The drivers for Western Speed Racing came away with mixed results at the 70th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.
Cody Gerhardt of Western Speed Racing
Western Speed Racing at Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway
Michael J. Lewis, making only his fourth start of the season for the team, finished second in the USAC Ford Focus Midgets race of the Turkey Night Grand Prix.
Cody Gerhardt was involved in a three-car crash on lap 8 and ended up in 25th place in the Ford Focus Midgets race.
Despite the poor finish, Gerhardt won the USAC Western Pavement, California North and California South Ford Focus Midgets championships. He also ended up as the runner up in the Western Ford Focus Series standings.
Michael J. Lewis of Western Speed Racing
Gerhardt is the grandson of Fred Gerhardt, a USAC Midget and Indy car owner who produced and maintained cars for Bill Vukovich, Johnnie Parsons and Gary Bettenhausen. Fred Gerhardt was inducted into the USAC Midget Racing Hall of Fame in 2007.
Cody Gerhardt said before the race he was going to take a conservative approach and try to end the season on a high note.
"I'm just going to treat this like any other race, take it easy, don't force the issue, hopefully I finish the race," said Gerhardt, who added that K&N has provided him with the support he needed to have a successful season.
But his night ended early when he was collected in a three-car crash that stopped the race. He crashed with Taylor Ferns and Garrett Peterson. Gerhardt was running in eighth place at the time of the crash. Peterson was in seventh. It was the second red flag of the Ford Focus Midgets race.
Two laps prior, Michael Steele, Winn Frazin and Guy Sainsbury crashed in Turn 3. Frazin's car ended upside down and Sainsbury's car landed on its side.
Lewis was able to avoid both crashes. He had the second-fastest time in qualifying, 0.004 seconds off the pace of Dylan Capello, the fastest qualifier at 14.262 seconds.
Lewis, a driver from Laguna Beach, Calif., has been splitting his time racing in the Formula BMW Series and for Western Speed Racing in the Ford Focus Midgets. He won Ford Focus Midget races at The Orange Show in San Bernardino and All American Speedway in Roseville.
"When you win it's real good," Lewis said. "It's never easy. We had to work very hard for both those races to win. It's been going well with Western Speed."
Jake Blackhurst won the Ford Focus Midgets race. Nick Drake led the first 18 laps of the race. Blackhurst took the lead on lap 19 and held it for the remaining 11 laps of the 30-lap race.
Lewis said being able to race in the Formula BMW series and USAC Ford Focus Midgets has been valuable in his development as a driver.
"Any car you drive, it relates to any other car," Lewis said. "If you're driving a Sprint car, Midget, Formula car, whatever, it's all going to translate. It's never wasted experience. With me that's how I look at it. It has directly helped me in my approach to racing."
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