Lewis, 22, didn’t make his way to the alcohol ranks like most drivers. While many may start in Jr. Dragsters or a street car, Lewis cut his driving teeth in a fuel altered at the tender age of 16. He then made his debut in the TAFC class in 2005. While the team became a staple in the 5.60 range, an opportunity presented itself that the family couldn’t pass up.
Midway through last season, Tom Conway offered to sell them the A/Fuel Dragster he won the 2005 World Championship with Steve Torrence driving. Conway also came with the package as a tuning consultant. The team debuted the car in May of ’07.
For the 2008 season, with the support of major associates TigerFlow and Morrison Construction, the team has ventured out of the Conway umbrella. Lewis’ss father Dave and former McWilliams driver Tony Volturo took over the tuning duties. While Conway is still a phone call away, the team wanted to take the tuning in-house.
“Tom taught us a lot, and we’re very thankful for that,” said Lewis. “We just wanted to do the tuning ourselves this year. That’s part of why we come out here – the challenge of trying to go fast. My dad and Tony really studied this car closely over the off season, and I think the results have shown.”
While Lewis’ss A/Fuel team has got off to a strong start, the McWilliams TAFC team has had some serious hurdles to overcome, but has bounced back nicely. Team driver Lawson had a severe impact with the wall at the Division 4 opener in Belle Rose, La., which caused heavy chassis and body damage. A replacement car was located quickly, but was too small in the driver’s compartment for Lawson to fit in the car. As a result, veteran Kebin Kinsley has been brought in as a temporary driver, with Lewis filling in when Kinsley can’t attend.
“Shayne is still our primary driver,” said Guest. “Shayne’s a pretty big-frame guy, so there aren’t many cars out there he can fit in. We needed to have the car in Houston and other races on the schedule, so we were forced to find a replacement car quickly. Unfortunately, Shayne can’t fit in the car, so we’ve brought in Kebin and Brandon to fill in for the rest of the year. Shayne is still part of our long-term plans.”
TigerFlow’s involvement has spanned past the McWilliams and Lewis Top Alcohol teams, as well. TigerFlow sponsors McWilliams’ss niece Peyton McWilliams in the Jr. Dragster class, and is an associate sponsor on Todd Hoerner’s NHRA Pro Stock car. The company also did one-race deals with Top Fuel driver Doug Foley and Pro Stock driver Matt Hartford.
Guest also competes his own car in the NHRA Top Dragster class, and has an Outlaw Pro Mod he has yet to debut.
“We’re looking forward to our future in drag racing,” stated Guest. “While I’m a drag race fan, we have to show ROI to my partner Marvin to justify our marketing dollars. We’ve been able to do that, as we can trace direct sales to our drag racing efforts. We just made a couple new sales from customers we entertained at the Atlanta race. That’s how we use this. We get customers out to the track and entertain them as our guests. That gives us an environment to sell to them. So far the program has been successful for us, so I’m confident we’ll be around for a while with our teams. They’ve done a great job for us.
“Making the sales at the track allows us to put more into it,” Guest continued. “We get the reps in the middle of the action with their guests. The customer gets a hands-on experience. They really love it. Relationship building, that’s what it’s all about.”