did have the car to do it. But I just couldn’t make it happen. There was some overlap from Ryan’s lines to mine and I tried to use that to my advantage. Ryan is great in the first few turns, but then it starts to go my way the other half of the track. That’s where I would try to set up a run for three or four laps in a row. I had a few opportunities and one was really good one, where I was actually in front for a couple of seconds. But I just couldn’t hold it on the outside. It was a very fair race. Good points day, fun race, and good to get the fast lap point to start on pole for Sunday’s race.”
Sunday’s TCR race will feature a standing start.