Johnny Lewis Earns Two Podiums to Start AMA Pro Flat Track Season
NEWS March 14, 2011
DAYTONA (March 14, 2011) – Scott Powersports/Triple J Racing/DR.D/Pit Posse/Monster Energy’s Johnny Lewis came into the 2011 Harley-Davidson Insurance AMA Pro Flat Track series with expectations to get on the podium and battle for the win after competing in his first full season last year. Heading into Daytona Bike Week, Lewis made improvements in his program and added new sponsors. It paid off at the opening round at the Daytona Short Track when he battled for the lead and finished on the podium with a career-best second place finish. Lewis backed that up the next night with another second place.
Lewis traveled to Daytona with his Scott Powersports’ Honda CRF450R, a bike he raced in the AMA Pro Flat Track Singles events last season. On Thursday, March 10 his comfort level with the bike and the track showed as he recorded the fastest time during the afternoon qualifying at the track that sits outside turns one and two at the famed Daytona International Speedway.
After a break in the day before the night program in front of a large crowd, Lewis threw on his AXO gear and Arai helmet to head out to the track for his heat race. Sitting on pole for the heat with the fastest time, he got the holeshot and would lead the field the entire way, finding that the quickest line around the track was the inside which not many other riders were taking. Lewis recorded the fastest heat time – courtesy of his Scott Powersports-tuned Honda with a DR.D exhaust – of all three heat races which placed him on the pole for the 25-lap main event.
Before the main event, Lewis and five other top heat race finishers lined up for the four-lap Dash for Cash. While battling for the lead, Lewis went sideways and crashed. He pulled off the track with a sore ankle. However, Lewis was not giving up and would not allow the ankle to determine the rest of his night and possibly the season.
On the pole for the first AMA Pro Flat Track main event of the year, Lewis got a great start off the line. He battled for one of the top three spots. At one point in the race, Lewis was running in third as the top three riders were within one second of each other. Lewis made a move on the defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson to get into second. He pushed his bike hard and took advantage of his creative inside line to be on the rear tire of the leader. At the checkers, it was Sammy Halbert followed by the Monster Energy athlete Lewis by only two-tenths of a second.
Lewis earned his first career podium finish in AMA Pro Flat Track at the Daytona opener. His best AMA Pro Flat Track finish previously was a fourth. He had been on the podium and won a race during his time as an AMA Pro Supermoto racer.
“I knew all day I had the fastest line out there and my Scott Powersports bike was rocking that track,” said Lewis who wears national number ten. “After the fastest-time heat race I was looking for a podium finish in the main. When that crash happened in the Dash for Cash I took a breath and told myself to focus on the race and deal with the ankle later. Racing is 90-percent mental. It worked out since I put myself in the lead trio in the main. I'm excited for the podium and to be up on the box as a thank you to Mike Scott of Scott Powersports for standing behind me for the past three years.”
After the excitement from his first podium, Lewis got some rest and iced his ankle. He was ready for the AMA Pro Flat Track second round at the Daytona Short Track the very next night on Friday, March 11. In practice, Lewis again recorded the fastest lap even on that injured ankle. In afternoon qualifying, Lewis notched the fourth-fastest time. That would place him in heat race number three.
In the heat race, Lewis bulleted from the start and led to the finish again honing that inside line during the entire race. With superb suspension compliments of Penske Racing Shocks, this finish placed him once again in the Dash for Cash. Lewis was ready to fight for the win but not sacrifice his main event. He ended up finishing fourth in the four-lap dash.
Scott Powersports’ Lewis was set for the round two main, sitting second on the front row one spot from pole. He nailed a good start on his Honda CRF450R with the DR.D exhaust and Pit Posse/Outlaw handlebars and controls. Lewis was hanging it out in fourth waiting for an opportunity or a mistake from other riders who began to stretch the field. He was several seconds back of the lead trio though he was not going to settle for fourth. Soon, Lewis made up time on the defending champ in third place and nabbed him. Then, within two laps he got into second. The leader was too far gone by that point to make up the gap. Again, Lewis stepped onto the second-place box on the podium at the Daytona Short Track.
“It really showed tonight which riders had this track dialed-in the past two nights,” said Lewis. “I saw the big gap between me and third place. I was going to use my lines to close it. I didn’t think at all about my ankle during the race. I was completely focused on my riding and moving up the field. This is awesome to have two straight second places. I know from these races that I can battle for the win this season.”
With the two finishes, Lewis sits second in the 2011 AMA Grand National Championship points with 40.
Lewis added, “These two finishes are dedicated to my wife Alysha, my parents, the Scott Powersports crew and all my sponsors, many that came with me from supermoto to flat track. They have been with me for the long haul and I appreciate every one of you. I’ll get the ankle checked out and be ready for the third round next month in Illinois.”
Race fans make sure to head to the DuQuoin Short Track at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Illinois on Saturday, April 16. Stop by the Scott Powersports pit to meet Lewis, enter his Kicker Audio fan drawing and get an autographed poster, and then watch him on the short track riding his Scott Powersports/Triple J Racing/DR.D/Pit Posse/Monster Energy Honda CRF450R in his AXO gear. Keep up with Lewis on Twitter at www.twitter.com/johnnylewis21 and his website.
About Johnny Lewis
Professional athlete Johnny Lewis of Coatesville, Pennsylvania has been competing in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship (GNC) for the past two seasons, earning tenth during the 2010 season. The 2010 season was his first full year racing in both the Singles (short track and TT) and Twins (half-mile and mile) events. Prior to flat track, Lewis raced in the AMA Pro Supermoto Championship for three full seasons where he was the youngest to ever win in the Unlimited Class. He won many championships and races as an amateur dirt track competitor. In 2011, the 21 year-old Lewis will race the number 10 Scott Powersports/DR.D/Pit Posse/Monster Energy Honda CRF450F in AMA Pro Flat Track Singles events and the number 10 custom Kawasaki Ninja 650 flat tracker in AMA Pro Flat Track Twins races. Lewis would like to thank his sponsors that make the 2011 season possible: Scott Powersports, Dubach Racing Development (DR.D), Saddleman, Triple J Racing, Pit Posse, Monster Energy. AXO, Arai, Kicker Audio, K&N Filters, Matrix Racing Products, Axis Designs, Silkolene, Penske Racing Shocks, Pro Moto Billet, Factory Box, Engine Ice, ALL Balls, Boyesen, TRX Fitness Anywhere, Myers Trucking, Metro Racing, FLUIDYNE, Violation Goggles, CRF Stuff, Victory Circle Graphics, ActionSportsTV.com, and MotoPR. Visit www.johnnylewis.org&l