for talent, sportsmanship
has run in thousands
of races during his career
SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (January 2010) While late
model driver Mike Jewell has known his share of victories on dirt tracks,
it isnt his winning ways alone that make him a true fan favorite.
The drivers habit of giving away many of the trophies he wins
to children has helped earn him a loyal following.
Mike Jewell was inducted
into the Brownstown Speedway
Hall of Fame in August 2009.
Terry Taylor, who has known and sponsored Jewell since
the mid 1990s and serves as a crew member, said, When he gets
a heat trophy you ought to see the kids come running.
This tradition has made a lasting impact on many of the fans, and Taylor
recalls grown men coming down to the pit to thank Jewell for the trophies
they were given as children and still cherish. Jewells sister-in-law,
Sandy Shelton, the Jefferson County, Ind., Auditor, certainly speaks
for many when she says, Hes a super nice guy!
Last August, Jewell, 51, was induced to the Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway
Hall of Fame. The induction came as something of a surprise to Jewell,
who knew something was up when he was called to the front stretch and
saw his son and his wife waiting for him. His family had been told about
the honor in advance but managed to keep it a secret.
They knew for a couple of weeks, Jewell laughs.
The induction was a particular honor as many of the drivers he has respected
and admired have strong ties to the Brownstown track. If you can
win at Brownstown, you could win anywhere, he says.
In 2007 Jewell was welcomed to the National Dirt Late Hall of Fame as
Sportsman of the Year.
His generosity extends to his fellow competitors. Taylor recalls one
race that had a most unusual ending. He was down in Barren County
running second in a race when the lead cars engine gave out.
This breakdown happened near the end of the race, and Jewell pushed
the other car across the finish line to victory. Taylor explains that
the other driver had run so well until right there at the last that
Jewell thought it would be a shame for him to lose due to a malfunction.
Jewell estimates that since the start of his racing career in the late
1970s, he has run in the thousands of races. We used to race 60-80
races a year.
He has now cut back from that peak, running only about 30 races in 2009.
I used to think I had to go, now I go when I want to, he
says. Over his career as a driver, he counts at least 300
victories. Some of his notable wins at Brownstown include two wins in
the Hoosier Dirt Classic and back to back wins in the Lee Fleetwood
Memorial and the Hall of Fame Classic.
Racing is something that kind of gets in your blood, Taylor
explains. Its a big fraternity at the track.
Jewell cites rising expenses as a major change that he has seen over
the years in racing Used to, when we started racing, youd
get most of your parts out of junkyards. In todays racing
world, things are not nearly so simple, but Jewell says, Ive
not gone broke yet! He recommends those looking to break into
racing start out by driving for someone else.
Ive been real blessed notes Jewell, noting that a
combination of a lot of good sponsors and a lot of good people
keeps him racing. Both Jewell and Taylor highlight sponsor and crew
chief Don Powell as powerful force behind the team.
Despite his many victories, there is still one prize that Jewell continues
to chase. While he has made some good showings, he has not yet won the
Jackson 100. I would like to win it before I quit, he explains.Once
you lose that desire to win its time to quit. The desire to win
has kept me in it.
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