Scott Powersports’ Johnny Lewis Earns Career-best GNC Twins finish with Second Place at Hagerstown Half-Mile
NEWS July 12, 2011
Athlete becomes the first Kawasaki rider to ever make the
podium at an AMA Pro Flat Track Half-Mile race
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (July 12, 2011) – It takes significant effort to put a professional racing program together, let alone build a brand-new custom race bike. Last season, Johnny Lewis and Mike Scott of Scott Powersports set out to develop a competitive AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship GNC Twins race program using a Kawasaki Ninja 650 as a base. The ingenuity and work paid off this past Saturday night, July 9, when Lewis battled in the Hagerstown Half-Mile main, earning second place on his Scott Powersports/Triple J Racing/DR.D Kawasaki.
The Hagerstown Half-Mile finish recorded two firsts in the series’ history. While this marked the third podium for Lewis this season, it was his first GNC Twins podium. His previous best GNC Twins finish was fifth last month in Michigan. The podium finish was a victory of sorts after the extensive development work on the Scott Powersports’ Kawasaki 650. Second, this is the first podium for any Kawasaki rider – factory supported or privateer – in an AMA Pro Flat Track Half-Mile race.
Fans packed the stands at the Hagerstown Half-Mile on Saturday to watch America’s elite racers on the dirt oval. This was the largest and loudest crowd since the opening round in Daytona. Lewis reflected, “I have never heard that many fans cheer for me as I walked my number 10 Kawasaki to the starting grid for the main. It pumped me up for the race!”
Scott Powersports/Triple J Racing/DR.D’s Lewis went into the first practice at the Hagerstown Half-Mile with his back-up bike in order to look at various set-up options. He notched a top ten lap time. In the second practice he went to his primary bike and ran a similar time. After changing a few items, Lewis stayed with his primary Pit Posse-sponsored race bike for the final timed qualifying practice. He qualified in second and was fourth-tenths of a second faster than the previous outing.
In front of the enthusiastic Hagerstown Half-Mile crowd, Lewis was in the second heat race during the night program. He led for a few laps on his Penske Racing-suspended Scott Powersports’ Kawasaki before Bryan Smith passed him off turn two. Due to the different power band, Lewis’ bike was spinning harder than the traditional H-D flat trackers; however that would be an advantage later. At the checkers, he crossed in second earning a direct transfer to the main and a spot in the six-rider Dash for Cash.
More adjustments were made to his Scott Powersports’ 650 flat tracker when Lewis got to the line in his black custom AXO leathers for the Dash for Cash. He noticed a solid difference. At the finish, Lewis came across the line in third place.
Prior to the 25-lap main event, one more change was made to the bike. Off the line, Lewis got a great start on his TRX-sponsored Kawasaki and was running second behind the leader Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. He remained in second fending off any challengers during the first 18 laps. Then a crash by another rider red-flagged the main event. On the restart, Lewis spun the tire due to an overheating issue with his bike, moving back to fourth place. He was determined more than ever to take advantage of his riding style and the DR.D-sponsored Kawasaki 650 twin motor by battling for a podium spot. In the final seven laps, Lewis moved past the two riders and at the finish earned a hard-fought and well-deserved second place.
“On the warm-up lap before the main I tested a spot on the track I never rode,” said Lewis. “I realized it could be something to try during the main. Possibly a faster line. With only eight laps after the red flag restart in the main, I had to get by Jake Johnson and Jared Mees quickly to have anything for Coolbeth. So I tried my new line and it worked! It took me four laps to completely get in the clear of Jake and Jared to go back to my normal line. Once I did, Coolbeth had ten bike lengths on me. I had nothing for him. But man, I was super-pumped for the second place finish!”
Lewis continued, “This second place is like a win for us. The fans were so pumped up too. Many of them hung out at our pit area after the main checking out the bike and talking about the race. I invited fans to take photos with my second place trophy. This podium meant a lot to me, my wife Alysha, Mike and everyone involved in our program – to see the fans be into our result that much made it even sweeter!”
The Hagerstown Half-Mile finish moved Lewis up to sixth in the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Championship standings with 116, only three points from the top five.
Race fans head to the I-96 Half-Mile on Saturday, July 23 at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan, round 11 of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship. Stop by the Scott Powersports pit to meet Lewis, watch flat track racing videos from this season courtesy of TheFastandDirty.com, and enter his JL10 Sponsor Giveaway drawing and get an autographed poster. Then, watch him at the Michigan track on his Scott Powersports/Triple J Racing/DR.D #10 Kawasaki 650 flat tracker in his custom AXO leathers. Keep up with Lewis on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lewis10 and his new website at www.lewis10.com.
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 Concepts, 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, Victory Circle Graphics, Spider Grips, ActionSportsTV.com, and MotoPR. Visit www.lewis10.com to follow Johnny Lewis' season.