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2022 SCORE MANAGER OF THE YEAR STEVE LEWIS HANDLES IT ALL FOR TEAM VILDOSOLA By Larry Saavedra You may be unable to spot Steve Lewis at a SCORE race in the sea of fans and racers. But he’s there somewhere keeping an eye on his teammates. Lewis could be flying overhead in a helicopter or speeding in a chase truck across the desert. But one thing is for certain– little happens at Vildosola Racing, on or off the course, unless Lewis is aware of it. In 2022, Lewis was voted SCORE Team Manager Of The Year, a prestigious honor that reflects on the entire team. Yet, Lewis hadn’t much time to celebrate because the 2023 season is starting, and he’s already on it, testing in Baja and bringing back vital stats so the entire team could analyze the data was at the top of his priority list when SCORE Journal reached out to him. That’s been his responsibility for twelve years as the Team Manager of Vildosola Racing, where he oversees the logistics, transportation, meals, volunteers, lodging, equipment, and much more. It’s an ongoing requirement if you’re going to campaign two very expensive four-wheel-drive Mason SCORE Trophy Trucks and the large contingency of people to support them. It’s a job he’s been doing for even longer in an unofficial (volunteer) capacity before he was hired full-time by team owner Gustavo Vildosola Sr., who later became his father-in-law. The sheer scale of his responsibilities is challenging to comprehend, given the fact that Vildosola Racing is no small operation. Managers are assigned to each truck that work in conjunction with Lewis, although they make their own build decisions. Still, Lewis briefs all the crew daily and regularly communicates with the drivers and co-drivers. It might be enough responsibility to make the average person overwhelmed. But for Lewis, he’s learned how to step away from the stress when things get crazy. “I have a drink after work,” he laughed. “I am the manager of the team at Vildosola,” he said. “I make sure we have everything a successful race team requires to cross the border, and I ensure things happen on time. When we pre-run, for instance, I have a checklist of equipment to transport. Like having our luxury pre-runners, three Can-Am UTVs, and another full-fledged SCORE Trophy Truck on site with us.” He acknowledged that even pre-running can be hectic and requires one hundred percent attention to detail. To make matters more complicated, Lewis must understand at least the fundamentals of every job and know enough about every component to verbalize its effectiveness for the team— from the technical engineering requirements of a tube chassis to the installation of the navigation systems and everything in between. “We have a relatively large shop, and I talk with every crew member to make conscious decisions together about what’s going on during the race and why,” he said. “There’s been times when we’ve had upsets because we didn’t communicate right, but typically we talk enough that those things almost never happen.” Lewis alluded to a race where one of the trucks required engine oil every fifty miles. “It was totally unexpected and caught us by surprise,” he said. “But we did it and finished first.” Lewis said he tries not to take work home with him, but he’s constantly thinking about what to improve upon. He knows that both Mason trucks need to be on top, not just one truck over the other. “Our No. 21 SCORE TT needs to be on the podium this year,” he said. “I think a lot about ways to make it happen, and the entire team is discussing it.” So is Lewis the guy with all the answers? Well, sort of. “We work as a team, but people do look to me,” he said. “Everyone is anxious on race day, but once the green flag drops, everything starts to click. It might take an hour or two, but everything we talked about at the shop all falls into place.” Lewis said the awards Vildosola Racing (2022 Manager OTY, 2022 Mechanic OTY, and 2022 SCORE Trophy Truck Legend Championship) received helped to maintain a positive attitude and put the shop in the spotlight. He says there is little time to take a breath because of the lead time they need to prepare for the next event. But somehow, Lewis and his team always seem to make it happen even as they prepare to chase the points, starting with the 2023 SCORE San Felipe 250. SJ

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