With an 11-year Major League Baseball career now in the rearview mirror, Colby Lewis is free to pursue other interests that were off limits while he was a pitcher for the Texas Rangers and other clubs.
Such as racing.
Which he was doing Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.
“I’ve got the go kart track in the the back yard and I love racing,”Lewis said. “I’ve always enjoyed it since my brother (Zach Forster) started racing Hobby Stocks 21 or 22 years ago.”
Forster was instrumental in starting the Mod Lites division a few years ago and has dominated this year, winning five of six races. He’s decided to back away from running regular races and Lewis climbed into that car.
It was an inauspicious debut as Lewis, the North High and Bakersfield College graduate, did not make a half lap in his first practice session.
“Me being me, I go out there and try to gas her up right out of the chute and back her into the wall and do a little barrel roll. I told myself all I want to do it put her back on the hauler the same way it rolled off and I didn’t even get three-quarters of a lap. ”
That happened in turn four and prompted a flurry of work back in the pits.
“The whole crew got me all straightened back out as best as possible and I able to get out there and get some laps.”
Lewis was not a spectator as the work went on. He was in there straightening parts and putting pieces back together.
“We’ve got hot rods and stuff like that, I know what to do,” he said of working on cars. “Driving is another thing. These guys have a lot of laps under their belts.
Lewis started at the rear of his eight-lap heat and completed all eight laps, running at the rear of the field.
“No sense in pushing it,” he said. “I just want to go out there and get laps. I don’t want to mess up anybody’s night that is trying to win races and a championship.”
As for the 25-lap feature, Jeff Thompson took the lead on the 16th lap and went on to his first victory of the season. He had finished third in five other races.
“I feel good, there were a couple of close calls, and man, one on top of the wall,” he said.”
Jerry Flippo wound up upside on top of the turn two wall just two laps into the race but emerged unhurt.
J.D. Brown finished second, followed by Roy Maynard Jr. and Nicholas Johnson.
Lewis stayed at the rear of the field for two-thirds of the race, before ramping up his pace over the final third as he was just trying to get laps and not impact the race.
“I had a great time,” he said. “My brother was super nice. I thought he’d be yelling and hollering at me when I came off the track (after the wreck) and he was like, we just have to fix it. It was good that he was so calm and collected after I flipped.
“It’s fun. I’d like to rent the track and get more laps under my belt. My brother wants me to keep doing it.”
None of the other races on the oval was complete at print deadline.
In Junior Mini Dwarf action, Cole Forster (Zach Forster’s son), spun while challenging for the lead on the first lap and battled back to win in the 12-lap race. Forster passed Trenton Rickle with two laps to go for his first win on the season, Rickle was second and Adam Nohl third.
Tyler Blankenship won the 15-lap Senior Mini Dwarf feature, followed by Kennedy Cotton and Mason Ratcliff.