lewis.jpg Tim Lewis knew from the moment Evan Knoll announced his Melanie Troxel-driven, Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA Tribute dragster that he wanted to be involved. The 62-year old partner in the Foley & Lewis Top Fueler driven by Doug Foley was a Vietnam-era veteran and knew first-hand the plight the brave servicemen and women encountered upon returning to country after their tour of duty.
Today, Lewis gave back in memory of his friends who served our country during the tumultuous years of 1965 – 1975. His donation will make possible a special gift to each Vietnam Veteran and POW-MIA Family member who attends each NHRA POWERade event as a guest of the Troxel team.
The National Hot Rod Association has likewise donated eight tickets for each event to support the cause. This program began in Pomona during the NHRA CARQUEST Winternationals.
“It means a lot to me to see Melanie providing a tribute to our brave soldiers who served over in Vietnam,” Lewis said. “I was a part of the Vietnam-era and served as a military intelligence officer from 1968 - 1969. When I saw what Evan Knoll put together for the Vietnam veterans…it meant a lot to me. I just felt that I could help by putting together a contribution to the cause.”
Lewis is partial to which team he’d love to see win because he’s a team owner, but can’t help cheering for the Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster.
“It’s been almost four decades since I was a part of this and seeing what Evan has done brings back the memories. I have been blessed with a good life. I often think of what happened to so many of my friends and why it is so important to honor our veterans. It should make us all think of the freedoms we enjoy today. My contribution, although a modest one, is intended to provide the special veterans in attendance a special gift to commemorate the experience.”
This Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster has a unique attraction that has been responsible for attracting former drag racing fans that have been absent from the drags for nearly four decades.
“All of our war veterans are special, but it is the Vietnam veterans who have been long overlooked,” Lewis said. “Those of us who went through it remember the torment we experienced coming home. It was an experience that we all haven’t been able to forget.
“Seeing these guys come back is incredible. It reintroduces a true passion for me (drag racing) to a demographic of people that means so much to me. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me to see what Evan Knoll and Melanie are doing out here. That really ties it together for me.”
Program coordinator Bobby Bennett says that it’s the efforts of people like Knoll, the NHRA’s John Siragusa, Troxel, and now Lewis that makes this project the special one it is.
“Evan Knoll is a visionary and a man with a large heart,” Bennett said. “I have watched veterans that served in Vietnam come to tears by just looking at the car. It brings back memories and at last someone is saying thanks to these brave members of the military who served. All they’ve wanted is someone to say ‘Welcome Home.’
“Then you have a driver like Melanie Troxel, who was born in 1972, who has immersed herself in learning everything the Vietnam Veterans and POW-MIA families experienced during that time. You just have to watch her interaction with these special individuals to know she’s the right person for this task.
“Then you have people such as Tim making this donation and John Siragusa ensuring the veterans a pass to get in the track and you have the ultimate tribute. The people involved in making this project happen are the heroes here.”
The Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster is presented by Torco Race Fuels (www.torco.com) and Lucas Oil Products (www.lucasoil.com).