Lewis was born in 1941 in Rulo. He honed his mechanical skills on the family farm as a youngster, then grew up to work full time as an auto mechanic. In the early 1960s Lewis began building race engines and raced at drag strips across the region. He gave up driving to concentrate on customer engines, eventually setting up his own shop. Lewisí engines saw success on the track, with his motors winning championships at Beatrice, Eagle and Lincolnís Midwest Speedway. Lewis is currently an NHRA assistant tech director and still works his magic at Lincolnís Speedway Motors.