Daytona Beach, Fla. – While Johnny Lewis was a multi-time amateur dirt track champion, he took a risk this year to commit to the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship full-time after three years focused on Supermoto. Building his own program and coming into a series that has a large number of established competitors, he had a lot of work ahead. In Daytona, it paid off for the Scott Powersports/DRD presented by AxiomTV rider with two top fifteen finishes and the fastest qualifying time at round two. Lewis proved under the lights in Florida this week that talent, dedication and passion can go a long way.
The Daytona Short Track, the opener of the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship for years, is known to break the best of racers with its evolving course. The oval at Daytona Municipal Stadium is pea gravel and changes with nearly every lap. The track is often a love-hate relationship among riders. It’s taken out the best of champions. The 2009 series opener and round two were held Wednesday night, March 4 and Thursday night, March 5, respectively.
Riding a Scott Powersports Kawasaki KX450F, the 19 year-old Lewis had only raced a couple AMA Pro Flat Track events last year with so-so results. At the opening round in Daytona, Lewis qualified in the top 20 which is a feat in itself with nearly 80 racers trying to get into the night program. He went into the heat race ready to do battle. After the 10-lap heat, Lewis finished fourth transferring directly to the main. In the main, he put his cornering speed to work while also racing smart. Lewis finished a very respectable 13th place after 25 laps.
“I raced the new EFI Kawasaki at an indoor dirt track and an ice race earlier this year so I had some idea of the power,” said Lewis who runs 21A in the series. “We didn’t need to do too much to the bike coming into Daytona. The DRD Titanium exhaust system we added put on another five horsepower. The first night it was important to see where I stand against the competition and what I need to work on. And of course stay upright! I know I have the skill to be in the top ten and just need more track time.”
With confidence from the night before and minor adjustments to the bike, Lewis was ready to lay it out. After posting a 20.875-second lap in qualifying the first night, he ran the fastest qualifying time at round two among all competitors with a 19.663-second lap. This speed carried over to the heat race where he placed an impressive second, transferring once again directly to the main. Since he was one of the top six heat finishers, Lewis was put into the four-lap ‘Dash for Cash’ and finished in third place. Confidence in his bike and abilities continued in the 25-lap main where he finished in 12th place this time around.
Lewis added, “This was a good night to say the least. My qualifying time and the heat race showed that I have the right equipment and speed to make it happen. So what needs work? I need to adjust more quickly to changing track conditions as they alter throughout the main.
This week I wanted to show my sponsors that their commitment was worthwhile. Last year was a rough racing season. What we learned is becoming a benefit in many areas of my program.”
Lewis sits in 11th in the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship standings. This is the first time he’s placed in the top 20 in flat track pro series points.
“This would have not been possible without the support of Mike Scott of Scott Powersports, Doug Dubach and DRD, Troy Lee Designs, Pit Posse, Loud Mouth MX, all my other sponsors, and my family. Everyone has been super supportive of my return to flat track. I am definitely glad to have made the commitment to do the flat track series this year.”
You can check out Lewis in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday, March 23 at the infamous Springfield TT, round three of the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship. In the meantime, he will be riding, training and working on a few other projects. To learn more about the series, visit www.amaproracing.com and be sure to read Lewis’ blog at www.prolebrity.com.
About Johnny Lewis
Professional athlete Johnny Lewis of Coatesville, Penn. has competed in the AMA Pro Supermoto Championship for the past three years becoming the youngest racer to win in the Unlimited Class. In 2009, he is going back to his roots in dirt track racing to compete in the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship. Currently, Lewis’ program is being made possible by AxiomTV, Scott Powersports, Dubach Racing Development, Troy Lee Designs, Alpinestars, Aria Helmets, Utopia Optics, Schaeffer’s Harley-Davidson, Silkolene, Pit Posse, Outlaw Racing Products, Pro Moto Billet/Fastway, Loud Mouth MX, The Service Pavilion, and Motion Pro. To find out more, visit www.johnnylewis.net, or see his profile and read his blog on pro athlete-celebrity web portal www.prolebrity.com.
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