Andrew Lewis finished the 2013 Midwest Drift Union season in third place, securing a Formula D license to compete in the series next year. Much as we did with Geoff Stoneback and Mike Skudlarek, we’re taking a look back on the road that got Lewis to this point. More after the jump!
Lewis started off with a fourth place finish at round one.
“I tried to qualify pretty high,” Lewis said. “That was my goal. On my first qualifying run, I messed up and went down too low and just lost a bunch of speed, and the second one I did, I was thinking I’ve at least got to put together something, so I wasn’t expecting to be up there real high.”
Lewis also said he preferred the road course from last year instead, and that the tight turn coming off the oval embankment had to be precisely timed.
“I put it in the grass a couple times coming off the embankment, but it was so tight right there, you had like what we were saying was a 3-5 mph play; if you were 2 mph faster than you should be, you’d shoot right past it, and if you were a little slow, you were dropping it and throwing your wheels at the corner of the dirt…it would pull your car and hop it so bad,” Lewis said. “It actually messed with my alignment and I had to fix it like twice. It made my camber adjustment slide all the way to the inside. And I curb rashed one of my front wheels on it.”
Round two was much closer to home for Lewis, with Gateway Motorsports Complex being less than an hour away from where he lives.
Being so close to Gateway and having considerably more experience there than many of the other drivers, he was considered by some to have the advantage going in to the competition.
Lewis qualified into top 16 where he met and defeated Cody Grim in the first round.
This put him up against Geoff Stoneback in top eight, where he was taken out. Despite the loss, Lewis finished the event in sixth and stood third in the points going into Detroit.
But it was in Motor City where problems arose for Lewis. Despite the mechanical setbacks, he managed a very high qualifying position.
“I went in to practice and the car broke,” Lewis said. “My power steering blew apart and I had to fix it before qualifications, and I ended up doing that with no power steering. I hadn’t even driven a car without power steering before, but I ended up qualifying third.”
Having overcome the issues, Lewis defeated Alex Ledbetter in the first round of top 16.
He found himself against Michael Tung in top eight. Tung’s Corolla was definitely at a power disadvantage, but that didn’t mean it was any less entertaining to watch.
“That was an awesome battle,” Lewis said. “We got back to the pits and just high-fived.”
But the problems came back for his round against Stoneback.
“I broke an axle on the lead run,” he said. “That’s when I got the five minute rule. We had it almost fixed. A buddy of mined timed us and we did it in twelve minutes, but Stoneback didn’t want to give me extra time I guess so he could get a by-run.”
That setback placed Lewis against Josh Collins for the battle of third and fourth, and he finished the latter, still sitting securely third in points.
“They didn’t even give me five minutes for that, so I ended up getting fourth place because my car wasn’t fixed quick enough,” Lewis said. “I ended up going out there and did third gear circles until I couldn’t see anything. I’ll get ‘em next time I guess. My car was perfect for the course gearing wise. I mean, I could just jump into third gear and stand in the throttle through the sweeper. I didn’t hit the rev limiter or anything, it was just great.”
Come Street Life Tour, Lewis once again finished sixth.
“The embankment is still something I’ve got to work on,” Lewis said. “It’s hard, but towards the end of the day I was getting it. At the end of the day, I decided to look cool and ride the wall and hit it twice and almost put me out for the day and ruined my car pretty much.”
Though he said there were no major breakages, Lewis had indicated he might be developing some issues.
“I think I’m starting to have transmission problems, and that kind of put me in the hole with Skudlarek,” Lewis said of his top 16 match. “When I followed him, he out drove me. Hands down, he destroyed me, which was awesome. When I led, I missed a gear, but it’s cool. I think the transmission is starting to lock up.”
Even though he earned his license, Lewis gave no indication that he’d be utilizing it at the pro level for 2014.
“Plans for next year are a bigger motor, better tranny and unbreakable parts,” he said. “Turbo V8 is the plan. I’ll probably run MDU. If I do a different chassis, to where I can go back and forth maybe, I may try to run DMCC and a couple MDUs or something.”
Lewis said he was satisfied with how the season played out.
“This season’s been awesome,” he said. “Everybody’s stepped up their game. Guys that I didn’t think had it, had it. Everybody from St. Louis got into it, because last year it was just me and Tyson (Schmidt).
We still have one more season recap to present, so stay tuned for Brian Peter’s in the near future!