Lewis gets close throughout the 40-minute sprint race but settles for runner-up in Hyundai
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 15, 2018) – After finishing 1-2 in Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge TCR race, the Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian Hyundai team was set for a strong Round 8 performance at Portland International Raceway Sunday with drivers Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis starting 1-3 on the standing start grid.
Lewis was on the pole position with Wilkins in third as the cars rolled out on the 1.97-mile, 12-turn road course north of downtown Portland. The starting start is always a favorite with fans and the TCR cars put on quite a show at the start.
Unfortunately, Wilkins’ No. 99 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR stopped on the track with a mechanical issue before the start of the 40-minute sprint race. Wilkins, a three-time 2018 TCR race winner, had to leave the circuit before the start of the Round 8 contest.
At the start of the 31-lap feature race, front row starter Ryan Eversley got the jump into turn one over Lewis, who was pursuing hard in his No. 98 BHA Hyundai i30 N TCR machine. Michael, a two-time 2018 race winner, looked to be in position for the pass for the lead on several occasions Sunday.
In fact, twice in the 40-minute affair, Lewis pulled within inches of the lead, but the veteran Eversley was able to fight off Michael’s challenge each time.
At the checkered flag, Eversley won over Lewis by just 0.612 seconds in an entertaining race for the sun-splashed crowd. Temperatures on Sunday at Portland International Raceway reached the high 90s in the first Pirelli World Challenge weekend at PIR in 13 years.
“Our car was excellent as usual today and I tried everything possible to slip by Ryan with the Hyundai i30 N,” said Lewis. “I was upset that Ryan was able to jump me a little at the start, but we came back on him Saturday to finish 1-2 with Mark and I in the Hyundai i30 N cars. I felt I could do that again. But Ryan drove an excellent race and didn’t make any mistakes. I feel so badly for Mark. We were prepared for a good start from the 1-3 positions today. But he had an issue and couldn’t make the start. I know we’ll be ready for the next TCR weekend in Utah next month.”
Lewis and Wilkins are former winners at Utah and seek to add to their victory totals on August 10-12 at Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville, Utah. At the Utah facility, Lewis won the GT SprintX events in 2016 and Wilkins won the GT SprintX contest last year.
The TCR Rounds 9 and 10 races can be viewed live at www.world-challenge.com and the Pirelli World Challenge You Tube channel.
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SOURCE: Bryan Herta Autosport