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Dirt to Daytona aspirations ring true for 15-year-old Landen Lewis

Landen Lewis (2) during the Allen Crowe Memorial 100 at Springfield Dirt Mile in Springfield, Illinois (Photo: Jeremy Thompson)

At age 15, Landen Lewis is on a path toward stardom.

Lewis is connected with the likes of Ron Hornaday Jr and other well-connected figures in NASCAR/ARCA, such as Austin Theriault and Joey Coulter, who have fostered his love and dedication for the sport.

Recently, he won in the ARCA Menards Series at DuQuoin over the likes of Ken Schrader, Ty Gibbs and Corey Heim.

“I never thought going there we’d win or qualify on the pole or everything would happen but it was cool getting the pole and leading laps where the track was really bumpy and crazy stuff was happening,” Lewis recalled. “When they had a caution coming to get the checkers that was an “Ahh, are you serious?!”-type moment.”

Landen Lewis (2) during the Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois. (Photo: Jeremy Thompson)

DuQuoin was one of two races Lewis did for Austin Theriault Racing Development’s joint effort with Rette Jones Racing.

“Mark Rette’s shop is around the corner and Austin Theriault is a good friend of his who has mentored me,” Lewis recalled. “Rette came over the shop to meet Austin and I ended up meeting him to where we got a deal together to go do a couple of races for him. I’ve just been having a blast.”

Lewis started his racing career 11 years ago, at age four, racing go-karts. He moved from racing go-karts to racing dirt modifieds for Hornaday, to racing Legend cars for Joe Ryan.

“I don’t really run Modifieds as much anymore as I moved into doing Legend cars with Joe Ryan Legend Cars and their whole team has been amazing to me,” Lewis stated. “Before that, I ran in every state and ran a lot of go-karts for many years then ventured into dirt modifieds with Ron Hornaday Jr. for 2-1/2 years.”

Lewis met Hornaday four years ago after his family was in touch with Hornaday’s daughter about getting a dirt modified program going.

“It kind of took off from there and we created a friendship to where I consider them as family which has been a big leap in four years, to just give him a call any time I need to and he always picks up.”

Now, with connections and success at his hands, Lewis stands near the pinnacle of stock-car racing for a driver of his age, as he has picked up more ARCA Menards Series starts with Rette Jones Racing.

Landen Lewis (30) during the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana (Photo: Jeremy Thompson)

It has not always been easy, however. Lewis’s team showed up to the DuQuoin race with only a late model trailer and two weeks of preparation. Lewis has also made sacrifices as a 15-year-old, including attending high school online and living away from his family as he lives out his dream instead.

“I never thought when I started racing at age four I’d be living up in Charlotte away from my family, my home I’ve lived at forever,” Lewis said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, is just moving away from everyone to be focused, to be where you need to be to make it. That’s probably the biggest challenge is just moving away from family and not being around them as much as I am used to being.”

Although Lewis credited his racing heroes as being the likes of Dale Earnhardt and Ron Hornaday Jr. – the latter who helped him execute restarts and win the DuQuoin race – his family was his main source of inspiration to start racing at age four.

“It’s been in our family since I don’t know when. My great-grandfather raced, my grandfather raced, my father raced, so it runs in the blood,” Lewis recalled. “Ever since I was born, I watched my dad race and, at age four, he turned it over to me and since then it has been full bore.”

Although Landen’s family is not always around, Landen’s dad gets to go to his races with family after Landen grew up attending his dad’s races with family.

“It’s pretty cool to see them,” Lewis said. “That’s a pretty cool deal that they come and support me and are always behind me.”

Landen Lewis (2) during the Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois. (Photo: Jeremy Thompson)

Lewis’s family has been there for many of his challenges, including his first pavement stock car race at Salem.

“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted to have but we learned a lot,” Lewis stated. “Mark Rette and Austin Theriault both raced there in the past which helped with getting used to the track.”

His family has also supported him in some of his biggest wins.

“I’ve had a lot of awesome wins,” Lewis said. “A few weeks ago I won the U.S. Legend Car Dirt Nationals for the second time in-a-row and I think that was the biggest win besides the ARCA race. “

On his current trajectory, Landen Lewis has a path to the top via a strong racing pedigree, good connections and pure talent. Although his 2022 plans are up in the air, he anticipates he will do some ARCA and late model starts.

SOURCES:
Landen Lewis Motorsports
NASCAR/ARCA
Racing-Reference.Info

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