DEGRAFF — Shady Bowl Speedway will host a pair of races on Saturday night, July 14 in honor of a pair of local short-track racing stars: Car builder and mechanic Bill “Pappy” Lewis of Fairborn; and Springfield driver Kenny Stookey.
Lewis began his racing career as a mechanic for Fort Wayne (Ind.) driver Cliff Setser. He moved his family that included six children to Fairborn in 1962. He soon was building his own cars. Lewis was a fellow who chased his racing dreams on a very limited budget. He never had the best of parts or a high dollar sponsor, usually racing out of his own pocket, Shady Bowl’s Earl Isaacs said in a press release.
The names of some of the drivers who piloted his cars included Dick Eder, Art Scott, Clyde Bail, Hank Hoerner, Bill Mullins and his youngest son Rick. Lee Raymond, a two time ARCA champion was also a driver of his stock car. Lewis garnered several awards for his efforts including The Dick Freeman Memorial Award, The Outstanding Service Award from Shady Bowl Speedway and the Kil-Kare Speedway Golden Wrench Award. The team posted many wins and track championships over the years. He was also a founding member of the Dayton Auto Racing Fan Club (DARF).
Lewis passed away in 2011. Jim Lewis and his son Jim Jr. are carrying the Lewis legacy now.
“‘Pappy,’ my grandfather, was a good friend to Rick and Linda Young as he was with many people,” said Jim Lewis Jr. “He was a great teacher and car builder!! The man could make junkyard parts win races. In my life time, I’ve heard so many stories of him making his own wheels from cutting existing wheels apart and widening them. To making his own spindles. And the list goes on and on.
“The reason I still drive the street stock I do is because he helped my dad, Jim Lewis Sr., build it. There is a lot of sentimental value in that car for me and dad. This car has over 150 wins between the late Shawn Stansell and myself. Pappy Lewis was a true car owner and supporter of local short track racing. I miss him,” Lewis said.
In “Pappy’s” honor, the modifieds will run a 50-lap feature paying $1,500 to the winner.
Shady Bowl will also run the annual Stookey Classic street stock race as well. Stookey had a racing career that spanned nearly 20 years, with more than 100 feature wins and several track championships, according to Isaacs. Stookey passed away from a heart condition in 2003.
The race will be a 62-lap feature, paying $2,000 to win. The winner of last year’s race was Piqua’s Josh Sage.
There will also be a 100-lap enduro, as drivers tune up for the Clunker Classic in September. The September event will be a 300-lapper with $3,000 awaiting the winner. The second leg of the Van Hoy Shootout will also be on the schedule. That feature will be a 50 lapper for the Hobby Stocks and Thunder Cars. The spectator drags will also be taking to the asphalt. Racing will start at 7 p.m.